Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

27 Jul 2011

North Carolina Fires Butch Davis

Nine days before fall practice begins and less than 24 hours before UNC will meet with NCAA officials regarding an investigation into improper benefits and academic misconduct, head coach Butch Davis has been fired by the University of North Carolina. Former associate head coach John Blake, a focal point of the investigation, resigned from his position last September and 14 Tarheels players sat out at least one game last season.

Posted by: Brian Fremeau on 27 Jul 2011

8 comments, Last at 31 Jul 2011, 10:55pm by Lance


by andrew :: Wed, 07/27/2011 - 10:01pm

Coldn't they have fired him before Miami hired Al Golden? ah, I'm sure Golden will do alright, but Butch in Coral Gables was a perfect fit... if he hadn't bolted to the Browns I think they would have won 3 championships or more...

by Dean :: Thu, 07/28/2011 - 2:29pm

I look back and wonder what went wrong. Not only would Davis have probably won multiple national championships had he stayed with Miami, he was also a guy with a reputation for running a squeaky clean program. Miami hired him in the wake of the pell grant scandal in order that he would clean up the program. Yet somehow, he ended up in this mess. I wonder what we don't know. Where did he go wrong?

Regardless, he's still Bennidict Davis, and would not be welcomed back. Ever.

by Anonymous2 (not verified) :: Wed, 07/27/2011 - 11:54pm

Shocking. He did such a good job with the Browns, I can't imagine where he went wrong.

by Kibbles :: Thu, 07/28/2011 - 12:54pm

College football != NFL football. The fact that Davis was an abysmal NFL coach has no bearing on his abilities as a college coach, any more than it does for Steve Spurrier, or than it did for Pete Carroll. All three guys were terrible NFL coaches, but all three were also likely among the top 10 college coaches of the last 20 years.

Success in college football is far more about recruiting and developing talent than anything else, and in that respect, Davis was amazing. Butch Davis took over UNC in 2007. From 2009-2011, UNC had 16 players drafted by the NFL (including 7 in the first 3 rounds). In the three years from 2006-2008, on the other hand, UNC had 3 players drafted, two of them 7th rounders. What Davis did to the talent level at that school was remarkable.

In fact, UNC had as many players drafted in the last 3 years as they did in the 7 years prior. They had as many players taken in the first three rounds over the last 3 years as they did in the 9 years prior. Last year's draft class (the first class that was pretty much entirely recruited by Davis, with the exception of the occasional redshirt seniors) was the largest in UNC history (9 players, previous record was 7). He was at a basketball school with no real history or tradition and no major recruiting base to draw from, and yet he was still building a talent level on par with the big boys in college football. His firing is a reflection of the magnitude of the scandal that swept UNC (and probably a preemptive measure to convince the NCAA to go easy on the sanctions); it is not a reflection on his performance as a coach.

by Kyle D (not verified) :: Thu, 07/28/2011 - 5:15pm

Doesn't anybody ever bother looking at the guy's record before repeating the "Pete Carroll was a terrible pro coach" fiction? He had a winning record lifetime when the Pats let him go. He wasn't a great coach with them but he was far from being terrible. And he's done some pretty good things so far with the Seahawks, including winning the division and that incredible playoff win versus the Saints.

by zlionsfan :: Thu, 07/28/2011 - 9:35pm

They probably look at his record and see this:

1993 Jets (Coslet): 8-8, SRS* 0.8, 7.9% DVOA
1994 Jets (Carroll): 6-10, SRS -2.2, -4.2% DVOA

1996 Patriots (Parcells): 11-5, SRS 5.1, 10.4% DVOA
1997 Patriots (Carroll): 10-6, SRS 5.3, 12.3% DVOA
1998 Patriots (Carroll): 9-7, SRS 3.9, 7.4% DVOA
1999 Patriots (Carroll): 8-8, SRS 2.2, -4.0% DVOA

2009 Seahawks (Mora): 5-11, SRS -9.3, -30.8% DVOA
2010 Seahawks (Carroll): 7-9, SRS -9.4, -24.0% DVOA

I guess he might be turning around something in Seattle, but you might have to excuse the rest of us for not seeing the same things in Carroll's resume that you do.

*Simple Rating System from p-f-r.com, just to show it's not only an FO perspective

by Nat is back (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2011 - 11:25pm

You forgot a line. He took over a declining Jets team that won four games in the next TWO years after he was gone.

Then, as you note he IMPROVED on Parcells DVOA. The last two years, lacking Edwards, the Pats had retreads at RB and Bledsoe in decline, and they dropped a bit.

And you forgot another line. A pretty good coach went 5-11 (admittedly, with 6 Pythagorean wins) after Carroll left the Patriots, and won fewer games in first three years than Carroll's last three.

So the case he is a terrible coach is pretty effing weak.

by Lance :: Sun, 07/31/2011 - 10:55pm

So, wait. After Carroll left the Jets, the team continued to suck? And this is a point in his favor? Uh, so I guess when Chan Gailey went 10-6 and then 8-8 for the Cowboys, we should regard him well since Dave Campo followed that with two 5-11 seasons? That hardly makes sense.

You try to defend Carroll's downward trend with the Pats by highlighting a meager a +2 percentage point rise in DVOA in 1997, but somehow when it drops by 5 percentage points in 1998, and another 10 (!) percentage points in 1991, that's just dropping by "a bit"-- and it's furthermore all excused in your eyes because various players were "in decline" as though that's a valid defense in the modern NFL.

And then, as a final argument, you try to suggest that because Carroll's win-totals for his first three seasons (in the regular season) was greater than Belichick's (27 to 25, hardly a huge margin), it's proof of some significant accomplishment. By the same logic, Mike Sherman did much better in his first 5 seasons at Green Bay (53 wins) than Mike McCarthy (48). So... I guess Sherman should be considered as much of a success-- if not more-- than McCarthy?? (Does that make any sense?!?)

I'm not going to say that Carroll was "terrible" or not. But if anything is "effing weak" it's your defense of his NFL record.