On Monday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced the addition of Butch Davis to their staff as special assistant to the head coach. Davis, himself a former head coach at both the pro and college levels, will certainly bring a wealth of experience to new Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano and his staff.
In his role with the Buccaneers, Davis will assist and advise Schiano in a wide range of football aspects.
“Butch has been a close friend and mentor of mine going back to our time together at Miami,” said Schiano. “I am excited to have his extensive football background and knowledge on board. He has had success on every level, and I know he will be a huge asset, not only to me, but to the entire Buccaneers organization.”
During three decades as a coach at the NCAA and NFL levels, Davis has competed for five national titles and two Super Bowls, worked with more than 105 college players who advanced to the NFL, rebuilt programs on each level into postseason contenders and coached players at a variety of positions on both sides of the ball. As the head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 2001-2004, he took what was essentially a third-year expansion team that had won five total games in 1999 and 2000 and had them in the playoffs by his second year at the helm.
Overall during those 30 years, Davis has helped his teams compile a 240-153-2 record, earn a pair of Super Bowl victories and one NCAA National Championship, make five NFL playoff appearances and 14 bowl game appearances and finish with 10 AP Top 25 NCAA rankings.
In addition, Davis has previously worked in an advisory role in the NFL. In the two seasons following his resignation from the Browns (2005-06), he provided consultation services to the Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets regarding both player evaluation and organizational structure. During that time, he also worked as an analyst on the NFL Network.
Joining the Buccaneers gives Davis another chance to be instrumental in a team rediscovering its successful ways.
“This as a terrific opportunity to be a part of what Coach Schiano is building in Tampa Bay,” said Davis. “It is an honor to be here to help Greg and the Buccaneers in any way I can.”
Davis’ college coaching career began in 1979 at Oklahoma State, where he tutored the Cowboys’ tight ends. The following year he added the wide receivers under his umbrella at OSU, coaching those two positions for the next four years. In 1984, he followed Jimmy Johnson to the University of Miami and switched to the defensive side of the ball, taking over the linemen. Davis helped Johnson build the Hurricanes into a national powerhouse that competed for the national title on an annual basis from 1985-88. In 1987, the Hurricanes completed the first undefeated varsity season in school history and captured the title with an Orange Bowl win over then-No. 1 Oklahoma.
Johnson left for the NFL after the 1988 season and Davis once again joined him, taking over as the Dallas Cowboy’s defensive line coach in 1989. Dallas had gone three seasons without a winning record and were 1-15 in Johnson’s first year at the helm, but by 1991 the Cowboys were back in the playoffs. Davis won his first Super Bowl ring the following year when Dallas defeated Buffalo, 52-17 in Super Bowl XXVII.
The following year, Davis was promoted to defensive coordinator on Johnson’s staff and the Cowboys once again captured the Lombardi Trophy, beating Buffalo again by a 30-13 score. Dallas also advanced to the NFC Championship Game in 1994 before losing to San Francisco, 38-28.
The following year, Davis returned to the University of Miami, this time as the head coach. During his six years at the helm, the Hurricanes would finish in the top 20 of the NCAA rankings five times, peaking at #2 in 2000. Davis’ Hurricane teams won at least eight games in five of those six years, and at least nine in four of them, including 6-1 or better conference records four times. In 2000, Miami rolled to an 11-1 record and won the 2001 Sugar Bowl over Florida, 37-20. In 1999, Davis hired Schiano as his defensive coordinator and Schiano led the Miami defense to a fifth-place national ranking in 2000.
Davis was hired by the Browns shortly after that Sugar Bowl win. That incarnation of the long-running NFL franchise in Cleveland had only resumed play in 1999, after three years of inactivity following the move of the previous Browns team to Baltimore. The newly-minted Ravens were officially known as the expansion team, but it was the rebooted Cleveland franchise that began from scratch just before the turn of the century. The new Browns went 2-14 in their return to play in 1999 and 3-13 the following year but improved immediately to 7-9 in Davis’ first year at the helm. In 2002 Cleveland upped its record to 9-7 and won a Wild Card playoff berth before losing a 36-33 thriller to Pittsburgh in the opening round.
After two more seasons in Cleveland and two years in his consulting/NFL Network roles, Davis returned to coaching in 2007 as the head coach at the University of North Carolina. He inherited a Tar Heels team that had won just 19 games from 2002-06 and led them to 28 wins over the next four seasons, including eight each in 2008, 2009 and 2010. North Carolina advanced to three straight bowl games from 2008-10, a feat last accomplished at UNC in the 1990s, and won its first postseason game since 2001, a victory over Tennessee in the 2010 Music City Bowl.
During his four years at North Carolina, Davis helped develop three first-round NFL draft picks: Kentwan Balmer, Hakeem Nicks and Robert Quinn. That brought the total of eventual first-rounders that Davis has coached and/or recruited on the college level to 32, a list that includes such standouts as Edgerrin James, Andre Johnson, Bryant McKinney, Vince Wilfork, Ray Lewis, Jonathan Vilma, Ed Reed and the Buccaneers’ own