Butch Davis Might Be Taking the FIU Job

Grant Halverson

That is providing he can figure out how to get UNC to pay him his severance money for 2013 and take the job in Miami at the same time.

The rumor broke over the weekend that Butch Davis was in-line to take the Florida International job and there was a subsequent denial from FIU. According to Fox Sports, this might be the reason why the rumor was quashed.

A contract squabble with the University of North Carolina is keeping Butch Davis from becoming the next head coach at Florida International University, a source told FOXSports.com on Thursday night.

The dispute centers on almost $1.8 million that Davis is owed from the settlement he signed upon his dismissal as UNC’s head coach in July 2011. The source said that UNC doesn’t want to pay the money if Davis accepts another coaching position, which is a stumbling block that also complicated his hiring earlier this year by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

FIU is set to sign Davis to a multiyear contract averaging roughly $500,000 a season, the source said.

The Tampa Bay Times has reported that Davis is due annual payments of $590,000 from UNC every Jan. 15 between 2013 and 2015 as part of the severance deal. Davis was fired after a slew of NCAA infractions were committed during his four seasons (2007 to 2010) with the Tar Heels.

The Miami Herald reported earlier this week that FIU would be hiring Davis as head coach. That drew a rebuke from FIU athletic director Pete Garcia, who claimed the report was "totally false." Garcia and Davis have a prior working relationship from when the latter was head coach for the University of Miami and Cleveland Browns.

The issue here is the timing of Davis taking the FIU job. UNC owes Davis $590,000 on January 15th in 2013, 2014 and 2015 unless he has taken a head coaching job somewhere else. If that happens UNC would owe the difference between $590,000 and whatever FIU is paying him. That amount is rumored to be $500,000 which means taking the FIU job now instead of three weeks from now is a half a million dollar decision. Basically Davis is trying to time his job change to ensure he snags at least one more $590,000 payment from UNC and still get his $500,000 salary from FIU.

Yes, Davis is looking to double dip. Yes, he is probably doing it more out of spite over the way he was discarded by UNC than the actual acquisition of cash. In fact, Davis has the NCAA's final report and the Martin report, neither of which make mention of the name Paul Hilton "Butch" Davis, Jr. anywhere in them. That probably means he feels perfectly justified in attempting to get everything he feels is coming to him from UNC.

The problem with the story is I am not sure how UNC is a stumbling block to Davis here. There is nothing UNC can do to stop Davis from taking a job. If Davis wants his $590K then he needs to wait until January 16th to officially become FIU's head coach. The contract with UNC is pretty clear on this point. If he chooses to take the job sooner then he forfeits the bulk of his annual payment from UNC. It is possible UNC is balking on paying Davis anything more because the news broke he was taking the FIU job but even then it all comes down the what Davis gets paid from FIU and when his official hire date is.

Whatever the case, assuming Davis takes the FIU job, UNC is about to save some money even if Davis gets his 2013 annual payment.

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