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The Butch Davis Watch Continues...

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Everything is extremely quiet on the coaching search front after the initial burst of news on Friday. According David Glenn on 850 the Buzz both sides too a break over the weekend due to their respective obligations:

According to David Glenn, the two sides took a break over the weekend to focus on actual football and NFL Network obligations and started to chat again this week. According to DG, an offer is out there, closer to $2 million dollars…way less than the $2.5-$3 million Sportsline reported. The interwebs are ablaze with rumors of Butch Davis being in town today and announcements being made at 5pm

This is not unusual, one would think he would want to tour the facilities before he actually made a decision. The biggest nugget out there would have to be the following blurb from the Boston Globe:

But Davis might hold out to see what opens up. One long shot possibility could be Alabama. Although coach Mike Shula's team was 10-2 a year ago and went to the Cotton Bowl, the Tide are 6-4 this season after a stunning (to Tide fans) loss at home to Mississippi State Saturday. With a game at LSU this week and then the regular-season finale against Auburn, the Tide could finish 6-6, which would irritate more than a few backers. Whether it would prompt a switch is uncertain, but if it does, count on Davis, if he is still available, to get a call. One thing is sure. At Alabama, football is very much the main act. And that is why UNC officials may push Davis for a decision sooner rather than later.

So here is my take

The reports Friday night were fairly accurate in how close the two sides were. Even David Glenn went as far as to say he thought Davis would be the next coach at UNC. The activities for both parties over the weekend basically means in four days of waiting but only two days of actual negotiation have occurred. Of course the fans find this kind of thing maddening but it makes perfect sense since contracts of this nature are probably fairly complicated.

By Monday morning we had the Alabama factor to consider. When the two sides broke talks for the weekend they were undoubtedly very optimistic a deal could get done but then Alabama lost at home to Mississippi State and the possibility that the Alabama job would open up increased exponentially. Davis probably considered the Alabama job but when he started talking to UNC it seemed less likely than it does right now. The Alabama situation may have caused Davis to get cold feet and I also think that his people have most likely been talking to Alabama people through back channels.  All of this probably means Davis could try and drag this situation out as long as possible before either accepting or rejecting the offer on the table. My opinion is the longer it drags out the less likely it will be that he accepts the job which would take himself out of the running for what are widely considered better jobs.

So what does this mean? It means UNC needs to do what I have said from the beginning and ask Davis for answer one way or the other.

And forgive the rant here but I am not sure why we are still messing around with this given that (1) everyone knows he does not intend to stay at UNC very long and (2) he may be more interested in some of the other potential jobs out there. This is the disease of "big name-ism" which infects the brains of athletic administrators when it comes time to hire a coach and they go after the top coach out there regardless of whether or not he is a good fit for the program. At least when NC State went after Rick Barnes the argument could be made that Barnes was a good fit for Raleigh such as in state ties and previous ACC experience. I am still waiting for someone to tell me what qualities Davis is bringing that makes him a good fit. Winning and recruiting are important but not independent of good program building or else they both die out after the coach leaves. UNC has just endured a nine year nightmare because it failed to handle two coaching transistions properly. Dick Baddour made certain decisions based on factors that had absolutely nothing to do with answering the core needs of the program. Hiring Torbush was a mistake because he did not have the credibility or experience to assume charge over the program at the level Mack Brown had built it. Hiring Bunting was because Beamer decided to stay in Blacksburg and Baddour panicked. Baddour wanted to make sure he hired someone who would take the job, Nevermind Bunting had no clue how to run a BCS level college program nor did he have any recruiting experience, he was "in the family" and we accepted it despite the fact FSU's offensive coordinator Mark Richt was available and willing to take the job.

Now what do we have. We have this mentality in Chapel Hill that what UNC needs following the last nine years is to get a coach who yes probably can recruit and yes knows how to win but in all probability will be back out the door before accomplishing anything in terms of rebuilding the program. What UNC does not need is a coach who is committed to his own career above the program. The danger with a guy like Davis is that he does not need to show himself as someone who can build a manage a program to remain viable for better jobs. All Davis needs to do is post a couple of winning seasons and he will be credit with "turning UNC around" despite the fact he inherited a good slae of players. So following the nine year nightmare UNC fans will get some short success before having to go out and find a coach to replace Davis. And if you think replacing Davis will be easy, think again. Walking into UNC after only having Davis a few years will be difficult despite any success Davis would have. If everyone is fretting over Mike Paulus de-commiting now, what do you think players committed to Davis will do when he resigns? And while there would optimism UNC can bring in someone to build on Davis' foundation I think that foundation will be weak considering Davis would have more interested in winning than building a legacy.

Am I being overly pessimistic here? Probably and maybe I need to calm down and see how this goes. I cannot escape the feeling that we are watching the first domino fall in a sequence of events which drops UNC football exactly at this same point some eight to ten years from now. It is almost like I can see it all unfold, the Davis hiring and then a quick resignation, the difficulty of finding someone to follow Davis or even the promotion of an assistant. This is followed by the dip in recruiting from all of the de-commitments after Davis leaves and the inevitable lean times found in a transition. Follow that up with other circumstances will snowball and UNC football will find itself in this boat again searching for a coach to get the program back to winning. All of this because they were not smart enough to address the real needs of the program and instead decided to pursue a band aid fix instead of a long term building of the program. UNC needs a coach who is willing to stay with the program and build a legacy. UNC needs to hire a coach whose career ambitions match UNC's desire to have a winning program long term. If UNC is only a stopping point on the way up, as some have suggested, then the least you can do is find a coach who needs about 8-10 years to make himself marketable for bigger job. And who knows, perhaps the right coach will be convinced to stay put and make UNC his destination job to continue what he has built.

So if Davis opts out that will be just fine with me. And if he is hired, then get yourself ready to do this all again in the very near future.