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Some Thoughts on the Butch Davis Firing


Like most of you, I was shocked at the timing of Butch Davis’ firing this week. Something is being hidden in Chapel Hill that came out about the phone record release this week. It could be that he was discovered to have lied to the Board, because they claimed to support him not long ago and they wanted him out before the press examined the records. It could also just be that the large turnover they recently had on the Board has caused a change of heart....but that seems more fantastic. It has also forced the Board there to tell AD Dick Baddour to retire or get fired. Its something big.

Also, like most Tiger fans, I relish in any negative attention on the Tobacco Road Mafia that runs this conference and has continually screwed Clemson over for years. Its always been Blueboods that run the ACC and, frankly, what goes around comes around. Do not forget that it was John Swofford (then UNC’s Athletic Director) who made the presentation in closed session to the ACC directors in 1982 that got us another year of probation from the conference. Clemson defended the accusations, but was asked to leave the room for the final presentation that Swofford made. Maryland and Wake Forest walked out of the meeting because he asked for an anonymous vote for the extra punishment, but Swofford and the Duke representative (who assisted in the meeting) got the extra year of probation they wanted via the 5-2 vote. He then requested that all details be hidden from Clemson and the general public, but the folks at MD and WF told everyone. If the NCAA punishes UNC, every Clemson fan should hammer John Swofford until his phone/inbox/car/head explodes. TDP is on the ACC infractions committee, and you should do the exact same thing to him, if he’s awake in time for a meeting.

Unfortunately, however, this is quite bad for the ACC when you think of how we need to raise the overall football stature of the conference. We lost another good coach, and even though DC Everett Withers was the backbone of that staff, I don’t know if he can keep building on what Butch started. If you want the rest of the ACC to fall apart, which I confess I do all the time sometimes, then its great to see UNC get hammered. If you want the ACC to be less of a joke in football season, which I also want, then you should realize that this makes thing much harder in the near-term. Butch Davis might not be the best gameday coach in this conference, but he can rebuild a program, he evaluates talent like his mentor Jimmy Johnson did, and he recruits his ass off. Ten years ago you barely heard that we were going against UNC for any recruit, and now its almost every one of them. The ACC needs higher caliber coaches like that to get anywhere, because fan support doesn’t come before wins.

Consider for a moment the Butch tenure at UNC. He inherited complete crap leftover from Torbush and Bunting. They were terrible by any definition when Bunting left. Butch is not a dynamic enough coach to win immediately with no talent, so he had to recruit and that takes time. He was getting that much done. He was doing well enough with this that I believed he'd have won 10 games and be off to a football school by now. UNC was going to add more facilities improvements too, and they already have some of the best in the conference because of the basketball dollars.

Butch’s worst decisions were to hire John Blake, who everyone knew was dirty as hell, and John Shoop, who couldn’t build a quality offense in the NFL or anywhere else. He got what he paid for with Blake, and for that I have no sympathy. Blake is just the gift that keeps on giving, ask Oklahoma fans.

UNC had a choice last August when the Marvin Austin news broke, play them and take the punishment later or sit them out and avoid forfeiting games. Well, who gives a damn if you have to forfeit a game 2 years later that you won on the field? Winning on the field is what counts. UNC decided to sit half the team and play freshmen against LSU and nearly won the game without them. If UNC had the entire defense of potential draftees on the field, they win that game. UNC likely wins a minimum of 9 games, and possibly 10-11 and the ACC with the whole team out there in 2010. UNC goes to a BCS game and rakes in dollars, and given the talent they have, has a great chance to win the Orange Bowl. Who gives a shit if you have to vacate the wins 2 years later? You got the dollars and the press, the recruits, and the respect nationally for the conference.

I hope that when Auburn finally gets the anvil dropped on them that they'll do the right thing and give the NCAA the finger.

Also, if Butch isn’t fired this week, you could make the case that they win 9 games this year because of all the freshmen talent they were forced to play last year. As crappy as the ACC is, that could be enough to win the ACC Title again.

Now what do they have to show for his time and hard work in Chapel Hill? One shitty bowl win over a clusterfuck Tennessee program. 

How does it affect us? Directly it only means we’ll face a different coach in ’11 when UNC comes here. It likely means they won’t be playing as well, so it could be an easier game. Long-term, I don’t know for sure because we don’t know how Withers or the next guy will do, but its likely going to be a downgrade if they go outside the program to hire. A big name coach won’t come in with the NCAA swinging the axe over his head, and if its bad enough to fire the HC in July, then there are scholarship losses coming. Long-term UNC will take a big hit, but the cupboard isn’t empty right now. UNC has 23 of the 24 freshmen they signed last cycle in school already (Ellerbe is not), and if they’re under scholarship they must be released by the school, and likely the NCAA, before they can transfer without sitting a year. Clemson wanted Devonte Brown (DT) bad and couldn’t get him, and I suspect, given the number crunch, that he would be the only one we really pushed for from that class. LB Travis Hughes is another we went hard after late. Brandon Ellerbe was a commitment to CU who flipped to UNC, but we took the screws off him, and his offer was moreso to entice Stephone Anthony.

In the current cycle, we’re so full that I don’t know who we’d go try to get aside from OG JJ Patterson. Clemson doesn’t really want TE Justin Meredith, its JJ McCullough or nothing for us at that position because we have too many already.

But a weaker program in Chapel Hill only makes things easier for Clemson to get where it needs to be.