The Butch Davis Press Conference

The Butch Davis era has officially begun.

With great fanfare and a big media push UNC introduced Butch Davis as the head football coach of the Tar Heels on Monday. For the most part it was your standard dog and pony show press conference though I do think Davis is particularly effective in handling the media. Then again he has been on TV for the last year and a half so I would hope he could handle that part of the job. Here are some quotes from the Inside Carolina transcript:

The answer to the last question first… to me the definition of a Tar Heel is a winner.

It’s a process. A lot of it is laying a foundation, and a lot of that foundation is – as I told the players earlier today – how quickly do we get to know each other? I want to know actually everything about them. I want to know their moms and dads, their aspirations, their goals, what their majoring in, their girlfriends, because the quicker we can close that gap, the quicker we’ll put ourselves in a position. I promised them every single day that I come to work here that we’re going to do everything humanly possible to make our football team better every single day. We’re not going to put any kind of timeline on it, but I promised them we will be working every single day to be the best that we can be.

I think that all of this is a process. There is pressure to perform and to win, but on the same token, it will take time. There is no magic formula. There’s going to be a lot of hard work by the student-athletes that are here right now. There’s going to be a lot of action with the players we’re recruiting right now, to bring those players in that have the goals and visions that we have, and help us create an environment that breeds success – where winning is something that we cherish. It won’t happen instantaneously, but it’s something we’re going to strive for every single day.

I want to score more than the other team every single Saturday. Here’s what I would love when people come to Kenan Stadium: I want them to see a fast, athletic football team, but more importantly, I want them to see a smart football team and a well-disciplined football team. I want us to be an aggressive team – always on the attack in all three phases. No one dictates to us, we dictate to them. Our style of offense is going to be wide open. Just look at the track record, I was extraordinarily fortunate at Miami with Edgerrin James, Clinton Portis and Willis McGahee and a whole rack of great running backs and great wide receivers. We were explosive scoring 35 and 40 points. Defensively, we want a fast, aggressive and attacking defense. People at North Carolina are going to find out real soon that maybe the greatest passion I’ve got is special teams. I think it’s the deciding factor in winning national championships. With exception of the quarterbacks, there are no prima donnas. Everybody will contribute to try and win the game on special teams.

First of all, the “a Tar Heel is a winner” line was an obvious attempt to sell himself to the crowd if not a little cheesy. Secondly, the tone he set with expectations was on the mark. It will be a process and I very much like the fact that he said there would be no timeline. I also thought his remarks concerning his coaching style gave the fanbase plenty to be excited about. Davis wants a “smart” and “well-disciplined football team” as well as one that attacks. The early favorite for best quote of the press conference has to be: “No one dictates to us, we dictate to them.” If he is able to instill that mentality into the players, UNC will play with a newfound fire. Apparently Davis also has a passion for special teams which he believes is crucial to turning the tide in games and championship seasons. Davis said the defense would be fast and aggressive which is music to the ears of fans who have dealt with quite the opposite for nine years.

Here are a few other notes on the big day at UNC:

  • Along with the press conference, Davis was making the rounds on the radio shows. He interviewed with Adam Gold on 850 the Buzz and Mark Packer on Primetime with the Packman. Davis also sat with Adam Lucas to discuss his new job.
  • Davis said in his interview with Gold that he had finished up his work with the NFL Network and would start work immediately
  • Apparently Davis has passed the NCAA compliance exam since he said he had made one recruiting call Sunday night. The presumption is that call was to Mike Paulus who also will be receiving a visit from the new coach later this week.
  • The details of Davis’ contract was made known. He will be paid in the neighborhood of $1.7 million annually with most of that being supplemented by various sources. The length of the contract is seven years which is an interesting duration and may be indicative of a desire on the part of Davis to stay at least five years. There are also retention bonuses built-in which can be collected after the fifth season and a$2 million buyout should he leave before the end of the deal.
  • Part of the media blitz included a video Davis made to encourage season ticket sales that was available for viewing online.
  • Davis still has yet to hire a staff which is contrary to an earlier report we had that he was hiring his staff. He indicated to Gold he wanted to be sure he got the right people.

So that’s it. I think Davis brings the excitement back to UNC football and it will be interesting to see the Heels play next season under the new coach. Obviously the nature of such press conferences is to be a PR event first and foremost even if it comes off as mostly fluff and a lot of saying the right things to make the fans/administration happy. When September 1, 2007 rolls around the proof will be in pudding. Davis has the reputation as a big time winner and that is what people will expect. Hopefully UNC is looking at a coach who is successful in every part of the job, including winning on the field.

Inside Carolina: Transcript of the press conference
850 the Buzz: Audio of the Press Conference
N&O: Butch Davis Contract
(pdf format)

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