Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 11/15/11
Butch Davis raised the bar on the bizarre with the release of his own YouTube video addressing the situation that got him fired as football coach at North Carolina. Davis is no fool. Making a statement in this way was strategic and calculating, characteristic of a man who is a master at organization and implementation. That's what makes his comments during the nine-minute, 25-second monologue so fascinating. Davis comes off as one who essentially didn't know what was going on around his program, from the day he took over in Chapel Hill in December 2006, to the day he was fired in July. To take Davis at his word, he was at the mercy of John Blake, a friend of nearly 35 years; the university, which was paying him a handsome salary worth more than 2 million annually; and his family tutor. Again, Davis is a smart man who was the quintessential control-freak CEO of a college football program. Davis cared so deeply about the small things because it was part of how a culture was changed, and one of his many stated goals at Carolina was to change the football culture. He played a major role in deciding what music was played at Kenan Stadium during warm-ups as well as during games, what the band played, where they were positioned and the steps the team took during the Old Well Walk, choosing the uniforms, adding fireworks after the Tar Heels scored, and delving into many other items that his meticulous mind concocted to brand the UNC program to completely suit his vision. Davis' weekly news conferences began with long breakdowns of upcoming opponents. Davis worked the room like a politician on the campaign stump, making sure to hit every note, to appease every interest. There was never a question he couldn't answer, sometimes in drawn-out detail that might cause even the most ardent football mind to look at his watch or even yawn. Davis was that detailed. That's why it's so difficult to believe Davis when he addressed the Blake situation in the video. Blake, UNC's associate head coach and recruiting coordinator, is named in the NCAA's Notice of Allegations for his relationship with late sports agent Gary Wichard. The NCAA essentially calls him a "runner." "Should I have known?" Davis asked about Blake's relationship. "I wish I had known." Plenty of other coaches knew. South Carolina's Steve Spurrier said last year he knew, and that it wasn't hard to know about Blake's reputation. What shakes the foundation of Davis' credibility is that he had known Blake for nearly 35 years when he hired him. He taught and coached Blake in high school, and had told many reporters over the last couple of decades that Blake was one of his favorite students. They developed a friendship, which led to Davis getting Blake a coaching position with the Dallas Cowboys in the early 1990s, and of course, hiring him at UNC. Davis has maintained over the last 14 months that he didn't know Blake that well, focusing on the fact they only worked together for five years. But he told the Tulsa World something quite different in 2009. "He made such an impression on me that I still remember exactly where he sat in my class when he was 15 years old," Davis said. "That's John Blake. He has a gift when it comes to relationships." Davis also said the university is responsible for vetting out Blake, so he's passing the buck there, and that former UNC student and tutor Jennifer Wiley hadn't properly communicated with him her situation once she was let go by the school. Again, a man so in control over his football program that among his first mandates were to modify the striping on the team's pants and making sure Phil Collins' "In the air tonight" was set to play when the players would stretch about an hour before the opening kickoff of home games isn't going to know Wiley was let go, or what she was doing? Davis went on in the video about cleaning up a disgraced Miami program, which he did, and how UNC's academic ratings for football had improved under his watch. In fact, incoming UNC football players under Davis scored an average of 40 points higher on their SATs than under the previous regime. The video was nothing more than a Butch Davis infomercial, and there will likely be a buyer out there somewhere. That certainly must be Davis' intent. One can speculate he went this route because he hadn't been getting any feelers from schools with already vacant jobs or ones soon to open. The man is a young 60 and wants to coach, and this video gives him an opportunity to reach any athletic director willing to check it out. It should backfire, but probably won't. Davis just doesn't toss something into the breeze and side with wherever it lands. He knows this will probably work, just like he more than likely knew about Blake and Wiley, too.
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