Davis, eager to get to work, introduced in Chapel Hill

Updated: November 27, 2006, 10:09 PM ET
Associated Press

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Butch Davis just couldn't wait any longer to start his latest rebuilding job.

AP/Gerry BroomeNorth Carolina gave new coach Butch Davis a seven-year contract worth about $1.7 million annually.

The night before his formal introduction Monday as North Carolina's new coach, Davis was on the phone talking to recruits.

The message was clear: After two years away from the sidelines, Davis was in a hurry to get back to work.

"My ankles have been taped waiting for this day," Davis said.

The former Miami and Cleveland Browns coach two weeks ago was hired as the successor to the fired John Bunting, quickly accepting the job of reshaping the struggling Tar Heels before other jobs opened up across the country. He was considered one of the biggest names available in the pool of coaching candidates.

Davis said during the summer he and his wife made up a wish list of up to 15 jobs across the country that he would strongly consider.

"The criteria of Carolina fit perfectly of what I thought was an outstanding job," David said. "Outside of Carolina, there are so many people who have great respect for this program. ... One job that we did talk about was Carolina."

North Carolina gave Davis a seven-year contract worth about $1.7 million annually, with an additional undisclosed amount available for meeting on-field and off-field incentives. The school also will pay Davis a retention bonus worth $500,000 to $1.1 million if he remains the Tar Heels' coach for at least five years.

Now his job is to build the Tar Heels into winners again. North Carolina hasn't had a winning season since 2001 -- Bunting's first year at his alma mater -- and the Tar Heels finished this year 3-9 only after winning their final two games.

Davis set to work immediately, making recruiting calls Sunday night and meeting with the returning Tar Heels on Monday.

"He said, 'If I got brought in here to win the Peach Bowl, then you've got the wrong person,' " kicker Connor Barth said. "'I came in here to go to BCS games.' That was something that was really inspiring to me. He didn't come in just to win six or seven games. He wants to win them all."

Athletic director Dick Baddour said Davis had been his top choice since he started the search Oct. 23, the day after Bunting's firing. The two came to an agreement after a three-week search that included phone conversations and a meeting in Chicago; Davis said he took the job despite never visiting Chapel Hill before he was hired.

"From the beginning, we hoped he would like us. From the beginning, we hoped we would like him," Baddour said. "The only question was, was he a good fit for the University of North Carolina, and was [North Carolina] a good fit for him? At the first meeting, we could tell coach Davis was special and he was right for [the school]."

Davis is perhaps best known for returning the Miami Hurricanes to national prominence, going 51-20 from 1995-2000 despite severe scholarship reductions and a one-year postseason ban because of a lack of institutional control.

He left in 2001 for the Cleveland Browns, going 24-35 before resigning in 2004 and working for two seasons in broadcasting. The Miami team he left behind won the 2001 national title under Larry Coker and reached the championship game the following season.

Davis asked for patience as he starts his latest rebuilding job. North Carolina had one of the worst offenses and defenses in the country this season.

"There is no magic formula that's going to be instantaneous," Davis said. "To bring those players, getting them to buy into the goals and the visions that we have and help us create the environment that breeds success ... that we go to the stadium every single Saturday and expect to win. It'll be something that we're going to strive for on every single day."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press