Butch Davis and Notre Dame aren’t being seriously linked together yet. But Butch Davis is a Notre Dame candidate, according to ESPN Insider and the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune’s list of coaching candidates include the usual suspects, like Brian Kelly, Bob Stoops and Gary Patterson. However, Butch Davis is also listed as a Notre Dame favorite by the Tribune, and ESPN Insider picked it up as well. But Butch Davis is still a sleeper for the Notre Dame job at best, assuming he even wants to leave North Carolina.
A while back, Butch Davis was the big name Notre Dame would want right now. When Davis ran the Miami Hurricanes, he was among the most well known and successful coaches in college football. But since he left, he has faded back a bit, although he has brought success to North Carolina.
Despite not being as big as before, and despite being 58 years old, today’s Chicago Tribune list of Notre Dame coaching favorites included Butch Davis. A similar list was made by the Tribune last week, in which Davis was cited for his Miami pedigree and the defense he built at North Carolina. But these lists are the only ones citing Davis as a serious candidate so far.
ESPN Insider all but debunked the possibility that Davis would got to Notre Dame -especially since Brian Kelly is still the favorite. Bob Stoops and TCU’s Gary Patterson are also listed as favorites, but Kelly has emerged as the No. 1 choice in the eyes of the media. Kelly, Stoops and other bigger names would all have to say no until Butch Davis was considered, in all likelihood.
Davis has made North Carolina a top 25 program, but he hasn’t made a big national splash yet as a Tar Heel. In contrast, Kelly and Patterson have turned Cincinnati and TCU into national contenders, Stoops still has star power, and Urban Meyer is the biggest name just out of reach. To get considered for a really big job again, Davis still needs a breakthrough year at Chapel Hill.
While Butch Davis now joins the Notre Dame coaching list, the wait is still on for Charlie Weis to officially be fired. Some feel that it could come today, or later in the week. But when it does come, the rumor mill will officially explode at Notre Dame, as Kelly, Stoops and others become hounded constantly with questions.
Davis isn’t facing that yet, though if more news outlets other than the Chicago Tribune make him a candidate, he could be. For the moment, he can still just focus on getting North Carolina set for their bowl game.
Chicago Tribune- “Who’s in line to be next coach at Notre Dame?”
State Fans Nation- “ESPN Insider: Is Butch Davis on Notre Dame’s list?”