Butch Davis is about to coach a college football team in Miami again.
ESPN’s Brett McMurphy reported early Monday evening that Davis has reached an agreement to become the next head football coach at Florida International University and will leave his analyst position with the network immediately to facilitate the move.
Davis, 64, was reported to be the “front-runner” for the job this past week and will take over the reins at the end of the season.
The school is set to officially announce Davis’ hiring Tuesday.
FIU (3-7) has two games remaining on its schedule this year; its home finale against Marshall this coming Saturday and a road trip to Old Dominion to close out what has been a rough season.
FIU fired former head coach Ron Turner nearly two months ago – after the Golden Panthers’ 53-14 to Central Florida. In his four seasons leading the team, Turner compiled a 10-30 record.
Golden Panthers defensive coordinator Ron Cooper took over as interim coach after Turner’s firing and he led the team to three straight wins, but things took another downward turn as FIU has lost its past three games.
FIU’s program also made headlines with the news of one of its top football players – tight end Jonnu Smith – being scalded with boiling water by his pregnant girlfriend.
Davis’ hiring can be viewed as a “swing for the fences” by the Florida International administration. The former University of Miami, North Carolina and Cleveland Browns head coach has a 63-43 college coaching record – mostly coming from his time (1995-2000) leading the Hurricanes.
During his time at North Carolina (2007-2010), the Tar Heels football found success but the team came under NCAA investigation for players allegedly receiving improper benefits. While Davis was never mentioned or involved in the investigation, UNC fired Davis in 2011 and he subsequently served as a special assistant to former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano before becoming a college football analyst for ESPN.
A significant number Miami fans clamored for Davis to make a return to the University of Miami’s sideline when the team was looking for its next head coach. Though Davis said he was open to returning to UM, the Hurricanes elected to hire former Georgia head coach and Miami alum Mark Richt.
Interestingly, Miami and FIU are set to renew its football rivalry in a two-year, “home and home” series starting in 2018.
What Davis takes over in FIU is a program that hasn’t had a winning season since 2011 – when Mario Cristobal led the team to an 8-5 record and an appearance in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl.
Having moved from the Sun Belt Conference to Conference USA in 2013, the Golden Panthers have never won a conference championship and has struggled with home game attendance this season.
What will work in Davis’ favor is that the team only has 18 seniors listed on its roster and it gets to recruit in the fertile high school football hotbed that is South Florida.