Presumably, if Butch Davis wanted to speak publicly about his abrupt ouster as North Carolina's head coach just before the start of the season, he could have found ready and willing microphones at the major media outlet of his choosing, in North Carolina or nationally. That he chose to break his nearly four-month silence his own way Monday, on a newly created YouTube account, tells you just just how anxious he is to control a message that he had almost no control over during his final year on the job.
Of course, the DIY approach has its drawbacks: Davis is a little too made-up, his delivery is a little awkward, he asks rhetorical questions that he doesn't answer — "Should I have known John Blake had such a close relationship with a sports agent? I wish I had known." — and he provides almost no context for the "misinformation" he's defending himself against. (He might have also considered taking a long drag or two from a cigarette to liven things up a bit.) But it is Butch Davis telling Butch Davis' story the way Butch Davis wants to tell it.On the timing of the video, he says he's speaking now because North Carolina concluded its case earlier this month before the NCAA Infractions Committee, where it was called to account for five major allegations against the football program under Davis' watch. The most serious among them: Players receiving improper benefits, academic fraud and employing an assistant coach (Blake) who allegedly partnered with an NFL agent.
On Blake, Davis says he assumed all hires were properly vetted by UNC's human resources department and downplays their personal history, dating to Davis' stint as one of Blake's high school coaches in Oklahoma. He's less severe here than he was after Blake's exit last year, when Davis told reporters "I'm sorry I ever trusted John Blake," but his crucial know-nothingness remains intact.
On the personal tutor he hired for his son — who happens to be the same tutor accused of both academic fraud on behalf of UNC players and providing several thousand dollars' worth of free tutoring, airfare and money to pay off parking fines — he says there was a simple failure to communicate the boundaries of her position. He liked her and still liked her. The academic support staff just let her go a little too far.
None of which, of course, was Butch Davis' fault. If his statement could be boiled down to one sentence, it's this one:
"As the head coach, you want to know every single thing. You'd like to think that you know the important things. But logically you know that you simply can't know everything."
He could have also pointed out (but didn't) that his name did not appear anywhere in the NCAA's 45-page notice of allegations against the program. Even the NCAA agreed that he knew nothing at all about any of three major violations involving at least seven players, an assistant coach and a tutor he brought into his own home. So potential employers take note: If ignorance is bliss, Butch Davis can still make you very happy.
- Butch Davis
- John Blake
- North Carolina