Butch Davis sees son play at UNC’s stadium … in a scrimmage

Cameron Smith

Shortly after he was fired in late July, former University of North Carolina coach Butch Davis found himself again at the center of controversy when it emerged that he had offered his own son a football scholarship with the Tar Heels without first consulting with university officials.

East Chapel Hill quarterback Drew Davis, the son of former North Carolina coach Butch Davis

While some speculated that the timing of the statement from chancellor Holden Thorp that officials hadn't been consulted before quarterback Drew Davis was offered a scholarship was an attempt to pile more blame on the elder Davis after he had been kicked out the door, the entire episode still highlighted some of the larger issues that had emerged between Davis and the higher ups in the school's administration.

The offshoot of Davis' dismissal was this: Drew Davis' position with the program was suddenly uncertain, and Butch Davis suddenly wouldn't get to see his son play in North Carolina's Kenan Stadium from the sidelines.

Yet, as the high school football gods are wont to do, the elder Davis did get a chance to see his son play in Kenan Stadium on Thursday, though he had to do so while sitting alone in the stadium's upper deck. According to the News & Observer, Davis was allowed entrance into Kenan for Chapel Hill (N.C.) East High's scrimmage against Enloe (N.C.) High.

While general fans at the game all sat in the stadium's lower bowl, Davis was allowed to take a seat alone in the upper deck by stadium security guards, who then refused to admit any other fans who might have wanted to probe his thoughts on his recent UNC past. The former college and NFL coach saw his son toss two touchdown passes -- one of 25 yards and another from 8 yards out -- and two interceptions in the 60 minute scrimmage which marked his return from an injury suffered near the midpoint of the 2010 season.

A handful of current North Carolina players also allegedly attended the scrimmage to check out the son of their former coach.

"He started a little slowly, but he picked it up as the game progressed," East Chapel Hill coach Bill Renner told the News & Observer. "He made some really good plays with his feet, and he ran with the ball really well."

Interestingly, Renner's son, Bryn Renner, is the current starting quarterback at North Carolina, a factor which makes his comments on Davis commitment to North Carolina -- and the school's sudden ambiguity about whether his scholarship offer would be honored -- quite revealing. While he wouldn't delve into the school's role in the younger Drew's now questionable football future, he did say he was impressed with the way his rising senior leader has handled the additional pressure and scrutiny.

"I think there were some emotions at work there," said Renner, whose son Bryn is UNC's starting quarterback. "Everyone has expectations of how they think their life will go and when they don't work out as planned, it can take a while to adjust. He's done well."

It's likely that Butch Davis felt the same way, though no one could ask him on Thursday. After all, they weren't allowed to get near him in the upper deck.

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