This is the tale of two coaches. This one: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20140108/bobby-petrino-louisville-jurich-win-now/ and this one: http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/bruce-feldman/24372078/despite-being-cleared-in-unc-scandal-davis-still-waiting-for-next-gig
The first one was the head coach at the University of Arkansas (more recently Western Kentucky) and is an excellent coach. This post isn’t really about him. Coach Petrino was taken down by a motorcycle crash that included a young football office employee with whom he was having an affair. It was revealed that he gave this young woman a $20,000 cash gift and that she received preferential treatment in the hiring process. All this happened in the spring of 2012. In 2013, Petrino was hired by Western Kentucky in his coaching comeback. Last week, it was announced he would be the new head coach at Louisville, where he had previously been head coach from 2003-2006 (so much for loyalty to WKU).
Bruce Feldman tweeted “Save it with the talk abt how this is a “second chance” for Bobby Petrino. His rep as a world class creep came from yrs of bad behavior.” I guess that includes him bailing on the Atlanta Falcons thirteen games into he season to coach Arkansas. Regardless, I believe in “second chances,” and it would be wonderful to see Petrino as a changed man. “Hate the sin, not the sinner,” the say. The one thing I don’t understand is why the second coach, Butch Davis, has gotten no such “second chance” (he really hasn’t done much wrong).
Coach Davis was the mastermind behind the greatest assembly of talent of ALL TIME, the Miami Hurricanes of the early 2000s. He was the coach there from 1995-2000 and resurrected the Hurricanes from some of the worst sanctions in NCAA history. The talent he recruited won two national championships (and should have played for a third) and held modern college football’s longest winning streak. His quarterback, the one that was too skinny and not gifted enough for everybody else, went 39-1 as a starter (had to get my Dorsey plug in). The majority of the Miami talent you see in the NFL today was his doing. He left a bad taste in Miami fans’ mouths when he left for the NFL, but it turns out the whole issue was about a buyout clause.
After a failed NFL gig, Coach Davis landed on his feet at UNC. The NFL talent he recruited to Carolina was unprecedented. They were probably two seasons away from making a BCS bowl and were becoming regular contenders in the ACC. Then, Coach Davis was fired in the summer of 2011. There was an NCAA scandal involving improper benefits provided to UNC players by and agent via a rogue coach. Then, there was a second investigation involving a tutor and academic misconduct. This could have been really bad, however, Davis was cleared of any wrongdoing. After the investigation, it would be shown that this was a widespread problem at UNC, not a football-specific issue. I find Bruce Feldman to be very credible, and it sound like Davis had worked through these issues with the administration at UNC and was blindsided by the firing.
“There have been guys that get re-hired, who have had affairs,” Davis said to Feldman. “Guys get re-hired that have trouble with kids and the NCAA. Guys have gotten in trouble for being drunk, but the minute you say academics and football coach, it’s like you have leprosy. People are terrified that I had anything to do with it, but I didn’t. The NCAA even said as much, and I have a letter from the NCAA saying that.”
The aforementioned letter says, “This is to confirm that former University of North Carolina head football coach Paul “Butch” Davis was not alleged to have been involved in any violations of NCAA legislation in the University of North Carolina Case.” Three football seasons have passed, and Davis is still sitting on the sidelines (he was a special assistant in Tampa Bay but it sounds like he would have preferred to coach). Davis wasn’t even given the NCAA’s dreaded show-cause penalty. I honestly don’t understand how universities are looking past this talented, proven coach (probably for cheap!) but are willing to look past major character flaws in other coaches. Heck, the assistant coach in the recent Miami scandal (who has a show-cause penalty) is still employed by Louisville. Just this week, the new regime at Louisville told a commit that they were no longer honoring his commitment for no apparent reason (you don’t screw with kids, in my opinion). I guess having your name mentioned in an academic scandal is worse than having a history of poor decision-making and unethical behavior…at least at Louisville.