Newly hired FIU head coach Butch Davis is taking over a struggling program, but he believes it has the potential to become a contender.
Butch Davis has a rebuilding job facing him at Florida International, but for the 65-year-old who had previous head coaching stints at Miami and North Carolina, expectations will be high. How high? He wants the Panthers to be thinking about playing against the big boys during bowl season.
“I’ve seen programs that people say have absolutely no opportunity to do that [play in a New Year’s Six game],” Davis told Campus Insiders. “And it’s the ones I referenced [during my introductory press conference]: Northern Illinois, UCF, Houston. There’s a whole bunch of programs.”
That may seem like a reach, but as Davis points out, there is a team doing it this season that no one before thought could be in the spotlight.
“This year’s version is clearly the possibility that P.J. Fleck’s team at Western Michigan has climbed into the top 20 in all the polls, when two or three years ago they were 1-11.”
For Davis, it starts with recruiting athletes that want to come to FIU and make a difference by turning the football program around. Located in Miami, Davis and the Panthers have easy access to some of the most fertile recruiting ground in the nation. Now, it is just about making those players believe enough in the program to commit.
“The opportunity is there if you set the goals and high expectations. If you recruit to that: ‘If one program can, why not us?’ With the access to the athlete’s we’ve got, we’re ready to go.”