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FIU’s Butch Davis Recognizes Importance Of Hiring Right Assistants

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Butch Davis is FIU’s newest program-builder, and he knows the importance of putting together his first staff. Based on his background, he also knows how to mold future head coaches.


When Florida International pulled the plug on the Ron Turner era, Golden Panther fans wondered which direction AD Pete Garcia would go in his hiring process.

It turns out Garcia was able to get the head coach that he thought he had a real chance to land when he dismissed Mario Cristobal in December 2012.

Butch Davis, who has long had a relationship with his new AD, was given a five-year deal to leave the ESPN studio and return to the college sideline where he had a lot of success as the head man at Miami and North Carolina. Davis had been looking for an opportunity to get back into the coaching game, and he’ll do so in a very familiar part of the country.

As the leader of the Hurricanes, Davis went 51-20 overall in six seasons before leaving for the NFL. He would return to the college ranks at North Carolina, where he put together a 28-23 mark.

While it’d be easy for head coaches to take most of the credit for the success they’ve had throughout their careers, Davis fully understands the importance of having good coaches surrounding him. As he starts to assemble his first coaching staff at FIU, Davis acknowledges that he would not have been as successful as he’s been without the helping hands of each and every assistant along the way.

“I’ve gotten way more credit at the programs I’ve been than clearly I deserve,” Davis told Campus Insiders. “There’s not a head coach alive who’s been able to accomplish a lot of the things that we’ve done without great assistant coaches. We’ve had some fabulous, fabulous guys. I love the fact that they’re having success.

“And that’s kind of the way I think you have to build your staff: surround yourself with guys who have passion. They love the players. They want to grow. They want to be coordinators at some point in life, and keep climbing the ladder and become head coaches.”

Over the course of his long career, Davis has consistently put together solid staffs and hired many assistants who would eventually become head coaches in their own right. Individuals that have branched off from the Davis coaching tree include Chuck Pagano, Greg Schiano, Randy Shannon, Rob Chudzinski, Todd Bowles and the aforementioned Mario Cristobal. Davis realizes how important each one of them has been to his career, and he’s able to take pride in their advancement up the coaching ranks.

“I love seeing their success,” he said. “It’s part of the plan. I hope to assemble a coaching staff at FIU that has a lot of those same potential type of men.”

Davis has already reportedly made one hire, bringing aboard Dan Hawkins as his offensive coordinator. The 56-year-old former Boise State and Colorado head coach will officially start his new role after FIU finishes the season on Saturday at Old Dominion.

It will be interesting to see the full composition of Davis’ first staff at FIU, and it would not be surprising to see a few young former Florida high school coaches brought aboard, especially for recruiting purposes.

Taking into account Davis’ track record, it wouldn’t be shocking if any of the assistants on his first staff at FIU one day become head coaches themselves.

And Davis wouldn’t have it any other way.

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