|Butch Davis may take the FIU job if a major contract snag is resolved. (US Presswire)|
It's never been much of a secret that FIU has wanted to make Butch Davis its next head coach after its shocking firing of Mario Cristobal. The question has been if Davis -- a former Miami, Cleveland Browns and North Carolina head coach -- wanted the same thing, even given his ties to Panther athletic director Pete Garcia. Reports initially claimed that he wasn't interested, but then said Davis had agreed to take the job, only for Garcia himself to call those later reports "totally false."
But a report from Fox Sports Thursday night suggests that Davis and FIU have indeed spent some time talking things over -- even if those talks haven't yet overcome a major stumbling block. Per reporter Alex Marvez, "a contract squabble with the University of North Carolina" is the only thing standing in the way of Davis becoming the Panthers' new coach ... but that that squabble appears to be at a standoff.
The dispute centers on almost $1.8 million that Davis is owed from the settlement he signed upon his dismissal as UNC's head coach in July 2011. The source said that UNC doesn't want to pay the money if Davis accepts another coaching position, which is a stumbling block that also complicated his hiring earlier this year by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Davis would earn "roughly $500,000 a season" coaching for FIU, according to Marvez's source, while his settlement from UNC would reportedly pay him $590,000 per year for the next three years -- meaning that if Davis could not force UNC to continue his payments even after taking the FIU job, he'd be taking nearly a $100,000 per-year pay cut for his efforts for the Panthers.
There's enough traction between these reports to assume that the interest between the Panthers and Davis is at least somewhat mutual. But unless Garcia and FIU can find enough money to make it more worth Davis's while than unemployment would be, or the terms of Davis's UNC settlement change for some reason -- like, say, a clause expiring at the end of the 2012 calendar year that only makes Davis hireable after Jan. 1, as the rumor mill has had it -- that interest may be as far as things go.