Posted by Adam Jacobi
LSU fans who spend the week chuckling at the misfortune of Butch Davis and the Tar Heels, who are missing somewhere between 12-15 players for tomorrow's game in Baton Rouge, should heed a little caution and consider a sobering fact: Butch Davis has, on multiple occasions, come very close to being the head coach at LSU.
The Shreveport Times detailed the Tigers' extended courtship with Davis, noting that before hiring Nick Saban in 1999 and then Les Miles in 2005, LSU came very close to taking Davis instead; in '99, Davis had been too open about his interest to eventually coach in the NFL, and then health problems derailed what would have been a sure hire by the school in '05.
This is not to insinuate that LSU is a crooked school or that they would have intentionally courted the type of academic malfeasance that has been alleged with the Tar Heels today, of course. It's not like Butch Davis interviewed with North Carolina and told them "I'm planning on farming out my players' classwork to my kids' tutor."
And seriously, LSU fans; do not mock Butch Davis this weekend or thereafter, because you are tempting the mischievously cruel football gods if you do. After all, Les Miles' job isn't completely safe, and do these sound like the words of people who are trying to put any distance between their former school and Davis?
In reference to the '99 opening:
"We interviewed Butch before we talked to Nick [Saban]," former LSU Board of Supervisors member Charles Weems of Alexandria said this week. "We really thought he was great."
Weems along with LSU chancellor Mark Emmert and Board of Supervisors member Stanley Jacobs of New Orleans were in Miami to talk to Davis.
"We were very interested in Butch," Weems said. "He was really impressive, but the situation was that Butch knew he was going to be going to the pros sooner or later.
And from the '05 opening:
"It was too bad," [former LSU AD Skip] Bertman said. "I would've taken Butch in a heartbeat."
"It's sad because he really cleaned up the Miami program," Bertman said. "Butch is a super straight shooter. He was the new sheriff in Miami. He's a clean guy. I hope they get this worked out at North Carolina. Butch is a great coach."