CHAPEL HILL — After more than three decades in coaching, North Carolina’s Butch Davis has gotten used to having his name linked to other jobs when they come open.
So he didn’t seem particularly surprised when he was asked Tuesday evening whether he had any interest in the Tennessee job, which became vacant when Phillip Fulmer was fired this week.
Davis’ response: “The long and short of it is that the administration and I are completely, firmly committed to building a championship football program at North Carolina. And my family and I are very happy in Chapel Hill.”
Davis said that in some respects, “you’re flattered a little bit” when his name comes up — and that every coach deals with it, from Southern Cal’s Pete Carroll to Texas’ Mack Brown to Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer. In the final weeks of last season, his first at Carolina, Davis was often questioned about the Arkansas opening, too; eventually, Davis was given a raise and contract extension at UNC. “You grin and bear it,’’ he said of the speculation. “And it kind of goes with the territory.”
But is there anything coaches can do to fight the perception of being interested in other openings?
“In 34 years, I haven’t seen anybody successfully do it, in the NFL and college, high school,’’ he said. “… You just gut it out until they hurry up and name somebody, hire somebody at the other place. And [like] in the case of Arkansas last year — the sooner the better.”