Davis meeting with Houston officials for second time
By Peter King, Sports Illustrated
University of Miami head coach Butch Davis, the hottest name on the collegiate coaching market, will meet Tuesday in Houston with officials of the expansion Texans, including owner Bob McNair and general manager Charley Casserly.
"Butch is a highly qualified coach, who had done an outstanding job at Miami, as he did as an assistant with the Cowboys," McNair said. "He has all the credentials in my view and certainly is well qualified to be head coach of the Texans."
This is not the first time Davis, who has coached his Hurricanes to a No. 2 ranking in college football this fall, has met with the Texans. He quietly met earlier in November with Casserly in Miami.
But the second meeting with Davis should not be construed as a sign that a job offer to Davis is imminent. The Texans will also strongly consider Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak -- a man who Casserley has been doing extensive fact-finding about during the past few weeks -- as well as Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Dom Capers, University of Pittsburgh head coach Walt Harris and, perhaps, Stanford head coach Tyrone Willingham.
There is no question, Casserly confirmed to CNNSI.com last week, that the first head coach of the Texans will have to be strong in public relations and discipline. Those two areas are very high on McNair's list because of the Texans' desire to reach out to a community disenfranchised from the NFL when the Oilers left the city for Tennessee in the mid-1990s. Kubiak's name has reportedly been sliding down the Texans' list in recent weeks because of the club's alleged fears that he's not outgoing enough. But this is not entirely true. The Texans remain very interested in talking to Kubiak.
"An expansion team is different than going into an existing situation," McNair said. "It will be important to be prepared for some adversity because it's going to take several years to put together a solid team."
Casserly said the Texans, who begin play in a new Houston stadium in 2002, could hire a head coach in either of the next two postseasons. If a head coach is hired this winter, that would give him two full offseasons to hire a staff, which would be a big advantage for a first-year team. It would also give a new head coach a full NFL and college season to evaluate future free agents and collegiate prospects without the pressure of coaching.
Davis, a former defensive assistant and coordinator with the Dallas Cowboys, is an excellent personnel evaluator with a charismatic and magnetic personality. He has lifted the Hurricanes from the nightmare of NCAA sanctions to a 10-1 record this fall. On Monday, Davis reportedly met with Alabama officials to discuss the Crimson Tide's coaching vacancy.
"Certainly Alabama is a great institution and something that is attractive to a number of coaches," McNair said. "And certainly there will be other opportunities in the NFL."
Miami officials have said they will try aggressively to keep Davis, and close friends have told him because he could win consistently at Miami, there's no reason to move to another college job if he likes the college game.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.