Monday, September 8, 2008

It's a reunion for UNC's Davis, Rutgers' Schiano

CHAPEL HILL North Carolina coach Butch Davis will see a familiar face across the field on Thursday night — but not a familiar foe.

UNC’s matchup at Rutgers marks the first time Davis will coach against Greg Schiano, a former assistant coach when both were with the Miami Hurricanes.

Davis knows it will be a test.

“His program, they are detailed, meticulous and organized,’’ Davis said. “They are a byproduct of his personality. … You’re not going to trick them, you’re not going to fool them, they are not going to be unprepared. He’s been there for eight years, so his kids have pretty much seen it all.”

Schiano was Davis’ defensive coordinator for two seasons during which the Hurricanes went 20-5. Schiano credits him for teaching him some of the details of having the top job.

“Butch really helped me prepare to be a head coach,’’ Schiano said. “Because there are certain things you don’t do as an assistant – whether it’s fundraising or drug testing or recruiting in the big picture, and not just your recruiting area. Butch allowed me to take part in that stuff, and it really gave me some valuable experience.”

The two have stayed friends since they left Miami; Davis even visited Schiano at Rutgers during the two years he was out of coaching. Schiano always figured his mentor would return to the coaching ranks, and is glad he is back on the college level — even though it means facing him for the first time.

“I’m happy for Butch that he’s in a place that he really likes,’’ Schiano said. “But for 3 1/2 hours, we’ve got to go coach our teams and go against one another."