Mario Cristobal is building a legendary coaching staff in Coral Gables. In part four of this series on Hurricanes coaching staffs of the past, we’re going to take a look at the 2000 staff hired by program re-build architect Butch Davis. Davis’ staff put together the pieces that became Larry Coker’s National Championship in 2001.
Cristobal’s staff has Broyles Award winning assistants and former Power 5 head coaches on board. They’re recruiters, teachers (literally, multiple guys on staff are former high school teachers and coaches) and more importantly professionals that command a room.
We’ve looked at Schnelly in ‘83 and Johnson in ‘87, now let’s take a look at the 2000 staff, the only staff in this series that failed to win a National Championship while Butch Davis was the head coach at Miami.
The 2000 Staff
Butch Davis’ final season at Miami was a hard working, well tenured staff that had NFL aspirations. Davis himself left Miami for the Cleveland Browns after the 2000 season. Eventually Davis returned to college football and recently retired from FIU.
Davis, a former Arkansas defensive end and high school coach in Oklahoma, got his first break with Jimmy Johnson in 1979 at Oklahoma State. Davis then followed JJ to Miami where he coached the defensive line under Johnson from ‘84-’88. Davis worked with award winners and future NFL stars in Jerome Brown and Danny Stubbs amongst other ‘Canes legends.
Davis followed Johnson once again, this time to Dallas and the NFL’s Cowboys. Coach Davis served as the Cowboys DL coach and eventually defensive coordinator, too. Davis won two Super Bowl rings at Dallas to go with his National Championship ring from the ‘87 Hurricanes. A master disciplinarian, Davis was brought in to Miami to drive the ‘Canes through NCAA sanctions that crippled the program.
After a disappointing season in ‘95, Davis’ run at Miami took a drastic dip along with the scholarship numbers. However, Davis and his future FIU boss Pete Garcia, put together one of the greatest rosters in college football history. The ‘Canes signed future NFL stars in Edgerrin James, Santana Moss (on a track and field scholarship), Reggie Wayne, Dan Morgan, Ed Reed, amongst many others.
For his offensive coordinator role, Butch Davis turned to a familiar face from Oklahoma. Davis’ OC was Larry Coker. Coker had served as the OC at Oklahoma State and Oklahoma before coaching DB’s at Ohio State under John Cooper. Coker came on Davis’ staff in ‘95 to change the direction of the ‘Canes program and worked with QB’s Ryan Clement, Scott Covington, Ryan Collins, Kenny Kelly and Ken Dorsey. Coker took over for Davis as the ‘Canes head coach, winning the national championship in 2001. Eventually Coker was fired and resurfaced to help UTSA start their program in 2011.
Of course the constant factor in Coral Gables was O-Line coach Art Kehoe. Kehoe was back at Coral Gables once again and would stay on with Larry Coker to win the BCS National Championship in 2001. Kehoe had survived coaching changes from Schnellenberger, Johnson, Erickson, Davis, and even into the Coker regime. Eventually, Kehoe would be fired by Coker and head to Ole Miss and back to Coral Gables under Al Golden, but was not retained by former teammate Mark Richt.
The DC under Davis was Greg Schiano. Schiano left a tad early for the Rutgers head coaching job or he might’ve been the ‘Canes head coach in 2001. Schiano had previously coached at Rutgers, Penn State, and with the NFL’s Chicago Bears before Miami. After Rutgers, Schiano was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, before serving as the DC at Ohio State before his return to New Jersey and the Scarlet Knights. Schiano has done a solid job of transforming Rutgers, once again.
The Tight Ends coach was former ‘Canes tight end Rob Chudzinski. Chudzinski played at Miami from 1986-1990 winning three National Championships in orange and green. “Chud” was eventually the ‘Canes OC from 2001-2003, before heading to Cleveland in 2004. After a decade in the NFL, Chud was named the Browns head coach for one season in 2013. After his short run in Cleveland, Chud then went to Indianapolis to coach the Colts serving as both Assistant HC and OC. Chud is now a special assistant to Jeff Hafley at Boston College. At Miami, Chud coached future NFL’ers in Jeremy Shockey, Bubba Franks and others turning Miami into TE U.
Speaking of the Colts, Chuck Pagano was Davis’ special teams and DB’s coach in 2000. After his run with Miami, Pagano followed Davis to Cleveland. Pagano mostly stayed in the NFL, outside of the 2007 season where he was the DC at UNC for Davis. Pagano was last the DC for the Bears for the 2020 season where he announced his retirement at 60 years of age. Pagano, who coached Ed Reed, Phillips Buchannon, Duane Starks and Mike Rumph at Miami, posted a 53-43 record as Colts head coach.
Davis’ WR coach was Curtis Johnson coached the ‘Canes WR’s from 1996-2005 working with Yatil Green, Andre King, Santana Moss, Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne and other notable studs in orange and green. Since Miami, Johnson has been a WR coach in the NFL, Tulane’s head coach, and added a Super Bowl ring to his National Championship ring during his many runs with the New Orleans Saints.
Former Hurricane defensive lineman and 3rd round NFL Draft pick Greg Mark worked with the ‘Canes DL. Mark was the DL coach at Miami from 1996-2005. Mark coached a number of top draft picks while winning his third national title at UM (87, 89, 01). Mark coached Kenard Lang, Kenny Holmes, Vince Wilfork, and sack master Michael Boireau.
Davis’ linebackers coach was Vernon Hargreaves Jr. Hargreaves served as Miami’s LB coach from 1998-2005 having coached Dan Morgan, Jon Vilma, and DJ Williams, among other stars. Hargreaves Jr. has proceeded to coach throughout the college football world and has a daughter in college football and his son playing in the NFL. Hargreaves has coached linebackers at MIssouri, Arkansas, FIU, Houston, South Florida, ECU and UConn.
Just a GA on the ‘Canes 2000 staff, former Miami offensive lineman Mike Sullivan was a great pick up for Davis. Sullivan has gone on to a career of coaching in the NFL with the Browns, as well as the Chargers, and Tennessee Titans where he is currently an assistant OL coach. Sullivan was a tough, hard nosed player who could line up at all five OL positions and spent a short run as s player in the NFL while suffering from injuries.
Of course, current Miami Hurricanes head coach Mario Cristobal was also a GA on the ‘Canes staff from 1998-2000, but we’ve covered that guy enough, right?
The Wrap and Poll
So far the ‘87 staff that Jimmy Johnson put together has dominated the polls. That ‘87 staff will go up against the 2000 staff in the poll below. Vote for the better group of coaches! One thing that’s been blatantly obvious is the better the group of guys surrounding the head coach, the better the results. Schnelly, Johnson and Erickson put together great coaching staffs, as did Coach Davis. This created a winning atmosphere at Miami that the staffs of Coker, Shannon, Golden, Richt and Diaz didn’t have.
Which coaching staff was better?
This poll is closed