Butch Davis lied.
He lied to Miami A.D. Paul Dee.
He lied to his assistants, who had been plotting out (as recently as Sunday) Miami's daily recruiting agenda.
He lied to his recruits, who he promised (as recently as last weekend) that he wasn't going anywhere.
And he lied to his players. That was the worst twist of all.
Duping his boss is one thing. Dee is a grownup, and a lawyer for crying out loud, so he realizes that nothing is out of bounds when it comes to money. The assistants, too, understand the transient nature of coaching and its brutal realities, so they will move on. The recruits, especially the 18 Davis had commitments from, do have a window, albeit a very small one, to navigate a new path if desired. The biggest victims of Davis' double talk are the Hurricane players -- most notably left tackle Bryant McKinnie and safety Ed Reed, who recently opted to return to Miami for their senior seasons.
Earlier this month, the 6-9, 330-pound McKinnie met with Davis, who pleaded with the junior left tackle to hold off on the NFL because 2001 would be the Canes' year. Just last week, Davis sidled up to McKinnie, a lock first-rounder, to thank him for coming back. Davis told McKinnie -- QB Ken Dorsey's insurance policy -- that he was "the final piece to the puzzle."
So on Monday, shock waves ran through the Miami football office, where players still thought someone was pulling a fast one on them. But by late morning, they realized that this was no joke.
Sadly, this will be Butch Davis' legacy. Even more than how he cleaned up Dennis Erickson's mess and brought the program back from the dead. It is ironic, since Davis always said he wanted to bring Miami back "the right way," with class and dignity. And he did that. Unfortunately, in bolting Coral Gables, he violated those principles.
On Wednesday, Bruce Feldman reports on the impact Davis' departure will have on Miami's recruits. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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