Florida International U

Former Hurricanes coach Butch Davis is a front-runner to be FIU coach, sources say

Davis AP

Florida International, which in recent years has hired several coaches/management figures with Miami Hurricane ties, might be close to repeating the trend.

According to a source, former Hurricanes coach Butch Davis is a front-runner to become the next FIU coach. News of Davis’ status as a front-runner was first reported by Alex Marvez of The Sporting News.

The source also said that two coaches on the Florida Gators staff are of interest to FIU: associate head coach Randy Shannon, who like Davis is a former Hurricanes coach, and Gators defensive coordinator Geoff Collins.

Davis, who hasn’t had a college coaching job since his stint at North Carolina ended badly with a firing in 2011, is now a college football analyst for ESPN2.

FIU athletic director Pete Garcia, who is a former Hurricanes staffer, declined to comment on the possibility of hiring Davis, who would join Mario Cristobal (football) and Turtle Thomas (baseball) as former Hurricanes hired to coach the Panthers.

Garcia fired Cristobal in 2012 and Thomas earlier this year.

Davis has close ties to Garcia. Davis left the University of Miami for a job coaching the Cleveland Browns, taking Garcia with him in a front-office capacity.

At FIU, Davis, 64, would inherit a football program that hasn’t had a winning season since Cristobal led it to the only two bowl appearances in program history (2010and 2011).

Garcia fired Ron Turner — who was Cristobal’s successor — earlier this year. Turner, who was 10-30 in parts of four seasons, was replaced by Ron Cooper, his former defensive coordinator, on an interim basis.

Cooper won his first three games as FIU coach but has since lost three in a row, including Saturday’s defeat at Western Kentucky. With that loss, FIU (4-7) clinched its fifth consecutive losing season and is not eligible for a bowl this season.

If Davis does get the FIU job, he would bring some impressive credentials to the job. He was 51-20 in six years coaching the Canes from 1995 to 2000.