BEREA, Ohio (AP) Butch Davis, who returned the University of Miami to national title contention, resigned yesterday to coach the Cleveland Browns.

Davis, who led the Hurricanes to a No. 2 ranking last season, will be introduced at news conference today at the Browns” training facility, team president Carmen Policy said.

“The Browns organization is extremely pleased to have Butch Davis as our next coach,” Policy said in a statement.

Davis had been listed as a possible Browns coach since the team fired Chris Palmer on Jan. 11.

WKYC-TV and WTAM-AM in Cleveland first reported that Davis would take the Browns job.

His agent, Marvin Demoff, said after arriving in Cleveland that Davis had not yet signed a contract with the Browns but the sides were “in serious discussions. It”s pretty close.”

For weeks, Davis has been denying he would leave Miami, where he had been working on a contract extension with the university. The Browns also denied that they had a secret meeting with Davis in Florida.

Davis told the Hurricanes” players of his decision yesterday morning and was headed to Cleveland. His departure came one week before the end of the college signing period.

“I”m disappointed,” Miami athletic director Paul Dee said. “I think coach Davis had a lot to give UM and I”m pleased at the success we had.”

Dee said offensive coordinator Larry Coker has been named Miami”s interim head coach.

Just last week, the Browns said they were focusing their search on NFL assistants, all but ruling out the possibility of hiring Davis, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops or Washington coach Rick Neuheisel.

Browns owner Al Lerner shot down reports Davis was coming to Cleveland, saying, “There is no Butch Davis.”

Davis, 49, was in the fourth year of a seven-year contract at Miami and had nearly agreed to a five-year extension at the university. Davis met with Dee last weekend and said the sides only had to work out a few details on the contract.

Davis, who interviewed for the expansion Houston Texans” head coaching job, had reportedly lost interest in pursuing a job with the Browns because he would not have full control of football operations in Cleveland.

Dwight Clark is in charge of personnel decisions with the Browns, but Davis” hiring could indicate a reshuffling in the Browns” front office.

Davis has coached the Hurricanes since 1995. He turned around Miami”s troubled program after it was hit with numerous NCAA violations.

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