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Mike Terry, Deseret News
Utah offensive line coach Tim Davis directs players during practice at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Friday. Davis played at Utah.

SALT LAKE CITY — One of Utah's new football coaches is actually an old Utah coach.

Offensive line coach Tim Davis is absolutely thrilled to be back for a third time as a Ute coach and has an "awesome" wife to thank for it.

Last February, Davis had just joined the unemployment ranks after the staff he was on at the University of Minnesota was let go. Davis was driving in his car after dropping his daughter off at school when his wife, Janice, called. She had just noticed on the Internet that the offensive line coach at Utah was leaving for another job.

Davis just happened to have Utah coach Kyle Whittingham's phone number and, still in his car, called the number, planning to leave a message.

"I didn't think he'd answer, but he picked the phone up," Davis recalls. "It was amazing. He said he'd call me back in 48 hours. He called back, and here I am. It was that fast."

Whittingham corroborates the story, saying, "I don't know how big that window was, but when our guy left and he became available, it just meshed perfectly."

It helped that Davis and Whittingham had a history together dating back to the late 1980s when both coached at Idaho State. They also coached together for a couple of years under coach Ron McBride when Whittingham joined the Ute staff in 1994 while Davis was the offensive line coach.

"I wasn't aware of the situation he was in," Whittingham said. "It was pretty much like a 24-hour deal and he was on board. When I found out he was available, it was a no-brainer. It has turned out very well."

Davis is known as an exuberant fellow, who is well-liked by his players and fellow coaches.

"He's just a ball of energy," says U. starting center Tevita Stevens. "With that guy there's no starting slow. It's move, move. It's great to have that motivation from a coach."

"He brings energy and passion as well as a wealth of knowledge coaching the offensive line," Whittingham said. "He's been in some very good places, he has a great track record and his players love him. He's a great addition to our staff."

Davis grew up in California and was recruited to Utah in 1978 when Wayne Howard was the coach and McBride an assistant. He played three years and earned the team's Most Inspirational Player Award in 1980.

He had graduate assistant jobs at Utah, Wisconsin and Arizona, before getting his first real job at Walla Walla CC and then to Idaho State before landing at Utah in 1990 with McBride. He stayed six years before going back to Wisconsin for five years.

Then it was on to USC, where he was the offensive line coach from 2002-04 when the Trojans won the national championship behind quarterback Matt Leinart. Davis took his only foray into the pros with the Miami Dolphins for a couple of years before going to Alabama for a year as the director of player personnel under Nick Saban in 2008.

That's right, the same season Utah matched up with Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

However, by the time the Sugar Bowl rolled around, Davis was on the move again, this time accepting the job at Minnesota.

Davis remembers well, watching the Sugar Bowl game in Chicago while on a recruiting trip. Even though he had worked with the Crimson Tide that year and knew all the players and coaches, there was no doubt where his loyalties were that night.

"I was a Ute all the way," he says. "I had worked with that loud, little man (Saban) and his veins were popping out and I was having a ball with it. I was just so proud of Utah and how they looked on offense, defense and special teams. It was fun."

At 6-foot-6, 280 pounds, Davis is the right size to play offensive lineman, but he'll leave that to the young guys. He prefers to spend his spare time on the golf course and has enjoyed getting to know the local courses since his return to Utah.

And after 10 stops in nearly three decades, the 53-year-old Davis would like to stick around Utah for awhile.

"I love it here and my family loves it," he said. "It's changed so much, yet stayed the same. They've done a great job with the university here with the programs. Mac started it, then Urban and now Whit. Whit's done a tremendous job. He has a plan and is on the right road."

Tim Davis file

Recruited to Utah in 1978 by coach Wayne Howard, played three years.

Was offensive line coach at Utah from 1990-1996

Has coached in the Big Ten, Pac-10, SEC, and NFL

Coached with Norm Chow on USC's national championship team in 2004

Utah camp report

DAY 10: The Utes practiced in the morning at Rice-Eccles Stadium and again capped a double day with a late afternoon session at the baseball field.

STANDOUTS: Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said kickers Nick Marsh and Coleman Petersen performed well. Cornerback Mo Lee is "continuing to get better every day."

INJURIES: Cornerback Conroy Black suffered a thigh bruise.

NEXT UP: A scrimmage Tuesday morning at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

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