Saturday, January 11, 2003
The former Dallas Cowboys coach is reunited with good friend Butch Davis.
BEREA (AP) -- Dave Campo already knows what his first substitution will be as the Cleveland Browns' new defensive coordinator.
At Friday's news conference to announce his hiring, the fired Dallas coach flashed the diamond-studded Super Bowl ring he got as an assistant in 1994 when the Cowboys beat the Buffalo Bills.
"As soon as I come back here I'm going to have the ring on that defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1995," Campo said with a smile.
But as any Browns fan can attest, it's how you finish.
Campo, who was dismissed in Dallas on Dec. 30 following his third straight 5-11 season, has been reunited in Cleveland with Browns coach Butch Davis.
Campo and Davis previously worked together as defensive assistants at the University of Miami and later under Jimmy Johnson in Dallas, where they helped the Cowboys win two NFL titles.
Campo won a third after Davis left, but the two have remained close friends, and now together again, they'll try to get the Browns to their first Super Bowl.
The 55-year-old Campo can't wait to get started.
"There's no question Butch has them going in the right direction," Campo said of the Browns, who went 9-7 and made the playoffs in their second season under Davis. "I'm looking forward to getting back together with him and putting this thing together. There's a lot of talent on this team."
Campo got the chance to rejoin Davis after Foge Fazio retired on Tuesday, two days after Cleveland's defense blew a 17-point lead in the second half and lost 36-33 to Pittsburgh in the AFC playoffs.
Need defensive line coach
The Browns also fired defensive line coach Ray Hamilton. Davis said he'll interview candidates next week at the Senior Bowl.
Fazio's sudden departure left the Browns seeking their fourth defensive coordinator in five years, and Davis knew exactly where to begin his search.
Davis spent six seasons (1989-94) with Campo in Dallas after working with him for two years on Johnson's staff at Miami, where the Hurricanes won a national championship in 1987.
Davis knows exactly what kind of coach he's getting.
"Not only is he an outstanding defensive coordinator," Davis said. "He's a great guy and a wonderful teacher. The thing that always impressed me was the great relationship he had with the players he coached."
Even after being fired by Dallas owner Jerry Jones and replaced by Bill Parcells, Campo knew he wanted to get back into coaching immediately.
He had talked with Seattle coach Mike Holmgren about the Seahawks' vacant defensive coordinator's job, but his past with Davis made Cleveland a better fit.
"My father told me, 'If you've fallen off a horse, get back up and ride'," he said. "I'm ready to get back firing. Unfortunately, the last three years in Dallas we didn't have the success we would have liked. But, I'm a football coach."
Won't make drastic changes
Campo said he won't be making any drastic changes to Cleveland's 4-3 defense. There's no need for tinkering since he and Davis are already on the same page.
Campo aspires to be an NFL head coach again, and after 16 years as a college assistant and 11 in the pros, he has no illusions about his role with the Browns.
"There's one coach here," he said. "That's Butch."
There's something else Campo will have to get used to, and that's not having an owner who sits in on the coach's meetings like Jones did in Dallas.
Campo, though, still feels Jones' presence. He was asked if he'd miss Jones being at the meetings.
"Is this going all over the country?" he joked. "I'll be honest with you. I love Jerry Jones. I mean that sincerely. We had a tremendous relationship.
"He's a man who is very passionate about what he does and winning and being successful. I had a tremendous run in Dallas. I would have liked to have been the head coach there another year, but that didn't happen and now I got the next best thing."