Chase Rice Talks College Football, Relives Playing Days Under Butch Davis at UNC

by Clayton Edwards

Most people know Chase Rice as a country music star, today. However, before he ever made his move to Nashville to follow his musical dream, he played football for the University of North Carolina. Rice played linebacker for the school and had a promising career in the sport. In fact, before an ankle injury took him out of the game for good, he thought about pursuing a professional football career.

Recently, Chase Rice joined Marty Smith at the Outsider studio to talk about his life and rise to stardom. During their conversation, Rice and Smith took some time to look back at his days on UNC’s football team. Additionally, Rice gave some insight into what it was like to play under Coach Butch Davis.

Chase Rice Looks Back at His Days at UNC

“Half the time in college, it’s not the players. It is definitely the coaches. You get to the Alabama, Clemson, Georgia level, you’ve got to have the players. But, to be a top ten team, you’ve got to have a coach that can just make you believe that you’re good,” Chase Rice said, beginning their talk about college ball.

Rice on Butch Davis

Then, Rice backed up what he said with the story of his college football career. Chuck Pagano and Butch Davis took over defensive coordinator and head coaching positions, respectively, when Chase Rice was a junior. He recalls, “We went from a very, very bad football team. With the same players, the next year, we went to a promising football team. Then, a good football team the next year.” He chalks that up to the coaching prowess of Butch Davis.

“It was just the command… He, to me, is an unbelievable coach. He demands respect and he knows what he’s talking about.” More importantly, Chase Rice added, “He makes you want to play football. As opposed to ‘Dear God, I want this season to be over,’ he makes you want to play. You know there’s hope. You know there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

Rice on Chuck Pagano

“Chuck made you want to play football. And, he loves you, like, he genuinely loves you as a person and that’s reciprocal.” Chase Rice added that there’s something about good coaching that makes a group of guys come together and want to play the game together.

Today, Chase Rice says he still keeps in touch with his former defensive coordinator. “We text and he always says, ‘Love you, buddy.’ He’ll care about you more as a person than he will as a football player.”

For the rest of the story, check out the video above. If you want to hear more about Chase Rice, you can watch the full video podcast on Outsider’s YouTube or stream the full episode wherever you listen to podcasts.