Cincinnati went right back to Central Michigan for its next coach.

Butch Jones was hired yesterday to replace Brian Kelly, who came from Central Michigan 3 years ago and built the Bearcats' program into national prominence before leaving for Notre Dame last week. Now, it's up to one of his former assistants to keep it there.

The fourth-ranked Bearcats (12-0) won their second straight Big East title, finished third in the BCS rankings and earned a chance to play Florida in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1.

"It's very rare to have the opportunity to come in and take over a two-time defending champion and the No. 3 team in the country," said Davis, who was introduced at an evening news conference after agreeing to a 5-year deal.

The chance came along because Kelly left for Notre Dame last Thursday. Jeff Quinn, who was his offensive coordinator in Cincinnati, was named interim coach and will direct the team in its first Sugar Bowl appearance while Jones settles in.

"I'm going to be around," Jones said. "But I'm going to be in the background. I think it's all about them finishing what they started."

No. 25 Central Michigan plays Troy in the GMAC Bowl on Jan. 6. Associate head coach Steve Stripling was named interim coach for the Chippewas' bowl game.


* Former Kansas football coach Mark Mangino will be paid $3 million as part of a settlement both sides signed last week.

The university announced the payout and said the settlement will be paid through private funds raised by the athletics department, with no taxpayer money involved.

Mangino resigned earlier this month amid allegations that he emotionally mistreated his players.

* Louisiana-Monroe has hired Todd Berry as its new coach.

Berry is a former head coach at Army and was the Warhawks' offensive coordinator in 2004 and 2005 under former head coach Charlie Weatherbie, whose contract was not renewed beyond this past season.

* Illinois receiver Arrelious Benn will skip his senior season and enter April's NFL draft after a disappointing junior year.