Davis, who spent seven years with the Pantherettes, made stops at Roane State and Middle Tennessee State before 18 highly successful seasons with the Clemson Lady Tigers. The newest coach of the Lady Eagles, most recently of the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx and Young Harris College was introduced Wednesday in Cookeville. Davis is the fifth head coach in the 42-year history of women’s basketball at Tennessee Tech.
While at Young Harris, Davis submitted his resume to TTU after finding out of the opening from Georgia coach Andy Landers.
“I was fortunate enough to be named head coach last week,” said Davis. “They have one of the richest traditions in women’s basketball. It is solid as any women’s program in the country.”
Davis takes over a team that went 17-17 overall and 11-5 in the Ohio Valley Conference during the 2011-12 season and won the championship the previous year. The TTU women boast the eighth winningest basketball program in the country.
“Many people don’t realize that. But, they have always had a really, really good women’s basketball program,” said the native of Englewood. “It is a great place with good people. I was just blown away by the quality of the people who were on the search committee and athletics search committee I met with. It is a great fit for me, being from East Tennessee originally.”
In 18 years at Clemson, Davis took the Lady Tigers to 16 NCAA tournament appearances and two WNIT trips. He recorded 355 wins and two Atlantic Coast Conference championships while developing the program into a national power. Under Davis’ guidance, the Lady Tigers reached the Sweet 16 four times and the Elite Eight once while posting 51 wins over Top 25 teams.
Clemson also made it to the ACC championship game six times winning the title in 1996 and 1999. In all, Davis’ teams have recorded 501 wins in his 25 years as head coach. He is the winningest basketball coach in Clemson history and received ACC Coach of the Year honors in 1990 and 1994.
Even though his mantle is overloaded with awards and personal accolades, Davis is most proud of his athletes’ achievements in the classroom. During his tenure as Clemson head coach from 1987 through 2005, every four-year athlete playing for Davis received her degree.
Academic integrity played a large role in his decision to take the job in Cookeville.
“I’ve had a chance to have two or three meetings with my players and their character and quality really caught my attention. The are good young people. I am proud to be their coach,” said Davis. “The most important thing is, and the first thing I will tell every recruit when I go into a home to visit with mom and dad, is ‘Don’t come to Tennessee Tech if you don’t intend to graduate because that is first and foremost.’ The one thing that impressed me about our AD (Mark Wilson) during the interview process was, he wants every student athlete at Tennessee Tech to leave with at least one championship ring on one hand and a diploma in the other. That sums it up right there.”
The new leader of the Lady Eagles said he hasn’t had a chance to fully evaluate his team, but expects nothing but the best from each and every member on the roster.
“I think we’ve got a really good nucleus coming back, I haven’t seen them play yet. I’ve been told the bench may be lacking a little bit, but hopefully we can put a really good product on the floor,” Davis said. “They have always been competitive and we expect to full well to compete for the championship next year.”