Jim Davis named Golden Eagle women's basketball head coach
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – He holds a master’s degree from Tennessee Tech, has led teams to Ohio Valley Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference championships, and has found coaching success on every level from the Tennessee high school ranks to the WNBA.
He’s the perfect fit to take the reins of the tradition-rich Tennessee Tech women’s basketball program.
Jim Davis was named Wednesday as the next head coach for the Golden Eagles, the announcement coming from Director of Athletics Mark Wilson.
“Jim is a proven winner and we are fortunate to get a veteran coach to lead our women’s basketball program,” Wilson said. “He is a man of high character, a great educator of the game of basketball, and he is the right fit to lead our program at this time.
“We look forward to him carrying on the traditions of academic excellence and winning championships,” Wilson said.
A native of Englewood, Tenn., Davis’ coaching resume includes junior high and high school positions, a brilliant six-year span at Roane State Community College, one championship year at Middle Tennessee State, 18 highly successful seasons at Clemson University, a year in the WNBA with the Minnesota Lynx, and the past two seasons as an assistant coach at Young Harris College in Georgia.
Tech will host an official Press Conference and Community Welcome Thursday at 9 a.m. CDT in the Eagles Nest in Eblen Center.
“Being a native Tennessean, I have a feel for the culture and values of the Upper Cumberland, the state and the region,” Davis said. “The basis of my coaching philosophy is a result of my relationships and upbringing in that area.”
Following 18 successful seasons as head coach at Clemson and two as Assistant Athletic Director, Davis tried retirement but quickly found he still yearned to coach. In 2009, he was contacted about taking an assistant coaching position with the Minnesota Lynx.
In 2011, he accepted an assistant coaching assignment at Young Harris College and helped create a new program. In just one season, he helped take the team from inception to a 23-3 record with a roster featuring only freshmen and sophomores.
“It’s been wonderful to be back on the floor teaching, coaching, recruiting and game-planning,” Davis says. “That’s when I realized I yearned to lead a program again.
“I am very aware of the winning tradition of Tennessee Tech women’s basketball under the leadership of coach Marynell Meadors and coach Bill Worrell,” Davis says. “Coach (Sytia) Messer did a great job during her short tenure on the plateau. The team is positioned to become champions of the Ohio Valley Conference for years to come.”
The majority of Davis’ past coaching career was at Clemson, and his record includes a lengthy list of highlights. In 18 years, he led his team to 16 post-season appearances including 14 trips to the NCAA Tournament and two WNIT appearances. While earning 355 victories, he brought the program into national prominence, guiding the Tigers to two championships in the impossibly tough Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). His Clemson teams advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 four times and climbed to the Elite Eight one time, and he posted 51 victories over Top 25 teams.
Clemson made it to the ACC championship game six times, claiming the title in 1996 and 1999. The team achieved 20 wins or more in 11 of his 18 seasons, and earned Top 25 Final National Rankings 11 times. Davis was named the ACC Coach of the Year in 1990 and 1994.
The record book reflects 501 all-time victories in his 25 seasons as a collegiate head coach, and he is the winningest basketball coach – men or women – in Clemson history. He was inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.
Even more impressive than his on-court record is the academic success of his student-athletes, a trait that brands him as a natural fit for Tennessee Tech, another program built on high academic standards. During his span as Clemson head coach from 1987 through 2005, Davis saw every single four-year player receive her degree.
Prior to his arrival at Clemson, Davis was a familiar figure with Tennessee Tech fans – if not appreciated –as he served one season as head coach of arch-rival Middle Tennessee State. During the 1986-87 season, he guided the Lady Raiders to a 19-8 record and a share of the Ohio Valley Conference championship. Prior to his stop at Middle Tennessee, Davis spent the 1985-86 season as an assistant coach with the University of Florida Lady Gator basketball program.
A Tennessee native, Davis spent six highly successful years at Roane State Community College in Harriman, Tenn., before moving to Florida. Davis put together one of the most successful stints ever in the junior college ranks by coaching Roane State's Raiderettes to 127 wins against only 35 losses, building a .784 winning percentage. His teams won four Tennessee Junior College Athletic Association divisional championships and one state championship, and were ranked in the Top 10 by the National Junior College Athletic Association three times (1981, 1984, 1985). His biggest accomplishment was the 1984 team's finish of 27-2 and the NJCAA National Championship title.
Before entering the junior college ranks, Davis coached two years at Englewood (Tenn.) Junior High School and 10 seasons in various Tennessee high schools, including stops at Madisonville, Charleston and McMinn high schools. His overall high school record was 197-93, a winning percentage of .679.
Davis graduated from Tennessee Wesleyan College in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in health and physical education. After doing graduate work at East Tennessee State University, he received his master's degree in Educational” Administration and Supervision from Tennessee Tech in 1975.
In 1996, Davis was inducted into the Tennessee Junior and Community College Athletic Association Hall of Fame. In the fall of 1996, he was inducted into Tiger Brotherhood, an honorary fraternity that promotes high standards of social and ethical conduct while recognizing in its members an earnest devotion to Clemson, coupled with the integrity of character commensurate with a typical Clemson gentleman or lady. Davis was also inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame in the fall of 2008.
Davis becomes only the fifth head coach in the 42-year history of women’s basketball at Tennessee Tech.
“Marynell Meadors and Bill Worrell established a program that is known nationally for excellence,” Wilson said. “That tradition was carried on by coach (Amy) Brown and coach Messer, and we expect that coach Davis will not only continue that excellence, but elevate our program to new level.”
Davis is married to the former Bobbie Henderson and they have one grown son, Todd, a beautiful daughter-in-law, Rhonda, and two most precious grandchildren, Ansleigh Grace and Jacob Garrett.
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