Mike Davis all smiles in return to Bloomington

  • 11/17/2014 9:10 pm in

As Mike Davis prepared to walk onto Branch McCracken Court 12 minutes before tipoff on Monday night, the former Indiana coach looked up and smiled.

The long, winding road the 54-year-old Texas Southern coach has endured had taken him back to Bloomington — the place where his head-coaching career began more than 14 years ago.

His trip onto the Assembly Hall floor slowed as he reminisced with former co-workers. By the time he finished the pregame greetings, the buzzer signaling the end of warmups blared. He still was smiling.

“It’s just great to be back,” Davis said. “I wanted to bring my family back. Indiana has shown so much love for me. I’m where I am today because of Indiana basketball.”

When Davis resigned as the Indiana basketball coach after the 2005-2006 season, after six rocky seasons that included an NCAA Final Four trip and two seasons of missing the NCAA tournament completely, Davis’s career went on. Though he went on to coach UAB, a Conference USA school, and now Texas Southern, a SWAC school, he said he held no animosity against Indiana.

Davis has said he believes he would never have had neither the UAB nor Texas Southern jobs if not for his time at Indiana. In his mind, he is grateful for his time spent in Bloomington.

On Monday night, during on-court introductions, public address announcer Chuck Crabb introduced Davis as the former Hoosiers coach — the first to ever take the opposing sideline against Indiana in Assembly Hall. As the crowd rose to its feet, giving Davis a standing ovation, he rose his right hand and turned around to acknowledge the Hoosiers faithful.

His smile was as big as ever.

“Them coming out and giving me a ovation,” Davis said, “I really owe them a standing ovation for what they have done for me and my family.”

Davis’s sons still refer to Bloomington as “home.” His oldest son, Mike Jr., continued to make trips to Bloomington even after his father’s departure as head coach. Davis’s youngest son, Antoine, cried because he missed Bloomington so much.

In the days leading up to Monday’s game, Davis admitted he already was looking past his team’s season opener at Eastern Washington. He was ready to get to Bloomington. And following Monday’s game — despite his Texas Southern team losing, 83-64 — he said he wanted to stay in Bloomington longer.

During Davis’s postgame press conference, in which he continued to express his gratitude to Indiana, he was asked whether he would consider rescheduling Indiana in Assembly Hall during future seasons. He quickly replied, “hopefully my son can play here one day.”

Davis is hoping Indiana will one day recruit Antoine, now in ninth-grade. He even mentioned he would want part of his family to relocate to Bloomington if Antoine eventually plays for the Hoosiers. He still treasures everything about his time at Indiana.

“I owe Indiana way, way more than anything,” Davis said. “Just so excited to be back. I was talking with Fisch before the game.”

He cracked a smile.

“Like old times.”

As his press conference wrapped up, Davis greeted several reporters who covered the team during his time in Bloomington. He referred to them by their first names, engaging in conversation.

By the time he walked out of the doors, one last thing was apparent. Mike Davis was smiling.

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  • Class act. Wish him nothing but the best. No matter what your opinion of him as a coach you cannot argue that Mike Davis doesn’t get what Indiana basketball is all about. Good luck this season, Coach!

  • Hardwood83

    My thought too. Not sure how good of a coach he is, but I believe he is a good man- which really is more important.

  • fourputtsforsnowman

    My recollection is that he was a very young, inexperienced coach in a very tough situation. I think he learned and worked and cared. Hats off to him and thanks to the IU fans at the game for giving him an ovation.

  • SilverAtlanta

    No one could have stepped in the way he had to do and “replaced” RMK. I am so happy to hear of the ovation the Hoosier faithful gave Coach Davis, he earned it!

  • Dave Carnes

    Wish I could have been there to add my appreciation to the mix

  • Ole Man

    Pretty decent coach. He did right by UAB. And TS has also gone to the dance.

  • Hoosier4life67

    I wonder just how good his son really is? Would love to see him in candy stripes if he has any talent. Mikes kids know what it means to put them candy stripes on that’s for sure.

  • Rantool

    A man of integrity and class! A true role model to his young players! Came into a no win situation and made the best of it! Quick to praise God for his success and a great family man as well! I am so glad he got a standing ovation! Way to show the love Hoosier Nation! That is why we have the best fans in the world! Indiana, we’re all for you!

  • Caleb Moore

    Just about found myself getting choked up seeing him come in and then again after the game. Was the coach at IU during my 4 years there and I remember that run we made very very fondly. Was easily the highlight of my IU basketball experience throughout my life as I only marginally remember 1987. Davis is straight class all the way, no doubt about that. I hope one day one or both of his sons get a chance to play there so he can come back regularly. Missed that smile. I mean lets be honest…….his son is probably better than Priller right now today. hahaha

  • JH Horne

    Based on what I saw last night, he seems to have gotten to be a very good coach. Agreed that he was in over his head here (I still see isolation plays for Bracey in my nightmares) but he has the admirable trait of being humble enough to learn from life’s lessons. That TexSo team I saw last night was a well coached team.

  • IULaw79

    From what i’ve heard he’s a legitimate recruit. Works out with John Lucas in Houston 2x a day i believe is what i read.

  • Aiken_Hoosier

    You watch your blasphemous mouth about Tim Priller!

  • David Macer

    RMK could take a lesson or two from this type of grace !!

  • David Macer

    Don’t bad mouth Shaggy !!!

  • INUnivHoosier

    Most definitely he got thrown into an extremely hot fire that had just gotten a bunch of gasoline poured onto it.

    That was his first head coaching position. It would take someone of extreme talent and experience to step into RMK’s shoes after his voluntary retirement, let alone his dismissal.

    Davis will not go down as one of the all-time greats, but he isn’t a bad coach. He is most definitely a great man.

  • Jonny McClain

    the fact that the guy coaches at Texas Southern and openly expresses that he wants his kid to play in Bloomington says it all…

  • Florida Girl

    Was at the game and it was a really touching moment. They introduced him and announced his accomplishments while coaching for I.U.. I never disliked him, just thought he was in over his head at the time.

  • Dagwoods

    Thinking the same thing.