Mike Davis hasn't resigned his position as IU's head coach, but he certainly sounds like a man who's resigned to the fact that his future doesn't involve Bloomington.
The embattled Hoosier coach spoke on Monday's Big Ten Teleconference and addressed much of the criticism he's faced in recent weeks. With Indiana (13-8/5-5) having lost five out of six, the sixth-year Hoosier coach has been getting some of his most pointed criticism of his stormy career at IU.
There have been rumors circulating about what will happen at season's end, but Davis talks like a coach who has very little doubt that he won't be back next season. He laughed off a question about where he'd like to see the Big Ten Tournament held after this year, saying, "Well, it doesn't really matter to me."
In fact, Davis went as far as to talk about the sort of coach that the Indiana program needs.
"I just think Indiana needs to have one of their own," Davis said. "They need to have someone who has played here, so they can embrace him. And they need that. I'm not upset about it, I'm not disappointed about it. I think they need that, I really do.
"These players deserve better."
The logical inference to be drawn is that Davis is suggesting current Iowa head coach Steve Alford, the former IU All-American whose Hawkeye team is 8-3 and in first-place in the Big Ten and 19-6 overall. Iowa solidified its Big Ten frontrunner status with a 70-67 win over Indiana in Bloomington on Saturday, a game that Davis didn't attend because of flu-like symptoms.
Alford has steered clear of publicly discussing any interest he might have in the IU job, but he did admit that he sympathizes with the situation that Davis finds himself in with a large segment of the IU fan base.
"I don't think it's ever a good thing when players or coaches get booed by the home crowd," said Alford. "But obviously whether it's Mike or myself, or whoever it may be, you never like to see those type of things as far as negative responses to a colleague."
Davis admits that the unending criticism that he's faced has taken a toll on himself and his teams, both past and present. While it's reached its peak in the last two weeks, he contends there have been constant rumblings ever since he was named IU's interim coach in the fall of 2000.
"It's incredible that my job has been discussed for six years," said Davis. "Every year, it's ‘will he be here next year?'"
The Hoosier coach also doesn't necessarily think that the reasons behind the criticism is entirely about the team's struggles during the last three years in particular.
"Indiana hasn't won a Big Ten championship since 2002, and I won that," said Davis. "Before that, it was 1992 (editor's note – it was actually 1993). So that was 10 years, since they won anything. And it's been the same old me since '02, as it is today.
"So the expectations is definitely not it… this expectation thing, when you're one game out of first and ranked, it doesn't add up to me. If it makes sense to anyone else then I hope they can explain it to me."
Ultimately, Davis said the ones that pay the biggest price is the players.
"These players deserve better. It's like I said before, it's going to affect…the people involved. They want our guys to play through it, but how can they?"
"I can't explain how hard it is to get these guys going. They want to go. They want to play so bad. But does it make sense? These guys should really enjoy their college career because this is the time they are going to remember. I don't know if I've had a team that's had positive memories out of this whole deal since I've been here."
Davis Sounds Resigned To His Fate
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