Davis, 64, is the most high-profile coach to be in the Drake job since the late Maury John was there from 1959-1971. John took the 1969-70 Bulldogs to the NCAA Final Four, where they nearly upset eventual national champion UCLA and finished third.Davis, who has continued to make his home in Iowa City since being pressured out as Drake's coach following the 1998-1999 season—a year that saw him have a 20-10 record--was meeting with Drake's players this evening.
Rumors began circulating around the Drake campus this afternoon that the new coach would be Pat Knight, the son of former Indiana coach and present Texas Tech coach Bobby Knight.
"Don't believe any rumor you hear that the new coach is Pat Knight," my source said. "It's Davis. I felt six weeks ago that if Davis still had some fire in his belly, he'd be a great choice for Drake." Davis had a 269-140 record from 1987-1999 at Iowa. His teams were 125-105 in the Big Ten Conference.
Davis will succeed Kurt Kanaskie, who had seven consecutive losing seasons. The Bulldogs were 10-20 in 2002-2003. Drake hasn't had a winning season since Gary Garner's 1986-87 team went 17-14.
The decision by Drake athletic director Dave Blank and other school officials is considered a good one because the university badly needs someone with a reputation for winning to turn the Bulldogs' program around.
Davis' teams are known for their pressure defenses and high-octane offenses. Davis' final Iowa team went 20-10 in 1998-99. He was replaced by Steve Alford the following season.
Many Hawkeye fans felt Davis got a raw deal by, in effect, being pressured out of the job so that Iowa could go after a younger coach. Taking the Drake job gives Davis the opportunity to once again prove himself.
Davis' last five Iowa teams each won at least 20 games. His record in 1995 was 21-12, in 1996 it was 23-9, in 1997 it was 22-10, in 1998 it was 20-11 and in 1999 it was 20-10. Davis' best record at Iowa was 30-5 in his inaugural season of 1986-87.