How Kermit Davis resurrected his basketball coaching career. Must-read article with NIKE Clinic Notes included!

kermit davis basketball

Written by Coach Peterman

I have coached at the NCAA Division 2 (Southwestern Oklahoma State University), NAIA (USAO), and JUCO Levels (Blinn College and Carl Albert State College) as well as high school. I just felt that fellow coaches especially young coaches need to constantly work on their “game”. Just like the basketball players that we coach. We as coaches need to improve ourselves. That is my story and why I do this blog.

July 8, 2017

Kermit Davis Basketball Coach resurrects his career after being connected with Syracuse University NCAA issues in the 90’s.

Kermit Davis Basketball Coach knows that he has made some mistakes in his job that almost killed his coaching career and wound up putting two programs on NCAA probation. Coach Kermit Davis led his Blue Raiders against the Syracuse Orange in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament. The Blue Raiders were everyone’s media darling after they beat Michigan State in the first round with a 90-81 win.

The Syracuse game is a reminder of one of his darkest moments in his coaching career. In 1990, Coach Kermit Davis was one of the up and coming basketball coaches in the country at the age of 30. He was the head men’s basketball coach at Texas A&M and had just finished a two-year stretch at Idaho that had them winning 50 games with just 12 losses. Coach Davis took Idaho to two NCAA Tournament appearances which never happens there.

Right before Coach Davis got to Texas A&M, he met an NYC street agent named Rob Johnson. Johnson was controlling the transfer of Syracuse player Tony Scott. The Syracuse Post-Standard was looking into possible NCAA violations with Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse Program. That information led him to Kermit Davis.

The Syracuse Post-Standard found telephone records that had Johnson linked to Kermit Davis and his Texas A&M coaches as being an improper representative of the Syracuse basketball program. Johnson had them in contact with former SU player, Conrad McRae, Tony Scott, and other players too.

The NCAA investigators found that Texas A&M had improper contact and gave them two years probation, one-year NCAA tournament ban, and scholarship / recruiting restrictions. It was another example of a big program doing something wrong, so the NCAA slapped the little program carefully.

Kermit Davis Basketball Coach had to resign after his only one season at Texas A&M. It was his one big coaching break, and it only lasted one season. He was a rising star in the basketball coaching profession, and now he was an outcast.

It was 30 years ago that he got the job at Texas A&M and he made some real mistakes. It changed his life and his coaching career almost ended in College Station, Texas.

Click on the pdf link to download the Kermit Davis Basketball Coach – 2017 Nike Clinic Notes:

2017 Nike Clinic Notes

Learn how he resurrected his basketball coaching career!

He started it over in a little town in Florida, Marianna which had 9000 population. It’s located in the panhandle where Florida, Alabama, and Georgia touch. Davis took an assistant job at Chipola Junior College. Davis was an assistant coach for two years and then got promoted to head coach where they went 27-5. He got hired as an assistant coach at Utah State. A couple of years later, Idaho gave him another chance to be their head coach.

Kermit Davis Basketball Coach spent one year at Idaho and then joined John Brady at LSU as an assistant coach. LSU is in the SEC and his father Kermit Davis Sr had been the head coach at Mississippi State for seven years when he was a youngster. It was a great move for him to be with a close friend at LSU. Coach Davis was an assistant coach for John Brady for five years and then got the associate head coach role. He had never been able to get another head coaching job in the NCAA, except at Idaho, because of the Texas A&M scandal.

Middle Tennessee came open in 2002, and they had an opening for head coach. Coach Davis tried to contact the Athletic Director / legendary football coach, Boots Donnelly. Coach Donnelly won’t call him back. Coach Davis had a friend that was the football coach at Louisville, John Smith. They had known each other for several years. Coach Smith called Kermit Davis to see if he would like to get involved in the MTSU job. Coach Davis said that the athletic director wouldn’t call him back.

Coach Smith got off the phone with Coach Davis, and five minutes later, Boots Donnelly was calling Coach Davis. They met each other at the Final Four in Atlanta. They both connected well. Both coaches were old school, and Donnelly liked Davis. Coach Donnelly was never about his past and the stigma of hiring a coach with a NCAA history. Donnelly called Joe Biddle, Nashville sports columnist, to gauge what the media would think of the Davis hire.

Biddle knew Kermit Davis’ history and his family in college basketball. Biddle told Donnelly that he should hire him and not worry. He said that if Kermit jaywalked that the NCAA would bury him and that Kermit Davis would be the cleanest hire that he could make.

Boots Donnelly hired Davis, and it was one of the best hires in the history of the school. Davis has to lead the Blue Raiders to 12 winning seasons in his 14 years there. Davis got the Coach of the Year award in the Sun Belt Conference his first year and received it two more times in 2012 and 2013.

This year was the second trip to the NCAA Tournament in the Kermit Davis Basketball Coach era. Kermit Davis Basketball Coach could have had his career end in 1991 in College Station. He built his career back up from the bottom and learned all the way in his journey.

His trouble with the NCAA taught him to be a better person and a lot better coach, because of it.

What is next for the Middle Tennesse Blue Raider program?

The men’s basketball program has been on the upswing over the past two years. They have won two Conference USA tournament championships, Regular Season Title, and two HUGE wins over Big Ten schools. Coach Kermit Davis is making this program go national now.

In 2016, They were the 15th seed in the NCAA Tournament and played Michigan State Spartans that had Denzel Valentine. Most media types thought that the Spartans should have been a one seed. The Blue Raiders were an 18 point underdog in the game. At one time, Tom Izzo called a timeout, the Blue Raiders were perfect from the floor and had a 15-2 lead on Michigan State. The Spartans cut the lead down but never came back, and Middle Tennessee shocked the world with a 90-81 win which was one of the biggest upsets in the NCAA Tournament.

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