Thursday, March 22, 2001

Indiana sticks with Davis




The Associated Press

        BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Mike Davis will keep his job as Indiana basketball coach, with the school dropping the “interim” tag.

        President Myles Brand, who fired Bob Knight in September, made the announcement Wednesday after two days of deliberations and a morning filled with contract negotiations.

        “We don't name basketball coaches very often around here, and when we do, we make sure that we make the right choice,” Brand said. “This season has revealed the character of Mike Davis. He and the team have represented the university very well indeed.”

        Davis, an assistant to Knight, went 21-13 in his first season and took the Hoosiers to the NCAA Tournament, where they lost in the first round to Kent State.

        Davis' contract guarantees him at least $400,000 a year, more than twice what Knight earned.

        Vice president Terry Clapacs, one of seven members on the committee that decided Davis' fate, said no other candidates were contacted.

        “Our decision was to make Coach Davis the permanent coach or whether we should open a national search,” Clapacs said.

        Davis took over the Hoosiers Sept.12, two days after Brand fired Knight, who spent 29 seasons at Indiana.

        Davis knew he faced a daunting task. He began his first head coaching job with a team that had only two returning starters, three juniors and no seniors, while trying to replace a Hall of Fame coach who won a 661 games and three national championships.

        He was under a microscope as he made changes. The team's preseason midnight practice had a different atmosphere, including slam-dunk and 3-point shooting contests. Davis also included the women's team in the festivities.

        But after the Hoosiers lost to Kent State, Davis thought his fate was still in jeopardy. But the job he did was enough to convince the university that he's the person to lead the program.

        “This is not your ordinary basketball program,” Clapacs said. “The decision that had to be made was who could lead keep the program at that level. The decision ended up being an easy one.”

        Davis is eager to keep the program on track.

        “I plan to take this team to the next level,” he said. “I won't disappoint you with my coaching ability or my behavior off the court.”

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