Mike Davis was named the head coach of the Indiana men's basketball program today, ending an emotional seven months that began with Bob Knight's firing and ended with incessant speculation over Davis' ability to carry the storied program into the future.
After two days of deliberations and a morning filled with contract negotiations, Indiana University President Myles Brand upgraded Davis from interim coach to head coach of the Hoosiers, giving him a four-year contract.
"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 during a news conference at Assembly Hall. "This season has revealed the character of Mike Davis. He and the team have represented the university very well indeed."
Many Changes for Hoosiers
Davis took over the Hoosiers on Sept. 12, two days after Brand fired Knight, the Hall of Fame coach who spent 29 seasons at Indiana.
Even then 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 school-record 661 games and three national championships.
Davis also had to contend with the moniker of interim coach, which brought on a constant flurry of questions after every victory and every loss.
He was held under a microscope as he made changes to Indiana basketball. The team's pre-season midnight practice had a notably different atmosphere, including slam-dunk and three-point shooting contests. Davis also included the Indiana women's basketball team in the festivities.
The team even changed its shoes, moving from Converse to Nike.
New Direction for Program
But with all these changes and all the questions that surrounded his interim title, Davis did better than most expected, leading the Hoosiers to a 23-11 record and a second-place finish in the Big Ten tournament.
After the Hoosiers lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Kent State, Davis thought his fate was still in jeopardy. But apparently the job he did was enough to convince the university that he's the person to take the program out of the Bob Knight era.
"I plan to take this basketball team to the next level," Davis said following the announcement. "I won't disappoint you with my coaching ability or my behavior off the court."
Knight, who is being wooed to succeed fired Texas Tech men's basketball coach James Dickey, was fired last fall after he grabbed a student he considered disrespectful for addressing him by saying, "Hey, Knight." Indiana University officials said it was a violation of a zero-tolerance behavior policy set for the volatile coach.
Knight, 60, spent three days last week on the Texas Tech campus and said he finds the situation "very appealing."
Davis said he has not spoken with Knight about being named the Hoosiers coach.