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NEW COACH, NEW START

Coach Mike Davis brings record of success, NCAA tourney appearances to Titans

On September 25, 2018

BY BRITTNEY JACKSON / VN SPECIAL WRITER

After the sudden removal of Bacari Alexander as head basketball coach last spring, Detroit Mercy launched a national search for its new men’s coach.

Though the hunt took longer than expected, the Titans landed Mike Davis in June. Davis has already served as head coach elsewhere, earning a combined 352-241 record and .594 winning percentage while at Indiana University (where he succeeded the legendary Bobby Knight), University of Alabama at Birmingham and Texas Southern University.

In Detroit, he quickly began assembling his team.

By Aug. 20, he had signed Harrison Curry, a junior from Louisiana Tech; Antoine Davis, a homeschooled freshman from Alabama (who happens to be his son); Jacob Holland, a graduate student from New Mexico; Willy Isiani, a freshman from Georgia; Tra’Quan Knight, a junior from Shelton junior college in Florida; and Marquis Moore and Boe Nguidjol, a pair of freshmen from Los Angeles.

They will join returning Titans Josh McFolley, Gerald Blackshear and Cole Long.

Davis has a simple message for his players: “Never focus on the outcomes, focus on the process,” he said. “Understand what greatness is because greatness is a craft.”

Davis, 58, was raised in Fayette, Alabama, population 5,000. He has described it as a “small town where all you do is play sports.”

Before becoming a coach, he played at the University of Alabama, collecting honors and putting himself on the all-time boards. He became the first Crimson Tide basketball player to capture the Hustle Award four years straight.

Though drafted in the second round, he never made it to the NBA, ultimately playing overseas.

Once he finished his career as a player, he knew that he wanted to focus his energy on coaching.

To accept the position, he had to leave Texas Southern, where he won the Southwestern Athletic Conference three of the last four seasons. During his tenure there, he took the Tigers to the NCAA tournament four times.

Asked his reasoning for leaving his previous school for Detroit Mercy, Davis said he looked forward to the greater opportunity and the challenge of revitalizing the Titans, who lost more than twenty games in each of their last two seasons.

By the time Davis was brought into the program, several players had already departed.

The rebuilding effort required him to search nationally for additional athletes.

“The effort that they give and the focus that they have (will be beneficial),” he said. “We have some good players, but we have to all work together in order to be a good team.”

Many people wonder what Davis himself will be able to bring to the men’s program.

“It’s about (the team) giving full cooperation,” he said. “It’s getting them to understand it is everyday improvement.”

Davis is looking forward to the upcoming season.

“When March gets here, it’s time for the conference tournament,” he said. “And it’s time for us to be the best team we can be.”

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