UC associate head coach did an exceptional job filling in the big shoes of Mick Cronin this year. In the end, the Bearcats went 23-11 and finished in 3rd place in the AAC with a conference record of 13-5. After Cronin was sidelined for health concerns, Davis stepped right up and was responsible for a 16-9 record and an NCAA tournament win over Purdue.
Did UC win the regular season or conference tourney? No. Did they advance to the Sweet 16? No. But let’s face it the Cats overachieved by any standard this year. Returning just Jermaine Sanders and Shaq Thomas from last year (neither of whom were starters or statistical beasts), this super young team earned a solid A for effort and performance. In fact, they went one game farther in the tournament than the SK and Justin Jackson led team from last year!
One thing about 58-year old Davis is his brutal honesty. While wearing his traditional sweatpants jumpsuit during weekly media availability, he will answer your questions and let you know what he thinks, whether it’s on topic or even off topic such as our questions on deflate gate and Twitter. He even made me look like a fool when asking whether playing at home would be a huge advantage in rematching UConn, pulling out the home game stats and essentially saying “duh.”
In keeping with his honesty, during the Kentucky postgame conference we attended, Davis wasted no time answering questions about where he will be next year. “If something really good comes along, I’ll have to look at it. But I’ll be just as happy sitting next to Mick next year because we’re going to have a great team coming back. I’m not looking to run out of Cincinnati to be a head coach just anyplace. If there’s an opportunity where you can win and it makes sense financially for me, I’ll have to look at it. That doesn’t mean I’ll take it. I’ll be happy coming back and helping coach next year beside my buddy. I’ll be eating club sandwiches while he’s worrying and sweating over there.”
Could you imagine a similar response from a college football coach? Yeah right! Hats off to Davis for the honest, logical, and correct response.
Let’s cut to the chase, Davis essentially had a 25-game job interview this year. How will he do as your new head coach? Just watch the game tape this year. He will bring the same defensive tenacity and ball protection scheme as Mick Cronin. How much credit does Cronin deserve for “consulting” the team from home? Who knows. Davis still had to coach at practice and during games and make important and strategic calls during live games. He demonstrated he is more than capable of running the ship.
This isn’t his first rodeo. Davis has over 25 years of coaching experience. He was previously the head coach at Furman for 9 seasons, going 124-139. He has also been Cronin’s right hand man during Cronin’s entire tenure at UC.
Will Davis leave to make a name for himself? This isn’t college football. Basketball coaches actually get a few seasons to try out their schemes. He won’t have his pick of the litter. Will the right job open up? So far, no.
Does he have a dream job in mind? Notre Dame is to Brian Kelly as __________ is to Larry Davis. I have no clue.
Will he stay with his best friend and fellow bald man in Clifton? You have to think he has a nearly unbreakable bond with Cronin and realizes their job here is far from over. This team will make the NCAA tournament next year and can certainly win the AAC. Just imagine how close Davis and his players became with Cronin out. Further, Cronin’s health issues caused from head coaching certainly showed Davis what can happen if he mans the ship somewhere else. This is downright scary to think about.
We will have to wait and see. Either way, the future of Davis and the future of the Bearcats will both be bright next season!
By Andy Smith