The Lake Forest College Department of Athletics announced that Ken Davis, the Foresters’ head men’s basketball coach for seven years after serving seven seasons as an assistant, has resigned and plans to retire from coaching. He will be replaced by Ryan Davis, an assistant with the team since 2015.
“After a great deal of reflection over the last couple of years about my personal and professional life, I have decided now is the time to resign from my position here at the College. I have no special plans in mind regarding my professional life and I would like to try seeing how retirement can treat me in this next chapter with my wife of 34 years.”
“While I am sad to see Ken’s time at the College come to an end, I appreciate how difficult this decision was for him and couldn’t be more proud of what the Forester men’s basketball team has accomplished under his watch,” commented Lake Forest College Vice President for Athletics and Career Advancement Jackie Slaats. “Our players’ success, both on and off the court, has been tremendous and the program is in a great place because of his effort and leadership. I wish him the absolute best.”
Davis has led the Foresters to an overall record of 84-74 and the program’s winningest two-, three-, four-, five-, and six-year spans have occurred during his tenure. Lake Forest is 65-43 in Midwest Conference play under his direction and qualified for the each of the last five Midwest Conference Tournaments, easily the longest such streak in team history. The Foresters won the event and advanced to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time in 2019.
At least one player on the team has been named All-MWC in each of Davis’ full seasons as head coach and 17 have been listed among the best in the league during his 14 years on staff.
The Foresters have excelled statistically in numerous categories with Ken and Ryan as a coaching duo. In 2019-20 they ranked 18th out of more than 400 NCAA Division III teams in field goal percentage (.488) and the team has also finished among the national leaders in scoring, three-point field goal percentage, rebound margin, offensive rebounding, fewest turnovers, and fewest fouls.
Lake Forest has been successful in the classroom as well, earning a program record seven Academic All-MWC honors in 2015 and again in 2017. Forester players have been named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court 20 times since Davis took over and Lake Forest has received the NABC Team Academic Excellence Award three of the last five seasons.
“It is amazing to me how fast 14 years has gone by during my time at the College,” explained Ken Davis. “I have been incredibly fortunate to have served as a coach here and have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to be around the student-athletes we have been able to attract to this campus. I’m beyond grateful for the efforts our players have given to this program, along with the campus community as a whole. I would also like to express my appreciation to the administration for supporting me during my time in the program, along with the faculty and staff that we worked hand in hand with over the years.”
Just as Ken Davis spent several seasons as an assistant coach at the College before taking over as head coach, so has Ryan Davis. The Foresters are 74-62 overall and 56-34 in conference play since he joined the staff. Prior to coming to Lake Forest he spent two years as an assistant coach at the University of Chicago Lab School in Chicago, Illinois, where he helped the team win back-to-back Independent School League championships. He also coached at the AAU level with Nike Meanstreets in Chicago.
“There are many responsibilities that come with this position, and I thank Vice President Jackie Slaats, Director of Athletics Jim Catanzaro, and President Stephen Schutt for their confidence in my ability to successfully make this transition,” stated Ryan Davis. “For the past six years, I have had the fortune of working alongside my Dad, who I also call my best friend, and it has been everything I could have ever dreamt of and more. Moving forward, I will continue to work diligently to provide our student-athletes with the necessary tools to be successful here at the College and also when they graduate. I am excited to continue assisting in the development of our student-athletes, recruiting new ones, and leading a program of which we can all be proud.”
“I’m extremely excited for Ryan and the opportunity he has to lead our men’s basketball program,” began Catanzaro. “As someone else who grew up as an assistant coach here at the College before taking over as head coach, I can appreciate the excitement and challenges that are coming and I look forward to helping him navigate them successfully. He will be a great addition to an already excellent group of head coaches in our department.”
The Foresters’ roster includes nine returning players, including two-time First Team All-MWC selection Sean Espinosa, along with a collection of newcomers. They will begin the 2021-22 season on Friday, November 5, at Aurora University.