The University of Detroit Mercy men’s basketball program will have a successful, proven veteran coach to lead the Titans back to championship contention as Mike Davis was named the 22nd head coach in program history on Wednesday, June 13.
Davis will formally be announced at a press conference at 11 a.m. tomorrow (Thursday, June 14) that will be streamed live on ESPN+. Fans can watch the press conference by clicking here. The press conference will take place in the Student Union Building Ballroom on the campus of the University of Detroit Mercy (Entrance off McNichols Road, just east of Livernois Avenue. Parking will be adjacent to the building, Lot B).
“After an extensive search that included multiple high-quality candidates, we are pleased to have Mike Davis join us as our new men’s basketball head coach,” said Detroit Mercy Director of Athletics Robert C. Vowels, Jr. “Mike has achieved great success as a coach and leader of young men, and as an individual, he reflects the values upon which our University is built. I am confident he will help return Titan basketball to a championship level.”
Davis comes to Detroit Mercy from Texas Southern University, where he spent the last six seasons building the Tigers into a perennial power in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) with five postseason tournament appearances, including four NCAA Tournaments. Texas Southern had a team GPA of 3.0 and had four consecutive semesters of a perfect 1000 APR score.
“Mike is a coach of integrity who understands what it takes to lead student athletes in becoming strong leaders on and off the court and most importantly, in the classroom,” said Detroit Mercy President Dr. Antoine Garibaldi. “We are fortunate to have Mike join our University, especially now as our city continues its resurgence and Detroit Mercy makes a deeper, more meaningful impact on our community.”
A high school basketball star in the state of Alabama, Davis played collegiately at the University of Alabama before embarking on a professional career. His coaching resume includes more than 20 years of experience. This includes 18 years of head coaching experience, building a 352-241 record with 14 postseason trips, nine appearances in the NCAA Tournament and guiding Indiana to a national championship runner-up effort in 2002. His squads have recorded at least 20 wins nine times, while posting a winning record in 14 of his 18 campaigns.
“First and foremost, I’d like to thank God for this opportunity,” said coach Davis. “I’d also like to thank the President Dr. Antoine Garibaldi, and Director of Athletics Robert Vowels, Jr. for entrusting me with their men’s basketball program. I am enthusiastic and optimistic about its future. My family and I look forward to getting to know the city of Detroit as well as the students, faculty, administration, alumni, donors and fans.”
In his six seasons at Texas Southern, he posted a 115-89 (.564) record, including an 88-20 mark in conference play. His teams won four regular-season titles and four conference tournament championships advancing to four NCAA Tournaments. In his final season at the helm of TSU, the Tigers won their first-ever NCAA Tournament game defeating North Carolina Central in the First Four.
Under his leadership, five Tigers were named the SWAC Player of the Year, a feat which had never occurred in the league and was the fourth-longest streak in the history of the NCAA.
He started his collegiate head-coaching career at Indiana University from 2000-06 after serving as an assistant coach for three seasons under legendary head coach and Hall-Of-Famer Bobby Knight.
At IU, he compiled a 115-79 record, 55-41 in the Big Ten, and led the Hoosiers to five postseason tournaments, including a run to the NCAA Championship game in 2002. Davis’ teams played some of their best basketball during the postseason tallying a 21-12 record in the month of March and a 7-4 NCAA Tournament mark.
He was named the 25th head coach in Indiana history on Sept. 12, 2000, succeeding Knight, and had the most successful first season of any of his 24 predecessors going 21-13 and finishing fourth in the Big Ten at 10-6. His 21 wins were four more than any other first-year IU head coach. He was also the first coach in Indiana history to open his tenure with three straight 20-plus win seasons and three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances as he directed the Hoosiers to a share of the 2002 Big Ten championship and an appearance in the 2002 national championship game, while also defeating 22 nationally-ranked opponents.
In his second season, the Hoosiers were 25-12 and 11-5 in the Big Ten to share the regular season title. As the No. 5 seed in the South Regional of the NCAA Tournament, IU downed Utah (75-56) and UNC-Wilmington (76-67) to advance to the Sweet 16. The Hoosiers then ousted top-seeded Duke (74-73) and Kent State (81-69) to move into the Final Four.
In the national semifinal, Indiana overcame a halftime deficit to move past the West Regional’s No. 2 seed Oklahoma, 73-64, before falling to the East Regional’s No. 1 seed Maryland, 64-52, in the title contest.
Prior to being named head coach Davis had already contributed significantly to the Indiana program. He spent the previous three seasons as an assistant coach with the Hoosiers. His successful recruitment of several of the country’s top prep players earned him national recognition at Indiana.
In addition to his recruiting success, he was instrumental in the development of several players including A.J. Guyton, the Big Ten’s Most Valuable Player in 2000, Kirk Haston, a first-round NBA selection in 2001, and 2002 Big Ten MVP and consensus second-team All-American Jared Jeffries, who was the 11th overall pick of the 2002 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards.
In Davis’ three seasons as an IU assistant, the Hoosiers compiled a 63-32 overall record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament all three seasons.
After Indiana, Davis was named the head coach at the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB), where he led the Blazers to 122-72 (.629) overall record with a 62-34 mark in Conference USA during his six years (2006-12).
Davis also led his teams to success off the court and in the classroom as the team had four consecutive semesters of a perfect 1000 APR score.
Davis had a highly successful season at UAB in 2010-11 leading the Blazers to the program’s first-ever Conference USA regular season title. In doing so, he was named the 2011 Conference USA Coach of the Year, while also earning NABC All-District Coach of the Year accolades.
In 2010-11, Davis also guided the Blazers to an NCAA Tournament at-large berth with a record of 22-9 and a 12-4 mark in league play. UAB earned at least 20 victories in the regular season in four-straight years during Davis’ tenure (2007-2012), marking the first time that feat had been in achieved in program history. The Blazers also won at least 11 conference games in each of those seasons.
Under Davis, the program clinched four consecutive postseason berths (three NITs and one NCAA Tournament). Davis subsequently etched his name in the record books as he became only the second coach in UAB history to reach 90 wins in a four-year span. The only other coach in program history to accomplish the feat was Hall of Famer Gene Bartow, who reached the pinnacle with a school-record 94 victories from 1983-87.
“Our vision in the Horizon League is to be a nationally recognized NCAA Division I conference that develops student-athletes to their fullest potential,” said Jon LeCrone, Horizon League Commissioner. “Mike is a proven winner and brings the knowledge, skill and values that our League embraces.”
He started coaching at Miles College as an assistant in 1989-90 and then moved to Venezuela to work with the country’s national and professional teams. He arrived back in the states to coach in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) with the Wichita Falls franchise that eventually relocated to Chicago. Davis moved with the team not only as an assistant coach, but also as a player. Despite not playing professional basketball for five years, Davis averaged 8.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per contest in 1994-95.
Davis was then an assistant coach at his alma mater from 1995-97 under David Hobbs at Alabama before taking the assistant coaching job at Indiana. The 1995-96 Crimson Tide basketball team posted a 23-10 record and advanced to the NIT Final Four.
Davis spent his collegiate-playing career with the Tide after earning the state’s Mr. Basketball honor and All-America status in 1979. He was a standout for four seasons at Alabama and finished his career in the Top 25 on the Crimson Tide’s all-time scoring list with 1,211 points. In his first season, he played for the legendary C.M. Newton and then spent his final three years playing under another coaching legend, Wimp Sanderson.
Davis averaged 10.1 points per game for his collegiate career and ranks third all-time on the school’s steals list with 165. During his four seasons at Alabama, the Crimson Tide posted an 80-42 record and advanced to two NIT and two NCAA Tournaments.
Davis is married to Tamilya Davis and the couple has one son, Antoine. Davis is also the father of Mike Davis Jr., who was a member of the Indiana and UAB men’s basketball team that he coached and was an assistant with him at Texas Southern, and he also has one daughter, Lateesha.