Drake's Davis Entering The Big Time Now

By Josh Herwitt - April 15, 2008

It's amazing how much one year can change things.

If you're Keno Davis, it's certainly come much quicker than you might have expected.

Just one season after leading Drake to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1971, a school-record 28-5 record and its first national ranking in 33 years, the 2008 AP Coach of the Year is headed to the Big East to take over Providence for Tim Welsh, who was fired last month after failing to take the Friars to more than two NCAA Tournament appearances in 10 seasons.

Providence athletic director Bob Driscoll took a hard look at George Mason's Jim Larranaga and Massachusetts' Travis Ford, but when Larranaga, a Providence alum, and Ford turned down offers, he turned to Davis as his next man in line to take over a program that finished with losing records in three of the last four seasons.

"I believe Keno Davis has the knowledge, passion, commitment and ability to bring Providence College basketball to another level," Driscoll said.

This past season, Providence was hurt by the injury starting point guard Sharaud Curry suffered, finishing 6-12 in the Big East and 15-16 overall.

Davis originally got the Drake job after succeeding his father, Tom Davis, as head coach in March 2007.

And despite inheriting a team that was picked to finish ninth in the Missouri Valley Conference, Davis guided the Bulldogs to a 16-1 start, a national ranking in January and then a huge upset over then-No. 8 Butler. On what proved to be one of the most exciting moments of this year's NCAA Tournament, the Bulldogs ended their season in the first round to Western Kentucky, 101-99, in overtime on a buzzer-beating three-pointer.

Keno and Tom, nevertheless, are the first and the only father and son to be awarded national coach of the year, and that certainly speaks for itself when it comes to talking about coaching ability in the Davis family.

Posted by Josh Herwitt at 01:54 PM on April 15, 2008

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