'It's great to be wanted,' Davis says of new UAB job
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Former Indiana coach Mike Davis took over UAB's basketball program Friday, returning to his home state after a rocky tenure with the Hoosiers.
The 45-year-old Davis, a native of Fayette who played for Alabama, replaces Mike Anderson, who left the Blazers to become coach at Missouri.
Davis announced his resignation from Indiana on Feb. 16, effective at the end of the season. The Hoosiers finished 19-12, losing to Gonzaga in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
"I stepped out on faith a couple of months ago and when this job became available, I waited for the phone call," Davis said at an introductory news conference. "I can't explain to you how excited I am to be back in Alabama and to have an opportunity to lead a basketball program again."
Davis moves from one of college basketball's most high-profile jobs to lead a Blazers program frequently overshadowed by Auburn and Alabama despite on-the-court success.
Davis led Indiana to the 2002 national championship game two seasons after taking over the team following Bob Knight's firing. The only Indiana coach to win 20 games in each of his first three seasons, Davis was 115-79 in six seasons.
But he could never seem to please the Indiana faithful who were upset by the firing of Knight. Davis found his tactics questioned and comments he made publicly were often criticized. Less than two months into his tenure with the Hoosiers, after an embarrassing loss to Kentucky, Davis said he wasn't "the right man for job," a comment that didn't sit well with Indiana fans.
On Friday, Davis was greeted with a standing ovation from the current UAB players and the approximately 100 fans that attended the news conference.
"Walking into this room, it was really unbelievable," he said. "I didn't expect this many people to be here. It's great to be wanted."
The Blazers have made three consecutive NCAA Tournaments underAnderson, reaching the Sweet 16 in 2004 after beating top-seeded Kentucky. They lost to the Wildcats in the opening round of this year's tournament.
UAB interim athletic director Richard Margison also reportedly interviewed Anthony Grant, associate head coach for national champion Florida.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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