Tom, Keno Davis are first father-son coach of the year duo
SAN ANTONIO -- Keno Davis, who capped his first season as a head coach by leading Drake to its first NCAA appearance since 1971, was selected The Associated Press college basketball coach of the year Friday.
The 36-year-old Davis and his father, Tom, whom he succeeded at Drake, are the first father and son to win the national coach of the year award. Tom Davis was at Iowa when he won it in 1987.
Davis, an assistant to his father for four seasons, took a team picked to finish ninth in the Missouri Valley Conference to the league's regular-season and tournament titles and its first national ranking since 1975.
Davis is the second straight first-year head coach -- and second straight son who succeeded his father -- to win the award, following Washington State's Tony Bennett last season. Bill Hodges of Indiana State in 1979 was the only other first-year coach to win the award, and he is the only other coach from the Missouri Valley Conference to have won it.
"I remember seeing this trophy when my father won it and thinking that except for championships there couldn't be anything better to win," Davis said. "I don't want to speak for Tony, but since we were assistants we knew the players, recruited the players and that made the transition easier."
Davis received 29 votes from the 72-member national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. Bo Ryan, who led Wisconsin to the Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles, was second with 14. Bruce Pearl of Tennessee got six votes and John Calipari of Memphis and Matt Painter of Purdue each had five. Davis was an assistant to Pearl at Southern Indiana from 1995-97.
"Bruce Pearl taught me to work hard and at full speed," Davis said.
Drake, which lost four starters from last season's 17-15 team, finished with a school-record 28-5 record this season. With a starting lineup that featured two former walk-ons, including conference player of the year Adam Emmenecker, Drake won a school-record 21 straight games.
The Bulldogs, who were a No. 5 seed in the NCAA tournament, lost 101-99 on an overtime buzzer-beating 3-pointer to Western Kentucky in the first round.
"I was hoping not to hear about that shot again, but this was a season of unselfish players succeeding," Davis said.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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