Drake University has turned to Dr. Tom Davis to try and turn around its ailing mens’ basketball program.Tom Davis was the winningest men’s basketball coach in University of Iowa history, but was forced out after the 1998-99 season when his contract wasn’t renewed. Four years after the last of his 269 Hawkeye victories, he was welcomed with open arms as the next head coach at Drake — a program that hasn’t had a winning season since 1987. Davis was given a standing ovation as he walked into the news conference announcing his new job. Drake Athletic Director Dave Blank says Davis fit the goals they had for a coach. He says they wanted someone comitted to the profession and the sport of basketball. Blank says he’s impressed that Davis considers himself a teacher first and then a coach.Blank says they wanted a coach that would bring national exposure to their athletes, and says Davis brings that credability and national attention. Davis will replace Kurt Kanaskie, who resigned as Bulldog coach two weeks ago after seven sesasons at the helm. He received a standing ovation as he enter the auditorium to be introduced as Drake’s new coach. Davis says he made a quick decision to take the Drake job after hearing from Blank and discussing the move with his family.He says the fond memories of his last year at Iowa, which included a trip to the NCAA Tournament, left him with a desire to return. Davis says he believes in college sports, but he says things have to be done “the right way.” Davis says he doesn’t come into the job with unrealistic expections, and knows it’ll take a lot of work. Davis says he’ll need a committment from the academic community, the players and the Des Moines community to turn the program around. Davis says he doesn’t expect it to be tough to get back into coaching, as he says not much has changed, and he’s kept his hand in coaching by consulting with some teams.Drake has fallen to Iowa in basketball the past few years in close ballgames, and Davis was asked if this would finally be the year they beat the Hawkeyes. He drew laughs when he asked what sport the reporter was talking about. He says it’ll be a fun game when he meets his old team for the first time in Iowa City, but he says you never know what will happen. Davis begins another chapter in his 28 year career as a head coach that includes stops at Stanford, Boston College and Lafayette.
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