ESPN.com is reporting that Central Michigan University has hired the former coach of Providence College, Keno Davis, as the successor to recently-fired head coach Ernie Zeigler.
Many basketball fans in Michigan thought this was CMU’s opportunity to do what should have been done in 2006 when Mott Community College head coach Steve Schmidt was a finalist for the job that ultimately went to Zeigler. Since he was last a finalist, Schmidt has won three (four total) national championships at the JUCO level and has turned Mott into one of the winningest programs in the history of junior college basketball.
Davis worked as analyst for the Big Ten Network this past season one year removed from being dismissed by Providence College after several mediocre seasons, including a .333 winning percentage in the Big East. Davis’ claim to fame is his 2008 Missouri Valley Conference championship and entry into the NCAA tournament. He caught lightning in a bottle for one season and has now parlayed that magical season into two head coaching jobs.
I’m not going to beat around the bush on the hire, though I cannot pretend to know all the factors that led to CMU once again passing over one of their most successful alums. That being said, on the surface this wreaks of a total lack of creativity on the part of Central Michigan Athletic Director Dave Heeke. Did Heeke really need to secure the services of a search firm in order to hire the biggest-name unemployed coach?
Why not get a coach who wants the CMU job, not the coach who wants ANY job? CMU’s basketball program has been mired in mediocrity for decades; I’m not sure Keno Davis backing in to their top job is the answer. In my opinion CMU needed to make a statement this time around. Sadly, this hire just screams status quo; and at CMU the status quo is mediocrity.