CMU passes on Steve Schmidt once again, hires Keno Davis

Posted: April 2, 2012 by Jared Field in JUCO

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.

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Comments
  1. Dee says:

    I agree 100% the job should have gone to Schmidt.I can’t understand why AD’s just recycle the same coaches and never offer the chance to excellent asst and lower level coaches

    • Jared Field says:

      Lack of creativity. If I’m the president of a university like CMU, I’m going to hire a competent AD who does not need to hire a search firm to do his job for him.

  2. Freddie McCoy says:

    CMU made another big mistake which prove the politics of college basketball reared it ugly head. Kim, is very wrong on his assessment that CMU hired the best man for the job. Davis only had one successful season at Drake and when he move to the big time at Providence, he failed something awful for three season, lost top recruit year after year and Providence decide to cut their losses by firing him even though he had five years left off his contract. Now his father, Tom Davis was a great coach. Schmidt would have been a great choice along with his great recruiting skills but you can’t beat the politics of a certain program and Schmidt don’t have those votes of the top guys at CMU such as Kim Thompson who don’t mind mediocrity for the program. Who knows, Davis might succeeds at a Mid-Div 1 school but damn, they should have gave Schmidt a chance to prove himself and reward him for his success.

  3. Freddie McCoy says:

    and I did the research on Keno Davis which is on point and dare someone to prove me wrong.

    • Jared Field says:

      You don’t have to dig too deep into Keno’s recent past to find some very serious shortcomings. I think that is why so many people are shocked that CMU picked up a guy Providence paid big bucks to leave.

  4. CMU Supporter says:

    I don’t understand the logic Heeke used to conclude a washed out coach turned TV commentator was the best man for the job. I believe it’s time for Heeke to start looking for a new Job. We need CMU guys back in to begin to rehabilitate the football and basketball programs that he has devastated during his tenure.

    • Jared Field says:

      If this goes bad, like it did in Providence, at least Heeke can say that it was the search firm who brought him this “best candidate” for the position.

  5. hoopsguru says:

    Also that Drake team that was so successful was his Dad’s team which was given to him. He did not recruit that team

  6. Tank5252 says:

    Another mistake by the athletic department.

  7. HoopsFan1 says:

    Absolute shame. What does Coach Schmidt have to do to prove that he’s a great coach and deserves a chance to coach D1? I hope Coach uses this snub as fuel for a run at his 5th National Championship next year.

  8. APCoggins says:

    Mediocrity breeds mediocrity. CMU had a chance go “outside the box” and blew it. I hope they enjoy the string of 11-15 win seasons they are about to have.

  9. This is ridiculous. What I hope is coach Schmidt goes to some other program and schedules CMU every year just to prove his point. CMU has a propensity to look at a name and hope for the best…and hope in and of itself is a poor gameplan.

  10. Willie D Walton,jr says:

    Coach you can do better than CMU anyway!

  11. I’ve watched Coach for a while up close and he is the best at what he does. But here is a truth that most ADs will not tell you. Most do not respect this level of basketball. For whatever reason, they will never seriously consider a JUCO coach even one as successful as Steve because he is JUCO. I believe basketball is basketball. If you can coach you can coach. But unfortunately, ADs, even at the mid major level will not pull the trigger on something like this. They would rather take the safe route with coaches would have failed before rather than think outside the box. When was the last time you heard of a JUCO head coach getting a NCAA job?

  12. hoopsguru says:

    D1 athletics is big biz – that’s why AD’s do not take many chances when it comes to hiring a coach and it is also the same reason why coaches take so many chances on kids with character flaws

    • Jared Field says:

      I’d say they are taking a chance with Davis, given the state of the program at Providence when they paid him to leave.

      • hoopsguru says:

        very valid statement. They are definitely taking a chance with him. Something really seems srange to me – especially with Schmidt being the runner up when they picked Zeigler. AD has beeb getting ripped lately though because of football coach Enos

  13. […] CMU passes on Steve Schmidt once again, hires Keno Davis […]

  14. […] CMU passes on Steve Schmidt once again, hires Keno Davis […]

  15. Jody says:

    It’s obvious that CMU is more interested in doing things the politically correct way instead of the right way. Steve is the logical and correct choice. A national search committee wow. Anyone with limited sports knowledge can see that Steve is the proper choice for the job. I guess the question is, “what was the criteria used in choosing the new coach? It’s the problem in sports today. Ulterior motives, national search committees, networking, and other factors that have nothing to do with winning have taken over. We have lost our minds. Best of luck CMU.

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