ST. LOUIS (USBWA) – First-year Drake University Coach
Keno Davis, who guided the Bulldogs to the school's first
NCAA tournament berth and first Missouri Valley Conference championship
in 37 years, has been selected winner of the Henry Iba Coach
of the Year Award by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.
Davis, 36, engineered Drake to a surprise regular season MVC
championship, its first since 1971, and the school's first-ever
MVC tournament championship.
Drake won 21 straight games at one point, en route to a school-record
28-4 record entering the NCAA tournament. The Bulldogs were nationally-ranked
for eight straight weeks in both the AP and USA Today/ESPN Coaches
polls during the regular season.
Drake enters NCAA tournament play this week as a No. 5 seed in
the NCAA West Region and plays No. 12 Western Kentucky Friday in
Davis, who succeeded his father, Dr. Tom Davis, as head coach
of the Bulldogs this season, inherited a team that lost four starters
from a year ago and was picked to finish ninth in the 10-team Missouri
Valley. The Bulldogs became the lowest pre-season pick ever to
win the league title.
The Henry Iba Award for Davis marks the first time a Drake basketball
coach has been named national coach of the year since coaching legend
Maury John was honored in 1969 by the USBWA.
Before taking over for his father at Drake, Davis had served
as an assistant at Drake since May 2003. He also spent six years
as an assistant to former Drake head coach Gary Garner at Southeast
Missouri State and as an assistant under Bruce Pearl at Southern
Davis will receive the Henry Iba Award at the USBWA's College
Basketball Awards breakfast held in conjunction with the NCAA Final
Four in San Antonio on Friday, April 4, at Sunset Depot starting
at 8 a.m.
The USBWA coach of the year award is named in honor of the legendary
Henry Iba, who led Oklahoma A&M to national championships in 1945
and '46. It has been presented since the 1958-59 season.
The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956 at
the urging of then-NCAA Executive Director Walter Byers. Today,
it is one of the most influential organizations in college basketball.
For more information on the USBWA and its awards, contact executive
director Joe Mitch at 314-421-0339.
• Henry Iba Coach of the Year