Detroit Mercy hires NCAA Tournament-tested Mike Davis as men’s head basketball coach

June 14, 2018

Detroit Mercy men's basketball coach Mike Davis speaks at his introductory press conference.The University of Detroit Mercy men’s basketball program welcomes a successful and veteran coach to lead the Titans back to championship contention as Mike Davis was named the 22nd head coach in program history.

“First and foremost, I’d like to thank God for this opportunity.  I’d also like to thank the President, Dr. Antoine Garibaldi and Athletics Director, Robert Vowels, Jr. of Detroit Mercy for entrusting me with their men’s basketball program,” Davis said. 

“I am enthusiastic and optimistic about its future. My family and I look forward to getting to know the city of Detroit as well as the students, faculty, administration, alumni, donors and fans,” he added.

Vowels, director of Athletics at Detroit Mercy, said that the hiring of Davis gives the men’s basketball team a proven coach who works well with student athletes and has big-game experience. 

“We are pleased to have Mike Davis join us as our new men’s basketball head coach,” he said. “Mike has achieved great success as a coach and leader of young men, and as an individual, he reflects the values upon which our University is built. I am confident he will help return Titan basketball to a championship level.”

Detroit Mercy President Dr. Antoine M. Garibaldi said that with Coach Davis’s experience, he will be a strong representative of the University’s Jesuit and Mercy mission and attract players from around the country.

“Coach Davis has not only proven that he can win on the basketball court, but he has also demonstrated that his players can excel in the classroom, as demonstrated by his team GPA of 3.0, four consecutive semesters of a perfect 1000 Academic Progress Rate and graduation of 18 of 20 players over his last six years at his previous institution. I am confident that his motivation and inspiration will energize the entire university and the city of Detroit,” Garibaldi said.

The hiring of Davis is yet another major milestone for Detroit Mercy over the past two years. In 2017, the University reported a third consecutive year of increased enrollment for new students with more than 5,100 students attending classes at all three campuses. In addition, Detroit Mercy was ranked in the top tier of Midwest Best Regional Universities in the 2018 edition of the U.S. News & World Report's "Best Colleges." Detroit Mercy was ranked #19 and is the only school in the state to crack the top 20. In October 2017, the University, The Live6 Alliance, Kresge Foundation and City of Detroit broke ground on the Ella Fitzgerald Park and Live6’s headquarters, HomeBase, which will help spur business and community development efforts in Northwest Detroit.

The University also announced the public phase of a $100 million campaign in late October, with more than $87 million raised to date. And in late November 2017, the University launched the Assure Your Boundless Future Tuition Reset, which reset tuition from $42,000 to $28,000 and puts a Detroit Mercy education in reach of students and families who did not previously consider the University in their college plans. 

Davis comes to Detroit Mercy from Texas Southern University (TSU), where he spent the last six seasons building the Tigers into a perennial power in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) with five postseason tournament appearances, including four NCAA bids. 

A high school basketball star in the state of Alabama, Davis played collegiate basketball for the University of Alabama before embarking on a professional career. His coaching resume includes more than 20 years of experience in coaching. This includes 18 years of head coaching experience as he amassed a 352-241 record with 14 postseason trips, nine appearances in the NCAA Tournament and guiding Indiana to a national championship runner-up effort. His squads have recorded at least 20 wins nine times, while posting a winning record in 14 of his 18 campaigns. 

In his six seasons at Texas Southern, he posted a 115-89 (.564) record, including an 88-20 mark in conference play. His teams won four regular-season titles, four conference tournament championships and advanced to four NCAA Tournaments. In his final season at the helm of TSU, the Tigers won their first-ever NCAA Tournament game as they defeated North Carolina Central in the First Four. 

He started his collegiate head-coaching career at Indiana University from 2000-06 after serving as an assistant coach for three seasons and following in the footsteps of hall of famer Bobby Knight. At IU, he compiled a 115-79 record, 55-41 in the Big Ten, and led the Hoosiers to five postseason tournaments, including a run to the NCAA Championship game in 2002. Davis’ teams played some of their best basketball during the postseason tallying a 21-12 record in the month of March and a 7-4 NCAA Tournament mark.

During his time at IU, he was instrumental in recruiting some of the nation’s best high school basketball players, as well as developing several players. They include A.J. Guyton, the Big Ten's Most Valuable Player in 2000; Kirk Haston, a first-round NBA selection in 2001; and 2002 Big Ten MVP and consensus second-team All-American Jared Jeffries, who was the 11th overall pick of the 2002 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards.

After Indiana, Davis was named the head coach at the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB), where he led the Blazers to 122-72 (.629) overall record with a 62-34 mark in Conference USA during his six years (2006-12). Davis had a highly successful season at UAB in 2010-11 leading the Blazers to the program's first-ever Conference USA regular season title. In doing so, he was named the 2011 Conference USA Coach of the Year, while also earning NABC All-District Coach of the Year accolades.

Davis also led his teams to success off the court and in the classroom as the team had four consecutive semesters of a perfect 1000 APR score.

Davis is married to Tamilya Davis and the couple has one son, Antoine. Davis is also the father of Mike Davis, Jr., who was a member of the Indiana and UAB men's basketball team that he coached and was an assistant with him at Texas Southern, and he also has one daughter, Lateesha.