By Rob Schabert, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech women's basketball coach Jim Davis announced Monday he is retiring from his position after four seasons at the helm of the Golden Eagle program and 49 years in the coaching ranks.
"I am grateful to the administration of Tennessee Tech for giving me the opportunity to coach here, " Davis said. "Bobbie (Jim's wife) and I have had a wonderful four years here, and we wouldn't trade that for anything. It's time to move on to another chapter in our lives.
"There are many, many great people at Tennessee Tech," he said. "I have truly enjoyed being a part of this community."
Davis was named head coach at Tech in July 2012, and directed the team through four seasons. He led the team to the 2013 Ohio Valley Conference regular season championship.
"I told my son this morning that I want to get back to the point where I can be a full-time Papa," Davis said. "We want to spend some time with our family and watch our grandchildren grow."
Davis continued to show the sense of humor that has been his trademark in speaking appearances.
"I've flunked retirement three times, but I believe I'm going to get it right this time," he said. "I think 49 years is enough."
Davis informed TTU Director of Athletics Mark Wilson about his decision Monday, prior to meeting with the team.
"We thank coach Davis for the work he has done during his four years as head coach of the Tennessee Tech women's basketball program, including an OVC championship, and wish him and Bobbie all the very best," Wilson said.
"He has been a loyal, valued member of our department during the past four years and he is a highly respected colleague. I wish him all the best and thank him for dedicated service to Tennessee Tech women's basketball. Jim is a high quality person who has worked extremely hard for the university and our student-athletes."
Davis closes the book on a 49-year coaching career, including 37 years as a collegiate head coach and 12 years in the junior college and high school ranks. Davis, who holds a master's degree from Tennessee Tech, has led teams to Ohio Valley Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference championships, and found coaching success on every level from the Tennessee high school ranks to the WNBA.
A native of Englewood, Tenn., Davis' coaching resume includes junior high and high school positions, a brilliant six-year span at Roane State Community College, one championship year at Middle Tennessee State, 18 highly successful seasons at Clemson University, a year in the WNBA with the Minnesota Lynx, and two seasons as an assistant coach at Young Harris College in Georgia.
Following 18 successful seasons as head coach at Clemson and two as Assistant Athletic Director, Davis tried retirement but quickly found he still yearned to coach. In 2009, he served as an assistant coach with the Minnesota Lynx.
In 2011, he accepted an assistant coaching assignment at Young Harris College and helped create a new program. In just one season, he helped take the team from inception to a 23-3 record with a roster featuring only freshmen and sophomores.
The majority of Davis' past coaching career was at Clemson, and his record includes a lengthy list of highlights. He led his team to 16 post-season appearances including 14 trips to the NCAA Tournament and two WNIT appearances. While earning 355 victories, he brought the program into national prominence, guiding the Tigers to two championships in the tough Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). His Clemson teams advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 four times and climbed to the Elite Eight one time, and he posted 51 victories over Top 25 teams.
Clemson made it to the ACC championship game six times, claiming the title in 1996 and 1999. The team achieved 20 wins or more in 11 of his 18 seasons, and earned Top 25 Final National Rankings 11 times. Davis was named the ACC Coach of the Year in 1990 and 1994.
The record book reflects 542 all-time victories in his 28 seasons as a collegiate head coach, and he is the winningest basketball coach – men or women – in Clemson history. He was inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.
Even more impressive than his on-court record is the academic success of his student-athletes, a trait that has branded him as a natural fit for Tennessee Tech, another program built on high academic standards. Many of his Golden Eagle student-athletes have earned spots on the TTU Athletics Director's Honor Roll and OVC Commissioners Honor Roll.
Prior to his arrival at Clemson, Davis was a familiar figure with Tennessee Tech fans – if not appreciated –as he served one season as head coach of arch-rival Middle Tennessee State. During the 1986-87 season, he guided the Lady Raiders to a 19-8 record and a share of the Ohio Valley Conference championship. Prior to his stop at Middle Tennessee, Davis spent the 1985-86 season as an assistant coach with the University of Florida Lady Gator basketball program.
A Tennessee native, Davis spent six highly successful years at Roane State Community College in Harriman, Tenn., before moving to Florida. Davis put together one of the most successful stints ever in the junior college ranks by coaching Roane State's Raiderettes to 127 wins against only 35 losses, building a .784 winning percentage. His teams won four Tennessee Junior College Athletic Association divisional championships and one state championship, and were ranked in the Top 10 by the National Junior College Athletic Association three times (1981, 1984, 1985). His biggest accomplishment was the 1984 team's finish of 27-2 and the NJCAA National Championship title.
Before entering the junior college ranks, Davis coached two years at Englewood (Tenn.) Junior High School and 10 seasons in various Tennessee high schools, including stops at Madisonville, Charleston and McMinn high schools. His overall high school record was 197-93, a winning percentage of .679.
Davis graduated from Tennessee Wesleyan College in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in health and physical education. After doing graduate work at East Tennessee State University, he received his master's degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from Tennessee Tech in 1975.
In 1996, Davis was inducted into the Tennessee Junior and Community College Athletic Association Hall of Fame. In the fall of 1996, he was inducted into Tiger Brotherhood, an honorary fraternity that promotes high standards of social and ethical conduct while recognizing in its members an earnest devotion to Clemson, coupled with the integrity of character commensurate with a typical Clemson gentleman or lady.