New head basketball coach Ben Davis will be starting at Knox on April 22, coming from Green Mountain College where he has been head coach there for two years. Davis was selected from a pool of 230 candidates. Davis played basketball throughout high school and knew he wanted to coach from a young age.
“I started coaching youth basketball and then when I was in college, continued coaching high school basketball and then my last year of college, I started to coach college basketball. So this past year was my 11th year coaching college basketball and six as a head coach in college,” Davis said.
Davis coached at Dakota County Technical College, before moving to Green Mountain, which was Davis’ first experience as a head basketball coach at the collegiate level. The team had a 40-40 record overall after Davis’ three years there. In his final year at Dakota County, his team qualified for the NJCAA National Tournament for the first time in school history.
Davis begun his career by starting out at Carleton College as an assistant and being an assistant coach and recruiter at Macalester College. Then, Davis moved on to Clarke University in Iowa for two years. In the 2009-10 season, his team at Clarke went on to the NCAA tournament and only lost by one point to the soon-to-be national champions, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Davis says coaching has taken him places he never thought he’d be. Originally from the midwest, Davis saw Knox as the perfect fit and couldn’t wait to get the opportunity to have an interview. Davis and his wife just had their first child, a five-month old girl, and wanted a strong community where they could raise her.
“Knox fit exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to be at an NCAA college that was high-academic, has a good community feel, where we could be long-term. We wanted to be in a really good community where we could raise our daughter and I think Knox is a great place for that. And just being back in the Midwest is where we wanted to be as well,” Davis said.
Unfortunately, Davis could no longer stay at Green Mountain because they got news that the college would be shutting down after the spring semester. Due to financial issues and low enrollment, Green Mountain has to close its doors at the end of this school year.
“The school had been open for 185 years and it was a big surprise to everyone that the school was shutting down,” Davis said. “I think I was in a position where I needed a new opportunity and then being on campus for the interview and the more I learned about Knox, the more I loved it. I think a lot of people look out for the students and the student-athletes and employees. Just had a good feeling when I was here on campus.”
Davis was able to meet some of the athletes through the interview process, as they were allowed to sit in on most of the interviews.
“It seems like a great group of guys that had a tough season but they’re really eager and really hungry to improve and work and be a better team. I think that was another one of those things that makes me want to be here,” Davis said.
Although he’s eager to begin in the gym, NCAA rules bar the team from doing any coached activities until their season begins in October.
“That’s the funny part. I want to get started and get to work and see what we’ve got, but with NCAA rules we can’t do anything on the court until season starts next fall in October. Just getting to know all the guys individually as soon as I get here, try and sit down and have individual meetings and that type of thing. That’s going to go a long way,” Davis said.
Davis will continue recruiting those who were interested in Knox and were being recruited by the old program. Right now he’s focused on watching film from the past season, figuring out what offense will be strongest for the team and pinpointing individual strengths. As far as defense goes, Davis prefers to run a pack-line defense.
“Offensively, I mix up what I do based on our players. So I’m still trying to watch film and figure out what our strengths are offensively,” Davis said. “Defensively, I run something called the pack line, the team that won the national championship, Virginia, they’re pretty famous for running that. That’s the defense I’ve been running for a long time and had a lot of success with so I’m pretty certain we’ll do some pack line defense and offensively is still to be determined.”
Davis is getting everything squared away, moving from Vermont to the Midwest will be a long transition but he will be ready to start in April. TKS welcomes Coach Davis to the Prairie Fire family!