UC associate HC Larry Davis fills in for ailing Cronin, discusses win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff
After more than 30 years in the college coaching profession, including the past 12 seasons as an associate head coach with the University of Cincinnati men’s basketball program, Larry Davis announced his retirement Thursday. Davis is an original member of Mick Cronin’s staff dating back to 2006.
“I want to thank Coach Cronin and the University of Cincinnati for affording me the great opportunity to work for one the best coaches, basketball programs and universities in the country,” Davis said. “The decision and timing of when to retire is never easy but the time is right for me now. It’s time to move on to a new phase in my life. I will miss working with our players, great staff and of course our great fans. Thank you for 12 great years of memories.”
A member of the coaching staff since Mick Cronin was first named head coach at Cincinnati in March 2006, Davis helped Cronin rebuild the Bearcats into a perennial Top-25 program which achieved 268 wins, two American Athletic Conference regular-season titles, an AAC tournament championship and eight consecutive NCAA tournament appearances during his tenure. His recruiting efforts helped secure numerous Bearcats, including current NBA players Gary Clark and Jacob Evans III.
“Larry has done a tremendous job for Cincinnati basketball for the last 12-plus seasons,” Cronin said. “His passion to help players improve and develop on the court was his greatest asset and I’m sure our players and former players would agree. Larry and I have been friends for 25 years which makes him stepping away emotional for me to say the least. We will take time to do what is best for our program in terms of completing the staff.”
Davis’ experience came into the spotlight especially during the 2014-15 campaign when he led the UC coaching staff for the final 25 games of the season while Cronin was sidelined with a health issue. The Bearcats registered a 16-9 mark under his tutelage, a 23-11 mark at season’s end, a tie for third place in the American Athletic Conference and the school’s fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament.
For his efforts, Davis was named a finalist for national coach of the year by the Sporting News. He was the first interim coach at the NCAA Tournament since Missouri’s Rich Daly and Michigan’s Steve Fisher in 1989. He also became the first non-head coach to lead a team through multiple games of a regular season and into the NCAA Tournament since 1961 (Jake McCandless at Princeton).
Mick Cronin spoke with The Enquirer’s Tom Groeschen while on the road Thursday.
“Obviously Larry’s done a great job for us,” Cronin said. “I’m going to take my time finding a replacement.”
Davis left a head coaching position at Furman University (1997-2006) to join the Bearcats. He recorded a 124-139 mark while revitalizing the Paladins’ program. Furman posted three winning seasons after 2002 and achieved its first winning record in conference play in over a decade, under Davis’ guidance.
As an assistant coach at Minnesota from 1994 to 1997, Davis helped the Golden Gophers compile a 69-29 record and make three postseason appearances. He was credited with the recruiting of All-Americans and future NBA Draft picks Bobby Jackson and Quincy Lewis.
Previous coaching stops included a year at Ball State (1993-94), four seasons at Wake Forest (1989-93), and four years at Delaware (1985-89). At Wake Forest, Davis helped the school rise from last place in the Atlantic Coast Conference to three straight NCAA tournament appearances (1991-93), coaching the likes of long-time NBA veteran Rodney Rogers and recruiting 15-time NBA All Star Tim Duncan to Winston-Salem, N.C.
Davis launched his career as a graduate assistant at East Tennessee State following his graduation from Asbury College in 1978. After three seasons, he became a head coach in the high school ranks, serving a year at Cloverport (Kentucky) and two at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, where he compiled a 51-9 record.