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Keno Davis
Position: Head Coach
Alma Mater: University of Iowa
Graduating Year: 1995
Experience: 1st Year
Phone: (515) 271-3894
Email: Monica.Lihs@drake.edu

In his first season as a collegiate head coach, Keno Davis took a team picked to finish ninth in the Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll and guided Drake to a school-record 28 victories.

The Bulldogs won their first Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title since 1971 and became the first school to win both the regular-season crown and league tournament title since 2002. The reward was Drake’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1971.

Under Davis, Drake has been nationally ranked in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll for a school-record eight straight weeks. Racing off to a 16-1 record, the Bulldogs cracked the top 25 polls for the first time on Jan. 21, being rated No. 22 in the Associated Press and No. 23 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches polls. That marked the first top 25 appearances by a Drake team since the Bulldogs were ranked No. 16 in the Associated Press poll during the last three weeks of the 1974-75 campaign.

Drake was ranked as high as No. 14 in the Associated Press poll Feb. 14, while being ranked No. 15 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches polls on Feb. 4 and 11.

Davis helped guide the school to one of the program’s biggest wins in the last 30 years when Drake earned a 71-64 victory at No. 8 ranked Butler as part of the Feb. 23 O’Reillys ESPNU BracketBuster series.

He has been named the national college coach of the year by both the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and The Sporting News magazine. It marked the first time a Drake basketball coach was named the national coach of the year since the U.S. Basketball Writers Association honored coaching legend Maury John in 1969.

Davis, 36, was named the Rawlings Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year during the MVC Tournament in St. Louis. He also is among four finalists for the prestigious Naismith National Coach of the Year award in addition to being a finalist for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award and the Hugh Durham Mid-Major Coach of the Year.

The Bulldogs’ ascent to the top of the Missouri Valley Conference is all the more remarkable considering Keno Davis inherited a 17-15 team in which graduation claimed four starters.

Thus
the Bulldogs became the lowest pre-season pick ever to win the league title. As a result the Drake basketball team has been THE STORY in college basketball this season. The Bulldogs enjoyed a school-record 21-game winning streak with a starting lineup, featuring two former walk-ons.

Davis was named Drake’s 24th head men’s basketball coach, March 21, 2007, succeeding his father, Dr. Tom Davis, who retired as head coach, but remains at Drake as a special assistant to the athletic director.

“Keno has been mentored by three of the best coaches in college basketball, in not only developing his ability with the X’s and O’s of the game, but also in making a commitment to the holistic development of the student-athlete,” said Drake Athletic Director Sandy Hatfield Clubb. “Tom Davis has laid the foundation for a winning legacy at Drake and we are eternally grateful for his belief in and vision for Drake men’s basketball. Keno is the perfect successor to take us to a new level of success at Drake University.”

“I have been fortunate in my coaching career to have had the opportunity to work with a number of great coaches, most of all my father at Drake University,” Keno Davis said.

“I am appreciative of the strong support of the administration and of the growing support of our alumni, fans and community here at Drake. I know that the hard work and support will be rewarded, and I look forward to being a part of the future success.”

“Dr. Tom Davis has built a solid platform from which to take our next steps toward excellence, and we are all very enthusiastic about Keno Davis’ vision for the program’s future. He is just the right person at just the right time for Drake men’s basketball,” said Drake president David Maxwell during the press conference to announce the hiring of Keno Davis.

Keno Davis served six years as an assistant coach under former Drake head coach Gary Garner at Southeast Missouri State, before being named the first assistant to join the men’s basketball coaching staff at Drake under Tom Davis on May 19, 2003.

He also served as an assistant coach at Southern Indiana from 1995-97 under coach Bruce Pearl who is now the highly successful coach at the University of Tennessee.

“I have had a great advantage to not only work for my father, but for Coach Pearl at Southern Indiana, and for Coach Garner at Southeast Missouri State,” said Keno Davis.

Davis also has two books to his credit. He is the co-author of “Pressure Defense” which was published in 1994 and author of “Camp Success” published in 2004.

“Keno (Davis) is ready,” said the elder Davis, who had served as Drake’s head coach since April 22, 2003, guiding the school to a 17-15 record in 2006-07. “He has prepared himself well. He had so many years on the bench with me that he has a real good idea of what we’re trying to do and can communicate that to the players and coaching staff. It also was a great advantage for him to have spent eight years working with two excellent coaches in Gary Garner and Bruce Pearl.”

Keno earned a bachelor of arts degree in communications studies from the University of Iowa in 1995. Keno and his wife, Krista, have a son Brady, who was born Nov. 12, 2007.