The University of New Orleans and head women’s basketball coach Keeshawn Davenport have agreed to terms on a four-year contract extension that will keep the 2020 Eddie Robinson Award Winner on the Lakefront through the 2024-25 season. In her ninth season at the helm of the Privateer program, Davenport guided her 2019-20 group to the highest win total since 1992-93, the most conference victories in school history and a berth in the Southland Conference postseason tournament for the fourth straight year.
The extension adds four years to Davenport’s current deal that still had one year remaining. It was set to expire after the 2020-21 season. The new contract was approved by the University of Louisiana System and the Louisiana Board of Regents.
“Coach Davenport has done a tremendous job of leading the New Orleans women’s basketball program,” New Orleans Athletic Director Tim Duncan said. “Not only did her team win the most conference games in school history, the ladies are strong students and exemplary citizens, regularly finishing at or near the top of departmental community service hours tracking. Adding four more years to her current contract is a tangible example of the faith we have in her as a coach and a leader.”
“What a blessing it is to be able to continue to lead this program,” Davenport said. “I’m in gratitude to our president Dr. John Nicklow, the University of Louisiana System, Tim and my sport administrator Kirsten Elleby who all found me worthy enough to continue to lead this program. I am just one grateful and blessed coach. I thought the Eddie Robinson Award was the icing of the summer but to be offered a four-year contract to continue to lead the New Orleans program is another blessing that I am grateful to have.”
“There were two real important things I wanted to accomplish in the new deal,” Davenport added. “Number one was to take care of my assistant coaches because they are such a great staff and number two, years are important to me. We did what we did this past season, but we had a lot of experience that graduated this year so to have an opportunity to grow and develop this predominately new team was very important to me.”
“And it’s important for recruits,” Davenport concluded. “Those who I am recruiting know that I am in it for the long-haul. The athletic department heard my voice on what was important to me and I thought they did a great job of coming to the table and offering me a contract I am really happy with.”
Davenport has turned the Privateers into a mainstay in the Southland Conference Tournament after guiding the program through one of its darkest times in program history. When she took the helm of the program in 2011, the athletic department was in turbulence. She took a team with just three scholarship players and making the jump back into NCAA Division I competition and turned into a Southland contender year-in and year-out.
Over the past three seasons, the Privateers have gone 58-58 (.500) overall which includes a mark of 41-33 (.554) in Southland play. Also included in that total are victories against the likes of Ole Miss and Memphis. New Orleans has also turned the Lakefront Arena into one of the toughest places to play in the conference as the group has compiled a 39-16 (.709) home record over that same three-year span.
Davenport will enter the 2020-21 season with 77 career wins, the second-most in New Orleans women’s basketball history.
In addition to its enhanced performance on the hardwood, New Orleans has really stood out amongst its peers with its student-athletes work both in the classroom and in the local community.
The 2019-20 squad recorded a cumulative spring grade point average of 3.16, the program’s best performance over the past few years. The Privateers also ranked third in the nation and tops in the conference in the 2020 NCAA Team Workers Helper Helper Community Service Competition out of all NCAA DI women’s basketball programs. Even with the shortened spring on the New Orleans campus, the group recorded over 532 hours of community service during the year.
“Keeshawn has been such a valuable asset to our women’s basketball program but more importantly the New Orleans community over the past nine years as our head coach,” Associate Athletic Director and sports administrator for women’s basketball Kirsten Elleby said. “Coming off a historic season, I look forward to seeing her continue to elevate our program to contend for championships while passionately developing an amazing group of women on and off the court each year. We believe in her vision and there is no one that bleeds silver and blue more than Coach Davenport. We are beyond thankful to have her on NOLA’s team.”
Davenport went to high school in Laplace, La. at East St. John where she graduated as the all-time leading scorer while guiding the school to its first playoff win and first-ever district title during her senior season. She then enrolled at the University of New Orleans where she went on to appear in 100 games for the Privateers. Davenport was named a team captain her senior year and earned All-Academic honors throughout her career.
She then started her coaching career as a graduate assistant with the Privateers, working her way up to an assistant coach before taking over the program in 2011. In total, Davenport has been a mainstay on the University of New Orleans campus for almost 20 years.
Davenport’s new contract went into effect May, 1 2020, according to University of Louisiana System records.New Orleans Southland