Young Harris College President Dr. Drew Van Horn and Director of Athletics Randy Dunn announced Monday (March 12) afternoon that Jim Davis has been selected to direct the Mountain Lion women’s basketball program.
Davis succeeds Matt Stearsman, who stepped down as head coach after the season.
“I feel YHC is extremely fortunate to have coach Davis as our new women’s basketball coach,” said Dunn. “His name alone brings immediate credibility to YHC and the women’s basketball program. Coach Davis has all of the ingredients a college or university looks for in a coach — knowledge, experience, work ethic, passion and enthusiasm for the game, and a great personality are just a few of his qualities that have made him successful during his career.
“I would describe coach Davis as a proven winner as a basketball coach,” added Dunn. “He is a man of character, integrity, honesty and is a true gentleman. As you read coach Davis’ coaching achievements, it is easy to understand why Dr. Van Horn and I made the decision to hire him as our coach.”.
A native of Englewood, Tennessee, 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 University, 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 and most recently four seasons at Tennessee Technological University.
“Bobbie and I are looking forward to coming back to the Enchanted Valley,” said Davis. “We really enjoyed our two seasons at Young Harris. We love the people there and they are our kind of people.
“Obviously, we have some work to do here to bring up our talent level to the rest of the Peach Belt Conference,” said Davis. “We think we can get it done and are looking forward to the challenge.”
During his time at Tennessee Tech, Davis led the Golden Eagles to a 2013 Ohio Valley Conference regular season championship. He boasted four All-OVC players (three first-team selections and a second-team honoree) as well as two other players being named to the OVC All-Newcomer squad. Academically, Davis had many of his student-athletes earn a spot on the TTU Athletics Director’s Honor Roll and on the OVC Commissioners Honor Roll. He also had three student-athletes post perfect 4.0 GPAs and earn an OVC Medal of Honor.
Following 18 successful seasons as head coach at Clemson and two as assistant athletics 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 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. 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 548 all-time victories in his 29 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. During his span as Clemson head coach from 1987 through 2005, Davis saw every single four-year player receive her degree.
Prior to his arrival at Clemson, Davis served one season as head coach at Middle Tennessee State. During the 1986-87 season, he guided the Lady Raiders to a 19-8 record and a share of the OVC championship. Prior to his stop at Middle Tennessee, Davis spent the 1985-86 season as an assistant coach with the University of Florida women’s basketball program.
A Tennessee native, Davis spent six highly successful years at Roane State in Harriman, Tennessee, before moving to the University of 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.
Davis is married to the former Bobbie Henderson and they have one son, Todd, a beautiful daughter-in-law, Rhonda, and two most precious grandchildren, Ansleigh Grace and Jacob Garrett.DII Young Harris