Five-year extension keeps Kermit Davis at MTSU for foreseeable future

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 9:13pm

Kermit Davis is staying put at Middle Tennessee State.

On Wednesday the all-time winningest men’s basketball coach in program history agreed to a five-year contract extension at MTSU that will run through the 2016-17 season.

Not coincidentally this came on the same day that Davis reportedly removed his name from consideration for the vacant men’s basketball head coaching job at Southern Miss. Davis reportedly interviewed for the position on Monday in New Orleans. When reached by text message to confirm if that report was true and if he had been offered the Southern Miss job, Davis declined to comment.

The 52-year-old Mississippi native has spent the last 10 years at MTSU and is coming off the most successful season in school history with a program-record 27 wins and a trip to the NIT quarterfinals. Davis had two years left on his current contract.

“We are pleased to announce that he will be leading our men’s basketball program for years to come,” athletics director Chris Massaro said in a statement. “We are coming off an incredible 27-win season that saw a number of firsts in program history and the majority of those players return. Kermit has also done an excellent job academically and his community outreach is always strong. Continuity is the best and quickest way for us to accomplish our goals and Kermit provides us that opportunity.”

Though Davis loses leading scorer and Sun Belt player of the year LaRon Dendy, nine of 11 lettermen return for the 2012-13 campaign after the most successful season in school history.

The Blue Raiders captured a Sun Belt Conference regular-season championship, the school’s first two postseason wins since 1989 and two wins over SEC schools (Ole Miss and Tennessee).

Davis was named the Sun Belt coach of the year for the second time and passed Jimmy Earle for all-time wins at MTSU. His record at MTSU is 180-133 with two trips to the postseason — neither of which was in the NCAA Tournament — and two Sun Belt championships in the last three years. He is currently under contract at MTSU through the end of the 2013-14 season.

This is the second time his name has popped up this offseason in connection with a coaching vacancy. Last month, his name was linked to the Mississippi State opening, which was filled by Clemson assistant Rick Ray.

Davis’ father, Kermit Sr., coached at Mississippi State and the younger Davis played and graduated from MSU before serving as a graduate assistant in 1983-84. Davis told in a recent interview that he talked with Mississippi State athletics director Scott Stricklin in New Orleans for an hour and a half.

“My family and I truly love Middle Tennessee State University and the city of Murfreesboro,” Davis said. “I am extremely fortunate to have a president in Dr. [Sidney] McPhee and athletic director in Chris Massaro who have been so supportive of our program over the years. We have a great culture of players, coaches, and support staff that eagerly awaits the start of the 2012-13 campaign. A tremendous nucleus of players return from our 27-win, championship team, along with two quality recruits which makes the upcoming season very exciting.

“I am appreciative of the opportunity to lead Middle Tennessee basketball into what we think will be one of the most exciting times in program history.”