MTSU's Davis dimisses talk of return to Mississippi State

Friday, March 23, 2012 at 2:33pm

Kermit Davis grew up around Mississippi State basketball.

He played for the Bulldogs and his father, Kermit Sr., coached them.

He could follow in his father’s footsteps and return to his alma mater if Mississippi State comes calling about its vacant head coach position.

Davis, however, appears content to stay at Middle Tennessee State.

“My entire family has a great love for Mississippi State,” Davis told The City Paper on Thursday night. “We’ve been involved with that university for years and years and years. But I have a terrific job and I’m really looking forward to next year at Middle Tennessee, looking forward to coaching the players we’ve got. We think we’ve got something going here that we can really establish on a national level.”

Davis declined to comment on whether Mississippi State had contacted him about its opening. The Bulldogs are looking for a new coach after Rick Stansbury retired after 14 seasons.

Whether Davis is on the short list — or any list — is unclear as reports indicate Murray State head coach Steve Prohm is the lead candidate.

Davis, a Mississippi native, not only played at MSU before graduating in 1982, his coaching career began with the Bulldogs as a graduate assistant in 1983-84. He later returned to the Southeastern Conference when he served as an associate head coach at LSU for five years before arriving at MTSU in 2002.

The 52-year-old just wrapped up his 10th season at MTSU when the Blue Raiders lost 78-72 to Minnesota on Wednesday in an NIT quarterfinal. It was a historic season that featured a program record for wins (27), 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. In 10 years, he has a record of 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.

Asked if coaching at Mississippi State would be a dream job, Davis said, “I have an absolutely terrific job with great players. I’m just looking so forward to next year being at Middle Tennessee.”