Former Pfeiffer basketball coach Dave Davis retires

Published 11:06 am Saturday, January 20, 2024

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The all-time winningest coach in Pfeiffer men’s basketball history recently announced his retirement from coaching.

Dave Davis coached the Falcons from 1996-97 to the 2009-10 season.

Davis announced his retirement last week as associate head coach at Virginia Military Institute. Davis spent one season with the Keydets after a season at the College of Charleston and two seasons with Winthrop.

The former Pfeiffer coach said he and his wife, Pam, have had some health problems in recent years. Davis said he was doing better, but having spent a lot of time away from her, he “really felt like it was more important to focus on our health than other things that I’ve been doing the last 40 years.”

After years coaching high school ball at South Stanly, where he started in the fall of 1983, Davis coached two seasons at Warren Wilson College and three at Barton College before coming to Misenheimer.

Davis was 284-123 (69.6%) in 14 seasons with the Falcons, which included two Sweet 16 appearances in 2004 and 2010 and an Elite Eight appearance in 2004. His uptempo offense helped Pfeiffer to lead all of Division II basketball in scoring four years (2003-2005 and 2010). He was named Conference Coach of the Year three times and All-East Region coach once. While at Pfeiffer, Davis did not have a losing season, winning four regular-season and two conference championships.

Davis coached 19 All-Americans, including four at Pfeiffer (Nem Sovic, Damien Argrett, Demario Grier and Chris Woods); 64 players on teams Davis coached played professional basketball.

Many of Davis’ coaches have gone to work at the professional and collegiate levels, including Brandon Beane, general manager of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills; Matt Painter, head men’s basketball coach at Purdue; Michael Longabardi, assistant head coach of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings; Catawba head men’s basketball coach Rob Perron; and former N.C. State assistant head coach Rob Moxley.

The high points of his career, he said, were the relationships he formed with players, assistant coaches, members of the media and the communities he’s been in.

“It’s an overused phrase for sure but I really feel like the luckiest guy in the world,” Davis said. “I got to do what I loved, my passion, for 40 years. Who gets to do that?”

Davis said he had “unbelievable memories” building relationships and building up programs and communities.

Having spent five years at the D-I level as an associate head coach teaching his up-tempo high-scoring philosophies, Davis said “people couldn’t help but take notice” with the successful programs he built at Pfeiffer and Newberry.

“It was our way to with 5-10 to 6-2, which most of our players were. It was our way to have our 10 to 12 guys be better than their five to seven guys,” Davis said. “It was not all by design. A lot of it was trial and error. I really liked that fact that we could play 10 to 12 guys and have them be incredibly productive.”

Davis noted one game at Queens when the Falcons had 100 points from off the bench.

“Those are some crazy statistics,” Davis said.

Running his unique system, the coach added, taught him to not be afraid to take a chance, to “not be afraid of being like everyone else.”

Davis also talked about the coaches who worked with him who were paid little or were volunteer assistants.

“What’s amazing is all of those guys, like me, did not come from basketball pedigrees. They weren’t famous people. There were people who just wanted a chance, just like (former Pfeiffer and Charlotte head coach Bobby) Lutz gave me,” Davis said.

“He game me a chance, and then the mindset was to surround yourself with great people and then outwork the rest of the world,” Davis said.

Davis said the most special part of his career was watching players improve over their four- and five-year careers, but also seeing them develop as humans.

“Being blessed to have lived long enough to see them become great fathers, great husbands and great community members, and then for so many to have gone into coaching, was so much fun,” Davis said. “It’s been an incredible ride and so much fun. The memories are endless.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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