Sunday, April 10, 2011

EXCLUSIVE: Mike Davis front runner for Miami job


According to a Miami source, The University of Miami has asked for and been given permission to speak with UAB head coach Mike Davis about becoming the next Miami basketball coach, replacing Frank Haith who left for Missouri on Monday. He is the first candidate that Miami has asked to speak with, and appears to be the front runner to land the Hurricanes job.

Davis, 50, just completed his fifth season with the Blazers, leading the team to the NCAA Tournament, and a Conference USA regular season title. He has compiled a record of 107-57 since taking over for Mike Anderson, who left after the 2006 for Missouri. UAB hasn’t finished outside the top 3 in Conference USA since Davis’s first season in Birmingham.

Prior UAB, Davis replaced Bob Knight as the head coach at Indiana. He went 115-79 in six seasons at Indiana, leading the Hoosiers to the National Championship Game in 2002, upsetting Duke and Oklahoma in the process. In February of 2006 he announced that he would not be returning to Indiana for a 7th season. He would be the 14th coach in Miami’s history.

After Haith’s resignation Monday, the name that immediately came to the forefront to replace him was Kansas State head coach Frank Martin because of his deep Miami roots. Martin, the son of Cuban immigrants was born in Miami, and he coached at various Miami area high schools for 15 years, winning 3-straight state championships at Miami High School in 1996-98, but as I reported earlier this week, Miami officials, including school president Donna Shalala were scared off by Martin’s baggage.

Martin was fired from Miami High School in 1999 after the school’s 1998 state championship was vacated due to recruiting violations that involved school employees and boosters. Martin was never accused of wrongdoing, but he was still let go.

The other issue with Martin is money. His contract with Kansas State pays him $1.5 million a year, so the school would have to be able to offer him a raise, something that Miami doesn’t seem interested in doing. Davis makes just over $600 thousand at UAB.

Look for Miami to make a hire early this week. If Davis does not get the job, I’m told the school will look to make a run at current Murray State coach, and former Miami assistant Billy Kennedy or Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker.

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