The Blue Raiders have started the search for a new head coach. School officials confirmed Kermit Davis has accepted the head coach position at the University of Mississippi. The move will be effective following Middle Tennessee’s appearance in the National Invitation Tournament.
Davis was the head of the Blue Raiders men’s basketball program for 16 seasons. Representatives with the school said, “The Blue Raiders have made great strides towards building a national brand in men's basketball during Davis' tenure and is now widely regarded as one of the top mid-major programs in the country.”
Middle Tennessee State University President Sidney A. McPhee released the following statement:
"We take great pride in the hard work and enormous contributions by Coach Davis toward the progress and success of our university. He has led student athletes to victory on the court and in the classroom. He has raised the national profile and brand of our university.
Kermit is my friend and Liz and I treasure the relationship we have with his family and him. While I wish he was staying at MTSU, and we worked hard to keep him here, including putting forward a significant counter-offer. Nevertheless, we all wish him the best in his move to his native Mississippi and thank him for the tremendous impact he has had at our university and in our community."
Davis has become the all-time wins leader at Middle Tennessee by a large margin. He has boasted a 332-187 (.640) record during his time with the program.
He has also received four league Coach of the Year honors in 2003, 2012, 2013, and 2017 and coached 25 all-conference selections, four Player of the Year award winners, and the 2013 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year.
"It has been an incredible experience for me personally and professionally working with Kermit the past 13 years," said Director of Athletics Chris Massaro. "There have been some watershed moments that will always be embedded in our school's history during his time as head coach of the Blue Raiders. Speaking on behalf of the entire Blue Raider family, we will all miss Kermit and his family immensely. Ole Miss has made a great hire, and I know they will do well."
Reports stated Davis was also successful when it came to the academics of his players with 56 consecutive men in the program earning college degrees at the exhaustion of their eligibility.
Davis released the following statement:
“I would like to thank Dr. McPhee for giving me this fantastic opportunity 16 years ago. I call Dr. McPhee my boss and also refer to him and Liz as great friends.
Thank you also to my two Athletic Directors that I have had a pleasure to work with in Coach Donnelly and Chris Massaro for their support to help build our national Middle Tennessee Basketball brand.
Betty and I were so lucky to raise our two wonderful daughters, Ally and Claire, in one of the most giving communities in America. The entire city of Murfreesboro helped raise our special daughter Ally to become the young lady she is today. For that, Betty and I will always be forever grateful."
School representatives said the search for Middle Tennessee's 20th head men's basketball coach has been set to begin immediately.
"As we turn the page, being the head basketball coach at Middle Tennessee is a very attractive job and will draw interest from top-notch candidates because of the work Kermit and his staff have done the past 16 years." Massaro stated. "We will name someone who will continue to build on the national brand that has been created for Blue Raider basketball."
The university has retained a search firm to help with the process of the national search that has gotten underway.
Middle Tennessee will take on Louisville at 5:30 p.m. Sunday in the NIT at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky.