HEAD COACH EMMETT DAVIS
On April 24, 1998 Emmett Davis became the nineteenth Head Basketball Coach of the Colgate men’s basketball program. Davis inherited a non-scholarship program that was coming off a difficult 10-18 season and had suffered through the loss of their beloved Coach Jack Bruen. Coach Bruen passed away tragically in December of 1997 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
In Davis’ first seven seasons, the Raiders have registered ninety-eight wins which represents the second best record for a seventh year coach in eighty years of Colgate basketball. In order to find a better seven year starting record you would have to go back through fifteen Colgate coaches and find William Reid’s 104 wins from 1919-1926. It just so happens, the Colgate team plays all of its home games in the Reid Athletic Center, named after this legendary coach. Although there are no plans to rename the facility, Davis continues to build the program and establish a winning tradition at Colgate.
The Colgate program has been a model of consistency during Davis' tenure. In six of his first seven seasons Davis has led the Raiders to the upper division of the Patriot League standings. From 2001-2004 the Raiders finished with three consecutive winning seasons (2001-02 - 17-10, 2002-03 - 14-13 and 2003-04 – 14-13). The 2004-05 team finished the season strong winning four of their last six games and another top half finish in the Patriot League.
The 2003-04 team finished with a 15-14 record winning three of their final four games. In the middle of the season the team dealt with adversity when leading scorer and rebounder Howard Blue went down with a knee injury. Blue, a pre-season first team all league senior missed six Patriot League games, but returned to compete in the final two weeks of the season. The team finished strong after Blue’s return, posting consecutive wins over league leaders Lehigh and Bucknell and a first round upset in the Patriot League Tournament over Lafayette. Colgate’s 67-66 overtime victory over Lafayette enabled the Raiders to advance to the Patriot League semi-final round for the third time in six seasons.
The 2002-03 team also finished the regular season with a flurry by posting five consecutive wins over the final two weeks of the season beating Army, Navy, American, Lehigh and Bucknell. In addition, Colgate finished with its best Patriot League record since the 1995-96 season. The Raiders finished 9-5 in the conference tied with American University for second place behind Holy Cross, the regular season and tournament champion.
The 2001-2002 Raiders enjoyed their best season since 1994-95 by finishing with a 17-11 overall record. Among those 17 victories were two wins over Patriot League Tournament Champion Holy Cross and a sweep of Lafayette and Army as well as a 4-0 record vs. the Ivy League (Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard and Yale). The 2001-02 Raiders became just the sixth team in the 102-year history of Colgate basketball to win 17 games (school record for wins in a season is 18).
The 2000-01 year, Davis’ team finished third in the Patriot League standings which was at that time, Colgate’s best finish in conference play since Adonal Foyle (eighth overall draft selection by the Golden State Warriors 1996-97) donned the maroon and white in 1996.
The 1999-2000 season saw Colgate advance to the Patriot League tournament semifinal round for a league record eighth straight time. The Raiders defeated Holy Cross 58-49 in the quarterfinals. Colgate was eliminated by the regular season league champion, Navy in the semifinal round.
In Davis’ first campaign, the Raiders finished with an overall record of 14-14 while advancing to the semifinal round of the Patriot League Tournament. Colgate dropped a 73-71 decision to league champion, Lafayette in the semifinals. The Raiders defeated Lafayette twice during the regular season that year giving the Leopards their only two setbacks in league play.
Colgate’s success on the court can be attributed to Davis and his staff’s recruiting accomplishments. In Davis’ seven seasons, eight players have been named to the Patriot League All-Rookie Teams and two players have been the conference’s Rookie of the Year. Pat Campolieta and Mark Linebaugh were the Rookie of the Year winners in 1999 and 2001 respectively while Kyle Roemer (2005), Kendall Chones (2004), Alvin Reed (2003), Keith Williams (2002), Howard Blue (2001) and Jordan Harris (1999) were each honored as All-Rookie Team members.
Davis has experienced success mentoring assistant coaches as well. Two of his assistant coaches from his original staff have advanced rapidly within the coaching profession. Rod Balanis left Colgate in 2000 after four seasons in Hamilton to become the Director of Basketball Operations at Notre Dame under Head Coach Mike Brey. Rod is currently a full time assistant coach with the Fighting Irish. While Dennis Csensits left Colgate in 2002 after four seasons to become the Head Coach at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA.
Before taking over the Colgate helm, Davis served as an assistant coach for 12 years at the Naval Academy, where he was involved in all aspects of the program. He was responsible for working with the guards during his early years at Navy and worked with the post players over his final four seasons. He also served as the recruiting coordinator during his time at Navy and is credited with recruiting Navy standouts Michael Heary, Sitapha Savane and Chris Williams.
Davis came to Navy in 1986 and was part of a staff that guided Navy to a 26-win season, a Colonial Athletic Association Championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance. It was Navy’s third consecutive trip to the NCAA’s. During that season, Davis had an opportunity to coach consensus Player of the Year David Robinson. Robinson went on to have a great NBA career with the San Antonio Spurs, winning Rookie of the Year, MVP honors and two NBA championships during his professional playing career.
When former Navy head coach Don DeVoe was hired in 1992, Davis was retained on the staff and helped lead the team to the NCAA Tournament three of his last five seasons in Annapolis – 1994, 1997, 1998. Navy’s record during those five years was a former league best 91-54.
A native of Gloversville, NY, Davis played under former Navy and Pittsburgh Head Coach Paul Evans while at St. Lawrence University. Davis is married to the former Gail Beatty, a four year letter winner in women’s basketball at LaSalle University and former assistant women’s basketball coach at LaSalle, Navy, and Georgetown University. Gail also served as the girl’s varsity basketball coach at Hamilton Central School for two seasons 2001-2003. Gail is currently serving as the Director of the Hamilton Youth Basketball League. Emmett and Gail are the proud parents of three sons, Emmett William (7 years old), Shane Colbert (5 years old), and Brendan Wright (3 years old). They reside in Hamilton.
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