Dave Davis, right, embraces Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski after Pfeiffer University’s 2009 loss to the Blue Devils. Davis, who graduated from Mitchell High School, was head coach at Pfeiffer University at the time and is current head coach at Newberry College. Photo submitted

Dave Davis values time spent in Mitchell County

College coach credits time at MHS for teaching him about basketball, life

Dave Davis has made quite a name for himself during his 34 years as a college basketball coach.

Davis, 55, grew up in the city of Derry, New Hampshire, about 40 miles north of Boston. His father, the late Clyde Davis, was transferred to the former Ellen Knitting Mills and the family moved to Spruce Pine in 1977. Davis played basketball his junior and senior years at Mitchell under former coach Phil McKinney and was part of the first graduating class of what he calls “the new” Mitchell High School. His mother, Joanne, still lives in Spruce Pine.

“Playing for coach McKinney was an incredible experience,” Davis said. “I learned a lot about basketball, life and coaching.”  

Davis maintains strong friendships from his time in Mitchell County, during which he met his wife of 31 years, the former Pam Edwards. 

“God blessed me by bringing me to Mitchell County,” he said. “I have also been blessed in this crazy coaching business.”

Davis’ teams are known for being high-octane on offense. This past season was Davis’ sixth at Newberry and the Wolves posted their fifth-consecutive winning record, going 18-12 overall and 12-10 in the South Atlantic Conference. The Wolves advanced to the conference semifinals for the second-straight season after defeating Lenoir-Rhyne on the road in the quarterfinals. 

Newberry also defeated Division I Marshall 101-89 in an exhibition match. The Wolves were second in the South Atlantic Conference with an average of 94.4 points per game. 

Newberry lead the league in steals and 3-point attempts. The Wolves finished third nationally in NCAA Division II in scoring offense, third in steals per game and sixth in 3-point field goals made per game. 

Davis served as head coach at Pfeiffer University for 14 seasons before going to Newberry. In his 14 seasons at Pfeiffer, he accumulated a record of 284-124, NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen appearances in 2000 and 2004 and an NCAA Elite Eight appearance in 2004. 

Davis’ Pfeiffer teams averaged more than 20 wins per season and rank in the top-5 in wins since 1990 in all of NCAA Division II basketball. Davis was named what was then known as the Carolina-Virginias Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1998, 1999 and 2004. He was also named the NCAA East Regional Coach of the Year in 2004.

Davis coached Mitchell standout Ryan Cook during his time at Pfeiffer.

“Ryan could really play,” he said. “We were really, really good at Pfeiffer in those days.”

Davis was the head coach at Barton College where the team of his own recruits won a record 25 games before he was named head coach at Pfeiffer. 

He received his first head coaching position in 1991 at his alma mater, Warren Wilson College, where he led the Owls to their highest win total in 15 years.

Davis earned his bachelor’s degree from Warren Wilson in 1983, a master’s degree from Gardner-Webb in 1993 and educational specialist degree from Liberty University in 2009. 

As a player at Warren Wilson, he was a four-year starter and was on two conference championship teams. He is Warren Wilson’s all-time assist leader.

Davis has a list of former assistants that includes seven Division I coaches, such as Purdue head coach Matt Painter, North Carolina assistant Rob Moxley, Villanova assistant Raphael Chillious and Boston Celtics assistant coach Michael Longabardi.

Over Davis’ career he has coached 19 All-Americans and has had 57 former players sign professional contracts.

The MItchell News

Mailing Address: PO Box 339 
Spruce Pine, NC 28777 
Phone: 828-765-7169
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