Davis promotion brings calm after the storm

Davis promotion brings calm after the storm

Team to move forward under interim coach after emotional two days

By Lynn Houser, Herald-Times Sports Writer

September 13, 2000

Indiana’s Jeffrey Newton, Jared Jeffries (center) and Andre Owens relax after a series of interviews at Assembly Hall Tuesday. Staff photo by David Snodgress.
From the Sept. 13, 2000 Bloomington Herald-Times

Late Monday night, Dane Fife and A.J. Moye were not sure if they would remain with the Indiana basketball program in the aftermath of the firing of coach Bob Knight, even though their choices as successors, assistant coaches Mike Davis and John Treloar, were going to be retained.

Moye decided he needed a good night’s sleep. Fife decided he needed a good, hearty laugh.

“I went to a comedy club last night,” said the junior guard. “The comedian right in front of everybody said, ‘Dane, we would like you to stay,’ and the students there began to cheer. It just made me realize this is my home. The fans, the students, are just unbelievable to us. I’m just not going to get this anyplace else – their support, the team, the coaches.”

Welcome back, Fife – and Moye and all 12 of the Hoosiers who stood unified behind their new coaches when the announcement was made Tuesday afternoon.

“Every individual’s decision was different, but everybody one through 12 wanted coach Davis and coach Treloar back,” said sophomore guard Tom Coverdale.

“For our team overall, this is the best thing that could happen,” freshman forward Mike Roberts said.

Moye, the freshman guard out of Atlanta, still wasn’t sure Indiana was the place for him until he woke up Tuesday morning.

“I went to sleep last night with doubt and woke up with no doubt. I had just found out last night before I went to bed that coach Davis had accepted the job, but I wanted to play for coach Knight so bad, I can’t even put it in words. It’s the childhood dream of about every boy in Indiana, but I was probably the only boy in Georgia with that dream. I’m happy for coach Davis, happy for us that we retained someone who was on our team, but I’m still emotionally shook that coach (Knight) is not going to be here.”

As are the rest of the Hoosiers.

“It’s just a tough situation right now,” Fife said. “We have indicated that this is coach Knight’s team, and that we are playing to win a championship. There’s nothing we would rather do than that for coach Knight, ourselves, the students and the fans.”

The team was unanimous in its support for Davis and Treloar.

“It’s not just coach Davis, it’s coach Treloar, too,” said sophomore guard Kyle Hornsby. “We are loyal to all our coaches.”

“I don’t feel the same without coach Knight, but I feel satisfied we are still maintaining a program,” sophomore center George Leach said. “All the guys are still here and we are just going toward basketball now.”

Leach was one of the first contacted by Davis after the job was offered to the three-year assistant.

“I was relieved,” Leach said. “I was actually able to sleep last night.”

Junior forward Kirk Haston was not going to stick around if half the team had defected.

“I didn’t want to be a member of a Division II team playing in the Big Ten conference,” he said. “If coach Davis and coach Treloar weren’t going to be here, most of the guys wouldn’t have been here – myself included.”

“I didn’t want to leave home because I have family and friends here,” said Andre Owens, the freshman guard from Indianapolis Perry Meridian. “I like this program. I grew up in Indiana, and when you grow up in Indiana, you want to play Indiana basketball. I wanted to stay here and I wanted coach Davis to be the coach.”

Even closer to home was Bloomington’s Jared Jeffries, the freshman forward out of North. While some players were thinking of jumping ship Monday, Jeffries was a voice of stability.

“A lot of emotions ran wild the last couple days,” he said. “People were worried about their futures. My Dad (Tom), kept telling me, ‘Calm down, take one step at a time and everything will be OK.’ It’s just good to see we are still going to be a team this year.”

The team was scheduled to resume pre-season conditioning today. Haston talked about the renewed sense of dedication.

“It’s the first time I have ever seen a group of guys excited about coming together at 6 o’clock in the morning for conditioning,” he said.