Auburn expresses interest in Davis for coaching job

Auburn expresses interest in Davis for coaching job

By Doug Wilson, Herald-Times Sports Writer

March 25, 2004

Auburn’s president and its best known basketball player want Mike Davis as a candidate for the university’s men’s basketball coach.

But Indiana athletics director Terry Clapacs said Wednesday he expects Davis to remain in Bloomington next season.

President Ed Richardson told The Birmingham News that Auburn is “looking heavily” at hiring a minority coach.

Richardson confirmed that the preliminary list of candidates to replace Ellis includes Davis, UAB’s Mike Anderson, Virginia Commonwealth’s Jeff Capel, Gonzaga’s Mark Few and Tennessee-Chattanooga’s Jeff Lebo.

Anderson, Davis and Capel are black.

Former Auburn star Charles Barkley said it’s time for Auburn to hire a black coach and that he would like Davis to be that coach.

“It’s not often you get a chance to hire a guy of his character and coaching ability,” Barkley told The Birmingham News. “If you can coach at Indiana, you can coach at Auburn. I don’t think Mike’s ever going to get a fair chance at Indiana. He’s not Bob Knight. That’s his only flaw.

“I’m not in the loop, but I am giving Auburn a million dollars,” Barkley said. “I just want to get my opinion out there. I hope it’ll have a little weight.”

Auburn hasn’t contacted anyone about the vacancy, Richardson said Tuesday.

Davis has refused to comment on the Auburn job except to say that he hasn’t spoken with anyone at Auburn. Richardson said the school hasn’t yet contacted any candidates.

“We will follow protocol. We will call the AD and say, ‘Here we come,'” said Richardson.

Clapacs said he has not been contacted by Auburn and believes Davis will stay at IU.

“This is where he wants to be,” Clapacs said of Davis. “He tells me that all the time.

“I think Mike could come right out and say he has no interest,” Clapacs said. “But that’s the world of sports today. Our focus has to be on this coming season and I assume if Mike is interested, he’ll talk to me about it.”

Clapacs said it might be difficult for Auburn to hire an Alabama graduate.

“It would be sort of like Steve Alford going to Purdue,” Clapacs said. “I don’t know if he could do that.”

Clapacs has given two schools, Southern Methodist and Southern Mississippi, permission to talk to IU associate head coach John Treloar about their head coach openings.

Treloar has coached at IU since 1997. He applied for a couple of jobs last summer, but has never been a college head coach.

“I hope he gets a job because he’s a terrific guy and I like to see good assistants get a chance,” Clapacs said.

Clapacs is more concerned about what the Hoosiers can do to turn the men’s basketball program around next year – he hopes with Davis.

“He’s told me many times this is where he wants to coach,” Clapacs said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.