Davis says criticism the same as always as Hoosiers ready for visiting Badgers

Davis says criticism the same as always as Hoosiers ready for visiting Badgers

by Doug Wilson, Herald-Times Sports Writer

January 8, 2005

Mike Davis doesn’t think the speculation about his future at Indiana is any worse now than it’s always been.

As the Hoosiers prepared Friday afternoon to play Wisconsin tonight, Davis said the amazing thing is that speculation he won’t be IU’s coach much longer never ends.

“I’ve been feeling that way for five years,” he said. “We’re talking about something now that we talked about my first year, my second year, my third year, my fourth year.”

With Indiana at 5-7 following a 21-point loss to Northwestern in its Big Ten opener, the clamor in Bloomington about whether Davis will be around to coach another season appears to be reaching a crescendo. But Davis doesn’t agree with that assessment.

“It’s been the same,” he said. “Everything about it has been the same. When we played for the national championship and we got back, the talk shows were going crazy over something I said about the NBA. So it hasn’t changed.”

Davis wrote the number 22 on the board in front of his players the other day and asked if they knew what it means.

“They had no idea,” Davis said. “I averaged 22 wins my first three years as a coach here. I’m the only coach in the history of the school to have three straight 20-win seasons (in his first three seasons), but we didn’t have a cupcake schedule. We have a very difficult schedule.

“They were so surprised I averaged 22 wins my first three years here, it was unbelievable. So the speculation is always going to be there. If it was that way averaging 22 wins, why would it end?”

Davis said it would be one thing if his teams had been losing, but even with last year’s 14-15 record, he’s averaged 20 wins over his four previous seasons as head coach.

“I’ve been averaging 20 wins a year the last four years and you would think I’ve been averaging 10 wins,” he said.

Davis said his future is bright whether it’s at IU or not. His biggest concern, he said, is that his players are protected because they are the guys who are going to be part of the IU family for the rest of their lives because they played here.

“I just wish they could walk into an arena that the fans just let go of their feeling for me for 40 minutes and really support the boys,” Davis said. “When you boo or go against me, that’s only helping the opposing team.”

IU will likely need all the support it can get against a Wisconsin club that has a strong inside game and shoots well from the 3-point line.

“They’ve got three other big guys coming off the bench, so it’s going to be a big test for us,” IU center D.J. White said. “But I think we’re up for it.”

White said today’s game is extremely important because IU needs an early Big Ten win.

The 6-9 freshman has known Davis since he was a child attending the same church as the Davis family in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

White said he hears plenty of criticism of Davis, but it “goes in one ear and out the other.”

“I just don’t pay any attention to it,” White said. “I come out every day and just play. I’m here to play, not to listen to what people have to say or what people think. I don’t allow stuff like that to affect what I came here to do or to bother my dream.”

White was asked if he would consider leaving IU if Davis is fired.

“Right now, I’m in the season,” he said. “I’m not thinking about all that while (the season) is going on. I’m just trying to play basketball for Indiana and get wins.”

GAME NOTES: New IU football coach Terry Hoeppner will address the crowd at halftime of today’s game.