Davis calls in sick

Davis calls in sick

Indiana says rumors that Davis is resigning are untrue

By Doug Wilson, H-T Sports Writer

February 11, 2006

Mike Davis didn’t coach the Hoosiers against Iowa today at Assembly Hall. Davis called in sick before the game. Chris Howell | Herald-Times
From the Feb. 11, 2006 Bloomington Herald-Times

There’s no mystery about Mike Davis’ absence at Assembly Hall today, according to Indiana players, coaches and officials.

With the Hoosiers playing a game that may help determine whether Davis will be fired at season’s end, IU’s head coach was too ill to attend. His absence, they said, had nothing to do with Internet message board rumors – which they say are untrue – that Davis told his players Friday night he was resigning.

IU assistant head coach Donnie Marsh, who filled in for Davis today, said to his knowledge, Davis has not resigned and expects to be back on the bench for Wednesday’s game at Penn State.

An IU news release distributed just before tip-off said Davis would miss today’s Iowa game because of a “flu-like illness.”

“Coach Davis became sick this morning and he is under medical care,” IU team physician Larry Rink said in the release. “From a medical standpoint, there is no way he could be at today’s game.”

Davis started feeling ill Friday night while IU’s coaches were talking after practice. He had been fighting a cold and cough for a long time, Marsh said.

“He had his head down, kind of between his legs, and his cough had come back,” Marsh said. “Coach (Sidney) Green kept saying, ‘Are you OK, coach?’ You could just see something wasn’t quite right.”

Marsh said he doesn’t know specifically what’s wrong with Davis, other than it involves some “stomach issues.”

Davis hoped to sleep off his illness, Marsh said, and Saturday morning still expected to be at the game, but felt worse as the morning progressed. Marsh said he and Davis spoke about five times before the game, between 6:45 and 11:20 a.m., and again at halftime and after the game.

“About 40 minutes before tip, I said, ‘How are you feeling?'” Marsh said. “And he said, ‘I don’t think I can make it.'”

That’s when IU’s players were notified Davis wouldn’t be at the game. Several said it was noticeably different for him not to be there, but they didn’t think that it had a big impact on the result.

Senior Marshall Strickland said it’s nothing new to hear rumors about Davis. Strickland was asked if there’s any truth to the latest one about Davis telling the team he’s resigning.

“No,” Strickland responded. “We know about as much as you guys do. They just try to keep us focused on the games we play.”

Strickland said he “wears armor now” after hearing rumor after rumor about Davis the past three years, so the rumors don’t distract him.

But that’s more difficult for younger players, he said.

“It’s hard on our kids because it’s a person they care a great deal about,” Marsh said. “It’s a person they’ve come here to support.”

There were also Internet reports about a protest at Assembly Hall Saturday by fans who want Davis fired, but no protestors were obvious at the game.

Iowa coach Steve Alford heard about Davis missing the game when he was on the IU Radio Network pre-game show with Don Fischer. IU assistant head coach Kerry Rupp stepped in for Davis on the show.

Alford said Fischer told him Davis was “really, really sick.”

“You get late in the year, players get wore down. Coaches get wore down,” Alford said. “I just hope he’s feeling well and back on the sidelines as soon as possible.”

The former Hoosier All-American, who’s a favorite of many IU fans but has a 49-58 coaching record in Big Ten games, was asked if he’d be interested in the IU coaching job if it becomes available.

“I don’t answer hypothetical questions,” he responded.