Sam Davis will not be returning as boys basketball coach at New Albany.
Davis, who coached the Eagles for 20 seasons, said he was informed April 14 that his contract would not be renewed for the 2020-21 season.
“The perception is the culture of the program wasn’t what it needed to be,” Davis said. “I did not see this coming. All my interactions with the athletics director (Richie Wildenhaus) were positive during the year. I was taken by surprise by this. We won 15 games. The culture in our locker room was really pretty positive. I thought we did a lot of good things this year, not just on the court, but off the court, too.”
Davis compiled a 275-182 record with the Eagles, including a 15-8 mark this past season, and guided them to five OCC-Capital Division championships and two district titles. He has a career record of 532-335 in 40 seasons.
“I care greatly about my players,” Davis said. “I realize that there’s some people that aren’t happy, but I really believe the kids that understand that being a part of our program is being a part of something bigger than yourself absolutely created great memories. … I’ve loved the parents, I’ve loved the community and I’ve loved the kids there. It’s just not the way I wanted it to end. I just want to let my kids know I love them.”
Davis, who earned his 500th career win with a 76-59 victory over Franklin Heights on Feb. 17, 2017, also coached the boys teams at Gahanna (1991-2000) and Hartley (1988-91) and the girls team at Watterson (1978-86).
He also served as an assistant coach for the Otterbein men’s team for two seasons (1986-88).
“I thank coach Davis for his dedication to New Albany boys basketball and I recognize what the program has achieved under his leadership,” said Wildenhaus, who declined to comment on Davis’ statement about his contract. “I wish Sam all the best moving forward and hope for nothing but happiness for him and his family.”
Davis said he plans to continue coaching.
“I’m going to actively pursue another basketball job,” he said.