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Keno Davis ‘looking forward’ to calling Saturday’s Iowa-Drake game

Scott Dochterman, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

IOWA CITY — Keno Davis has shifted from full-time basketball coach to full-time television analyst.

Davis, a former Iowa player and Drake coach, will call Saturday’s Iowa-Drake game for the Big Ten Network. It’s a new role for Davis, and so far he’s enjoying it.

“When you’re able to do games with teams that you’re very familiar with, it makes it even easier,” Davis said. “Of course with Iowa and Drake, I’ve followed them, not just a long time ago, but recently as well. I’m looking forward to it.”

Davis, 39, coached Drake to the Missouri Valley Conference title in 2008 and 28 victories. He left after that season for Providence and led the Friars to the NIT in his first season. But Providence slumped to 12 and 15 wins, respectively, the last two seasons and Davis was fired.

He and his family, which consists of his wife, Krista, and their two children, have moved to the Chicago area since leaving Providence. Along with some on-site coverage, Davis also provides studio updates, breaks down footage and postgame analysis for the network.

It’s quite the change for Davis from roaming the basketball sidelines for the last 15 years ago. He had brief conversations with Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta regarding the Hawkeyes’ opening in 2010 as well as other jobs. But Davis, the son of longtime Iowa Coach Tom Davis, stayed at Providence.

“While I was at Providence, even though I was only there for three seasons, I had received phone calls about a few different jobs,” Davis said. “But I just felt like although I had been at Drake for five years, I had only been at Drake for one year as a head coach and to make that jump to another program, I didn’t want to be a coach that was jumping every couple of years to different programs.

“There were people at Providence who had invested in me, and I wanted to try to turn that program around so it wasn’t like I was entertaining any schools that had called and made contact. But you never know as a coach at that point which programs are seriously interested or which schools are putting out feelers. There were a variety of programs, but I was looking forward to staying at Providence for a while and try to turn that program while I was there.

“You’re always intrigued, I think, if your alma mater has a position open and they’re interested in you. At the time, it wasn’t right. I love Iowa. Of course, having growing up right outside of it and having your father as a coach you want to see them have success. I know they have some great people working there in the administration on the basketball staff and they’re working really hard to try to get that program where it needs to be. I’m pulling for them as hard as anybody.”

Davis is unsure about whether his future is in television or if he’ll shift back to the basketball sidelines.

“I’ve really tried not to think about it too much right now,” Davis said. “Once the season is over, you just kind of weigh your options and hope that you have options.”

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