Dear Players and Staff:
On April 29, 2005, I was named Head Basketball Coach at Bellarmine University. I was 48 years young but felt I had been prepared as well as possible having paid my dues and learned from the absolute best! I made the ninth grade team as an eighth grader at Southern Junior High in the south end of Louisville playing for a coach named Vernon Wold (Mr. Wold passed away 3 seasons ago), this is where it all started.
My career and my life were shaped by the wonderful men I played for or coached under.
Coach Al Pfeffer at Iroquois High School defined what it meant to work.
At the University of Louisville, Coach Jerry Jones taught me to always put your players first (he still attends every Bellarmine game).
Coach Bill Olsen at Louisville instilled a drive in me that allowed me to believe there was never a limit to what one can accomplish.
Coach Denny Crum constantly demonstrated patience that made him a Hall of Famer.
I served under Coach Mike Pollio at Virginia Commonwealth University (with Tubby Smith), seeing a passion for the game that I call on every day of my coaching life.
My last stop prior to coaching you guys at Bellarmine was coaching under Coach Rick Pitino (the second Hall Of Famer I worked alongside) where I learned the value of attention to detail that is second to none!
These wonderful teacher-coaches play a large part in the success this program has enjoyed.
Every single day, I take time to reflect on how amazing you young men are on and off the court. The staff has and continues to grow personally and professionally. You guys are constantly on the cutting edge in utilizing technical advances to prepare our team from a teaching or scouting standpoint or the latest innovation in gaining every possible advantage in the world of recruiting.
The journey in coaching should be appreciated as much as the destination because the young men who perform so magnificently time and time again, year after year, provide us with countless moments of tremendous entertainment. Their time at Bellarmine while in college should be four of the greatest years in their life. It is a time that should also really prepare them for the next 40+ years in their professional/family life.
At Bellarmine, we have one constant goal: “Use basketball, never let basketball use you.” I push you players every single day mentally and physically to be the best you can be; that is my job. I promised each and every one of you throughout the recruiting process this is how it would be. I also promised that outside of your parents, I will support you more than anyone. I will never apologize for caring about you as players. Is it easy? As you all know, the answer is no. Nothing worth having the rest of your life will be easy.
If you can learn life’s lessons in the confines of our locker room or on the basketball court, then I am doing my job. This is very important to me as a teacher/coach. If the time comes that I do not feel this way, I will not coach any longer.
Remember, when you make great decisions and transfer your efforts into success in the classroom and on the court, opportunity will chase you down. When you make poor decisions or come up short, doors close.
It takes everybody to build a successful program. It also takes year after year, hour after hour in a dark, lonely gym far from a sold-out arena, tremendous fans, bands, cheerleaders, friends and family.
Go back to the first captain I had at Bellarmine, a super player named Matt Miller. He came back last year the night of our NCAA Midwest Regional Championship game in Knights Hall to address our team. Matt graduated in 2006 yet he came at his own expense to be part of the university’s first-ever regional championship. Every player who has ever worn a Bellarmine jersey and every individual who has attended or supported Bellarmine should share in the successes because it truly takes everybody.
As we arrived back on campus last Friday at 1:30 p.m. from losing in the Final Four of the NCAA Division 2 Tournament to a fine University of Montavello team, we arrived in a steady drizzle only to find 250+ supporters standing in the rain in front of Knights Hall. That is incredible! Who stood out among the large crowd? Our President Dr. Joseph McGowan and one of last year’s seniors, Forrest Smallwood. Why, because they care.
I told each and every one of you after the tough loss in the Final Four, “You are very upset because you care.” That is a great thing, keep caring. Care about everything you do, take personal pride in everything you do academically, athletically and socially. The bonds you form while playing, the brotherhood you develop will last a lifetime, trust me. You will share many special moments with your teammates, there will be jobs obtained, families started, promotions, personal tragedies, etc. The one common outcome is you will always be there for each other. That is what teams do.
I ask you to make a lot of sacrifices in order to do what you do on and off the court to be the best you can be. I want to remind you again how fortunate we are. Because of your tremendous abilities and your work ethic to master the fundamentals of basketball, you have taken Bellarmine Basketball to new never-before levels of basketball. The result as this 2012 season ends: we have had six straight sellouts!
The off-season will bring changes to Knights Hall because of your wonderful very unselfish play. The Bellarmine community – the students, staff and administration – have been truly unbelievable. How about the entire Metro Louisville area, especially Southern Indiana! The reason is because you, the players, are humble and very unselfish.
I encourage each and every one of you as you prepare to enter the adult segment of your life to prepare as we do for each opponent. Pay great attention to details, become confident because as I have told you many times over and over, confidence comes from being prepared. Every time you put on a uniform or go out in public as a Bellarmine player, it is a commercial for your life. Every contact is a future employer, employee, customer or client.
I want you to know I appreciate all you have done for your University. That includes national exposure on televised games with the top ESPN and CBS personalities speaking of your accomplishments several times.
I want you to always appreciate and thank the fans. We should all appreciate our own Mayor Greg Fischer coming time and time again to Knights Hall. There he was right behind our bench during the NCAA Tournament. He leads our city!
We have chances to make others better through the great game of basketball. I am very proud of you as a team for suggesting Isaac Middleton accompany our team to the NCAA tournament because his home in Henryville was destroyed in the March 2 tornado. He has no home – it’s just gone. You as a team reached out to him, you made him better.
I constantly remind you good players – great players, even – rebound, score, pass, and defend but EXTRAORDINARY players are like extraordinary people: they make others around them better.
This season is history. Experience is our greatest teacher. Use everything you have learned.
There is no off-season; we have campers to coach and teach. Some 800-900 youngsters 8-12 years old will come to Bellarmine. Your job is to coach them, help them, form and develop their basketball attitude and abilities. You can make a difference. Improve your own game by getting in the best physical condition of your life and continue to develop your skills to the fullest.
And remember … fall workouts begin in 159 days. The first exhibition game is 212 days away.
Coach Scott “Scotty” Davenport
Bellarmine University Men’s Basketball Head Coach