April 4, 2008

2008 Durham Award Finalists
THE AWARD: Download the 2008 Award

Keno Davis is the recipient of the 2008 Hugh Durham Coach of the Year Award presented by CollegeInsider.com.BOSTON (MA) -- After leading Drake to a 28-5 mark and the schools first trip to the NCAA tournament since 1971, Keno Davis has been selected the recipient of the 2008 Hugh Durham Coach of the Year Award.

The award, which is voted on by a 20-member selection panel that includes current and former head coaches and is chaired by Hugh Durham, is presented annually at the Final Four to the top Mid-Major Coach in America.

Davis was also one of ten finalists for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year, also presented by CollegeInsider.com

“Keno did an incredible job this season,” says CollegeInsider.com’s Matt Drake. “His team dominated one of the stronger conferences in college basketball and he did it with walk-ons and players not highly recruited. It’s one of the best jobs anyone has done in recent memory.”

Davis took a team picked to finish ninth in the Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll and guided Drake to both the regular-season crown and league tournament title.

Under Davis, Drake was nationally ranked in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll for a school-record eight straight weeks, including a No. 14 rating in the latest poll released on March 18.

Racing off to a 16-1 start, the Bulldogs cracked the top 25 polls for the first time on Jan. 21, being rated No. 22 in the Associated Press poll and No. 23 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll. That marked the first top 25 appearances by a Drake team since the Bulldogs were ranked No. 16 in the Associated Press poll during the last three weeks of the 1974-75 campaign.

The Bulldogs' ascent to the top of the Missouri Valley Conference was all the more remarkable considering Davis inherited a 17-15 team in which graduation claimed four senior starters.

Keno Davis holds his 2008 Hugh Durham Award at the Final Four in San Antonio, TX.Thus Drake became the lowest preseason pick ever to win the league title. The Bulldogs enjoyed a school-record 21-game winning streak with a starting lineup featuring two former walk-ons in senior guard Adam Emmenecker and junior forward Jonathan Cox.

Davis, who was named the Rawlings Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year, was one of ten finalists for the Durham Award. The other nine finalists were Ronnie Arrow (South Alabama), Randy Bennett (St. Mary's), Steve Donahue (Cornell), Danny Kaspar (Stephen F. Austin), Bob McKillop (Davidson), Randy Monroe (UMBC), Mike Rice (Robert Morris), Tony Shaver (William & Mary) and Brad Stevens (Butler).

In 2005 the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Coach of the Year award was renamed in honor of Hugh Durham who retired at the end of the 2004-05 season. Durham is one of just twelve coaches to have led two different programs to the NCAA Final Four (Florida State, 1972 & Georgia, 1983). He is the only coach to lead both teams to their only Final Four appearance.

The previous winners of the award are Gregg Marshall (Winthrop) in 2007, Pat Flannery, (Bucknell) in 2006 and Bob Thomason (Pacific) in 2005.