Will Davis Era of Cardinal Baseball Underway
Director of Athletics Jason Henderson and the Lamar University athletics department ushered a new era in to Cardinal Baseball Tuesday afternoon when they formally announced Will Davis as the head baseball coach in a press conference held in the Cardinal Club room of the Montagne Center.
Davis, 32, joined the Lamar staff as an assistant under longtime, Hall of Fame coach Jim Gilligan in February and was a vital part of the program’s 14-game turnaround, which included a 15-game win streak and victories over nationally-prominent programs such as LSU – his alma mater – Arizona and Texas. His official first day as skipper was June 1.
“We are extremely proud to officially welcome Will as the head coach of our baseball program. He has some big shoes to fill, but has already shown that he is up to the task,” said Henderson. “He was a great addition to our staff this season, and he and Scott (Hatten) turned into road warriors to make sure that this program does not skip a beat.
“I think what fans will see is that he is the perfect fit for Lamar University baseball,” he said.
LU had six wins over teams that advanced to the 2016 NCAA Regionals and was seeded fourth in the SLC Tournament, highest since 2009.
“I’m living my dream job right now,” said Davis. “I wake up excited to have an impact on this university and on these young men. I can’t wait for the fall and season to start. It’ll be a fun ride.”
Davis primarily focused on catchers and base running during the 2016 season, and he guided Bryndan Arredondo to a first-team All-Southland Conference honor, first catcher to be selected first team since Michael Ambort in 2007. He was one of four Cards added to the top team, most in the league, and five overall.
“It will never be lost on me how lucky I am to have this job,” said Davis. “I want to thank Jason for believing in me. I also want to thank Jim Gilligan. Working with him these last few months has been nothing but an honor. His selflessness to bring me in for this season shows how much he cares for the program.”
Davis served on staff at one of the nation’s most prestigious programs in LSU for eight seasons and had tremendous success that included a 2009 College World Series Championship. That season wrapped up with a 56-17 record, one of three 50-win campaigns with Davis on staff.
He’s been a part of four College World Series, three Southeastern Conference Championship and five SEC Tournament Championship teams. He advanced to the NCAA Regionals in all but one season he was on staff.
The son of former Louisiana Tech head coach Randy Davis, he began his coaching career as the director of baseball operations at LSU in 2008, but was quickly promoted to assistant coach just one year later. Since, he’s been in a first or third base coach’s box and has been in charge of either the catcher or outfield position group, or both in some seasons.
Much of his time in Beaumont has been spent trying to replace 11 seniors that departed at the end of the 2016 campaign. As a recruiter, he aided the Tigers to five-straight top-10 ranked signing classes, including a 2014 group that was voted No. 1 by Perfect Game. In that time, he recruited four student-athletes from Louisiana alone that were eventual top-10 round picks in the Major League Amateur Baseball Draft.
His first class at Lamar has yet to be announced, but should be soon.
At LSU, was key in recruiting Kade Scivicque who was picked as a first-team All-American and fourth-round draft choice. Not only did Davis recruit Scivicque, but after he was given the catchers position group he developed the senior into a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award, annually given to the nation’s top catcher.
He was also a key component of Mark Laird’s career, a ninth round selection in the MLB draft and All-SEC Defensive Team member; Laird was recruited out of Monroe, La. by Davis. His judge of talent extends to the mound as well, he found and signed Austin Bain who was able to claim a spot in LSU’s weekend rotation as a freshman.
Other than the Tigers’ top recruiting class in 2014, they ranked fourth in 2012, seventh in 2011 and 2015 and 10th in 2013. Along with his recruiting responsibilities, he was the director of the LSU Showcase Camps, which has aided in the discovery and signing of 37 high school athletes.
Under his tutelage, LSU’s outfielders gained a reputation as being one of the best position groups in the nation. In 2013, the Tiger outfield committed just one error in 68 games. He helped in the development of Mikie Mahtook, now a major leaguer with the Tampa Bay Rays. He was an All-SEC Defensive Team selection along with Laird (2015) and Andrew Stevenson (2014-15).
Davis was a Tiger from 2004-07, and was a letterman on the 2004 College World Series team. He is married to the former Danielle Hall of Bogalusa, La., who was a member of the LSU Golden Girl squad. The two are expecting their first child in October. He graduated with a bachelors in secondary education (2007) and masters in kinesiology (2010), and was born May 29, 1984.