Scott Davenport, the head coach of the Bellarmine University Knights in Louisville, is being pegged as a potential replacement for the University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino. Pitino, a Basketball Hall of Famer, was put on leave in light of the findings of an FBI corruption scandal. Now, the university has to find a replacement.
Davenport is a Louisville native and has been coaching the Knights, a Division II program, since April 2005. In 2011, he coached the Knights to its first NCAA Division II National Championship. Last year, his team reached the Final Four.
You can follow Davenport on Twitter.
Here’s what you need to know about Davenport.
1. Davenport Was a Pitino Assistant at Louisville Before Coaching at Bellarmine
One strike against Davenport getting the job, even on an interim basis, is his connection to Pitino. As Bellarmine bio notes, he was an assistant coach at the University of Louisville for nine years, first under Pitino’s predecessor, Denny Crum. When Crum retired in 2001 and Pitino was hired, Davenport stayed on.
The Courier-Journal reported in 2015 that Davenport also has a connection to former Indiana coach Tom Crean, who has also been considered a potential Pitino replacement. They met in 1987, when Crean was an assistant for Western Kentucky. Davenport also has a relationship with Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin, which dates back to 1988. These relationships helped secure Bellarmine games against Louisville, Cincinnati and Indiana, despite being a Division II program.
“It’s one of the blessings I count every day — these relationships I’ve been so fortunate to create and be a part of throughout my career,” Davenport said in 2015.
2. Davenport Signed a Contract Extension With Bellarmine to Keep Him There ‘Until His Retirement’ in 2017
If Davenport does decide to take the challenge of coaching Louisville, he’ll have to get out of his long-term contract with Bellarmine. Since he’s coached there for 12 seasons, he’s racked up a 287-93 record and has reached the NCAA Tournament for nine consecutive seasons. They’ve made it to the Final Four at the end of four of the last seven season and won the Division II tournament in 2011.
With a resume like that, Bellarmine moved to lock up Davenport for as long as he wants to keep coaching. In July 2017, The Courier-Journal reported that the university did just that. The contract extension “essentially assures his position at Bellarmine until his retirement,” the school said.
“I was taught early on basketball is all about team,” Davenport said in a statement. “Bellarmine basketball has stressed ‘team,’ and I am thrilled with this extension because it has been made possible a tremendous ‘team.’ ”
In April 2015, Davenport signed a contract extension through the 2019-2020 season.
3. Davenport Is Married to Sharon Davenport & Has 2 Sons
Davenport is married to Sharon Davenport. They have two sons, Russ and Doug, who both graduated from Bellarmine.
In an interview with Louisville Women Sports, Sharon said she is a Cincinnati native and moved to Louisville at nine years old. She attended the University of Kentucky, and has two sisters and a brother. She met Davenport in 1979, when they were working at schools in the Jefferson County Public School System. She is a substitute teacher at the elementary school her sons went to.
“The highs are the highest highs and the lows can be the lowest lows in sports,” Sharon told Louisville Women Sports when asked what it was like to support her husband. “It’s tough when your job relies on 18-, 19-, 20-year-old boys. [Scott] was coaching freshman, junior varsity, and varsity (assistant) when we first started dating… so I’ve never known him not coaching. I go to a lot of games. I sit in many gyms, but you meet a lot of great people… I consider us very lucky. They’re just great kids to be around.”
4. Davenport’s Son Doug Is an Assistant Coach at Bellarmine
Both of Davenport’s sons have an interest in coaching. Sharon Davenport said Russ, who lives in Louisville and is married, coached lacrosse and elementary school basketball.
Doug was an assistant coach at Eastern Kentucky. In August 2016, Bellarmine announced that Davenport hired Doug to become his assistant.
Doug was also on the coaching staff at Xavier, while he earned his MAster’s in education there. He also worked for Pitino from 2012 to 2015, including the 2013 NCAA Championship season.
With his son on his staff, Bellarmine finished the 2016-17 season with a 32-4 record and a 17-1 record in their conference. They came up short against Fairmont State in the NCAA Division II national semifinals.
5. Davenport Lost His Father at an Early Age & Pitino Used That to Inspire Davenport to Live a Healthy Lifestyle
According to a 2016 Catholic Sports Net profile, Davenport’s father died at an early age. His father died at 45 from a heart attack.
“My dad was a worker,” Davenport told CatholicSportsNet. “He would work at American Standard and he worked so hard. My last visual of him was seeing him cold, non-responsive.”
When Davenport first met Pitino 36 years later, Pitino used the death of Davenport’s father to inspire Davenport to lose weight.
“Coach Pitino said to me, ‘You lost your dad at an early age. You’re going to see (strength coach) Ray Ganong today,” Davenport recalled. “You can’t work for me and look like that. But, here’s the reason: what did your dad ever see you do? Did he see you win a championship at Ballard? Did he see you get married? Did he see you get hired at Louisville? Did he ever meet your boys Russ and Doug?’”
Davenport added, ““Coach Pitino knew the button to push with me was my dad’s passing. My body fat went from 23 percent to 8 percent in one year. I’ll always be grateful for coach Pitino’s knowledge and care of me and my family.”
Davenport’s mother, who grew up in Green County, died several years ago. She was a major inspiration in his life. “She was the most giving person to everybody,” he recalled.