Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Reprinted from The Times and Democrat
When Antonio Davis was winning basketball games at Kentucky State, Tonya Mackey served as his 'right-arm' person.
As Mackey enters a critical fourth season as South Carolina State University head women's basketball's coach, she hopes to re-create the same winning formula - this time in reversed roles.
On Monday, Mackey confirmed she's hired Davis to serve as her top assistant and recruiting coordinator. He replaces Ronald Hughey, who left to pursue a similar position at the University of South Carolina.
In hiring Davis, who most recently spent seasons as the women's basketball coach at St. Augustine's College and compiled a 71-99 record before resigning after this past season, Mackey cited his experience and familiarity from having worked with him for three seasons at Kentucky State.
"The thing which stood out was the fact that we had worked together and I do know him, so I know what type of person I'm getting," Mackey said.
During his tenure, St. Augustine's College posted 17 wins in 2005 and 2006 and advanced as far as the semifinals in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament. The Lady Falcons especially excelled in the classroom, winning the CIAA Highest GPA Award for women's basketball four years in a row, and participated in community service projects in Raleigh and the surrounding area.
"I know that he knows basketball," Mackey said. "I know he's a basketball guru. I think that this is a man that brings head coaching experience to the table along with wisdom. This is a man that I know will be able to relate to the young ladies that we have.
"He's a Christian and that's really important right now because I believe we are in the business of making sure these young ladies are productive citizens when they leave South Carolina State. So it's more than just basketball."
Davis began his head coaching career at alma mater Livingstone College, where he was an All-American guard and was among the nation's leaders in scoring and free throws and finished as the school's career leading scorer. In 1990, he turned around a Lady Blue Bear program which went from 0-23 the previous season to 15-12 the following year.
In 1993, Davis left for Kentucky State and led the women's basketball team to consecutive 20-plus win seasons. He posted a 69-71 record during his five seasons, winning three straight Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Western Division championships and becoming the first SIAC coach to win basketball and volleyball conference titles.
It was during the 1996-97 campaign with Mackey as an assistant that the Lady Thorobrettes won a school-record 25 games and earned their first-ever NCAA Division II tournament appearance. Mackey left the program months later to become an assistant coach at SCSU.
Since being promoted to the head position in 2004, Mackey has yet to post a winning season. Injuries have played a major role in the team's struggles and Mackey learned last week she will be short another player until January.
Guard/forward Ashley Dublin, a two-year letterman out of Bowie, Md., is expected to undergo surgery for her right knee which ailed her for much of last season. Despite the injury, Dublin managed to play in 22 games where she averaged 5.0 points, 2.4 rebounds and 19.8 minutes per game.
Guards Navodda Wilson, Laquita Ball and Lakeisha Scott, all of whom sat out last season with leg injuries, are expected to be ready for the Nov. 9 season-opener against Mercer College.