Kermit Davis wins first conference championship as MTSU coach


MTSU head coach Kermit Davis cutting down the nets after beating Old Dominion 55-53 in the Conference USA championship game March 12, 2016, in Birmingham.

A conference championship has eluded Middle Tennessee’s Kermit Davis for 14 years as the head coach of the Blue Raiders.

That was until his team defeated Old Dominion 55-53 in the Conference USA championship game on Saturday afternoon, punching their ticket to the NCAA Tournament and securing their first conference championship since 1989.

“In my first two years as a Division I head coach, I was at Idaho, and we won a bunch of games,” Davis explained. “We won the first two conference tournaments… It seemed like it was easy and that was the thing to do. You always win your conference tournaments.”

Davis is no stranger to regular-season conference titles, though.

In the 2009-10, 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, Davis led the Blue Raiders to regular-season Sun Belt Conference championships.

After making the move from the Sun Belt to C-USA, Davis guided his 2013-14 MTSU squad to a share of the C-USA regular-season championship with a 24-9 overall record and a 13-3 conference record, but they were knocked out by FIU in the semifinals.

“We’ve won some regular-season championships,” Davis said with a smile. “We won the Conference USA regular-season championship three years ago and got an at-large bid in ’13. But to finally win a conference tournament…”

Davis is the only head coach in MTSU history to reach 200 career wins, but cutting down the nets in Birmingham, Alabama, after his first conference title might top them all.

“We’ve been right there so many times. I’m proud for our players, but really proud for our fans. [This next week] is going to be the best week at Middle Tennessee State University in a long, long time,” Davis said.

Davis and the Blue Raiders will await Selection Sunday to find out what seed they will be awarded and who they will play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Follow Caleb Luketic on Twitter for more MTSU basketball coverage.

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