TAMPA — King football coach Alvin Davis said Wednesday that he is retiring after 42 years of coaching, including the past six for the Lions.
In his end-of-the-year evaluation in 2012, Davis informed athletic director Dennis Donaldson that the 2013 season would be his last, Donaldson said. On Dec. 20, just before winter break, Davis formally stepped down and gathered his players to inform them.
“I’ve been in it a long time,” Davis said. “I enjoyed every bit of it. I have a lot of love for King High School. They gave me a lot of love …but it was time to step down.”
Davis began his coaching career as an assistant on the JV squad at Gulf in 1970. He later spent time at St. Petersburg High and Gibbs before taking over at King in 2008.
In six seasons at King, Davis had a record of 27-33. In 2010, Davis led the Lions (6-4) to their first winning season since 2001. This year, the Lions recorded their second winning season (6-4) under Davis.
Davis said he looks forward to being able to support the team from the stands, but will miss helping his players develop into men and make it to the next level. It’s that development, Donaldson said, where Davis made his mark.
“Coach Davis is old school,” he said. “He kept with him a lot of the old-school principles as far as dealing with young men.”
In the six years at King, academic ineligibility among the players has decreased, Donaldson said. He attributes that to Davis’ presence and the respect with which the Lions players treated him.
That’s one of the qualities Donaldson hopes to find in Davis’ successor. The job opening has been posted online, and Donaldson said they have eight or nine viable candidates they will begin interviewing today.
Donaldson said he hopes to have someone in place well before the Lions begin spring football in May; someone, he said, who can take what Davis has already implemented and help the program continue to grow.
“(We’re looking for) a continuance and building on what has been done,” he said. “Just someone that can come in and take the program forward.”