Friday, January 19, 2018
Sports

Jay Davis extends family's coaching legacy in Pinellas County

Jay Davis grew up in the Clearwater Central Catholic football program.

He was on the sideline when his father, John, was first hired as head coach at the school in 1994. Davis was on the field as the starting quarterback from 1997-2000, leading the Marauders to playoff appearances all four years.

After years as an assistant in college, Davis is returning to the area as a head football coach.

He is not taking over his alma mater. Instead, he is in charge of the school's bitter rival.

On Tuesday, Davis was officially named coach at St. Petersburg Catholic. He replaces Shannon Brooks, who left after two seasons.

The hiring creates some interesting family dynamics within the Davis household. Davis' father, who retired as CCC's coach at the end of the 2015 season, decided to come back to the school as the offensive coordinator to help out son-in-law, Chris Harvey, who took over the program last season.

Some allegiances are already changing.

"My wife has already flipped to black-and-gold," John Davis said, referring to SPC's colors. "I didn't have a say in that matter."

Davis was the Times' Player of the Year in 2000 as a quarterback for the Marauders. He played college football at North Carolina State and threw for 2,104 yards as a junior. After his playing days, Davis became an assistant coach on the college level.

He was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Quincy University (Ill.), Truman State (Mo.), Grambling State and N.C. State.

"I've been thinking about getting into high school coaching for quite some time," said Davis, who was most recently at Quincy University before moving back to St. Petersburg on Sunday. "I tried to interview at a couple different places but this one hit home. We want to eventually build this thing to be a powerhouse in Florida. It's going to take some time, but I think we can get there."

Davis will teach physical education at the school. Until he finds his own place, Davis is staying with his parents. He inherits a program that has gone 2-27 the past three seasons.

"It will be an uphill struggle, but I don't know if SPC could get a better football coach than Jay," John Davis said.

John said he did not want to join his son on the coaching staff at SPC because he had already made a commitment to help out at CCC.

"Jay doesn't need me looking over his shoulder," John Davis said. "It's something I might think about down the road, but he'll be fine on his own."

Jay Davis said he will begin the process of increasing the program's numbers immediately. Last year's roster fell below 20 players. He said he will also work on putting together a coaching staff before spring practices begin in late April.

He said he was not deterred by the football team's recent past.

"This gives me a chance to start at the ground level," Davis said. "We can build from the beginning and create a culture that you want. That is something that is exciting to me."

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