SEFFNER — The Evan Davis era at Armwood High begins today with the first official fall football practice. Davis takes over for Sean Callahan, who resigned from coaching in the spring after 27 years leading the Hawks.
Here are five things to know about Davis as he begins his first season in the head coach's office.
1. He now lives in south Lakeland, but Davis grew up in Seffner. He went to Armwood High from 1999-2000 to 2003-04 and was the backup to quarterback Jameel Williams on the 2003 state championship team. He earned an academic scholarship to USF and graduated in three years. He joined the Armwood staff in 2005 as a junior varsity coach and became a varsity assistant the next year.
Aside from 2004, Davis has been a part of the Armwood program since his freshman year. His wife, Ashley, is a 2007 graduate of Armwood. Ashley is pregnant with the couple's first child, which is due any day.
"I could spend my whole career here, and I don't think that's a bad thing," he said. "I see some of my classmates who leave here and move on, but for me, my whole family is here, both sets of grandparents, aunts and uncles, everybody is here. The thought of leaving isn't something I thought about."
2. Davis, 31, said he never gave much thought to being Armwood's head coach one day. He said he turned down head coaching opportunities at Tampa Catholic and Plant City to remain an assistant with Callahan. When Callahan resigned a year earlier than expected, Davis was tabbed to take his place.
"That was never the ultimate goal of mine," he said. "The more I hung around the kids the more I wanted to make this a career. But it was never set in my mind. I think (being the head coach) will set in on Aug. 18 (preseason game against Manatee). Having to give a pregame speech, putting on the headset, walking out on the field, that's when it will set in."
3. He was the offensive coordinator prior to becoming head coach. Davis inherits a team that is loaded on both sides of the ball. DL Malcolm Lamar is a four-star recruit. RB Brian Snead rushed for more than 2,000 yards last season. And QB Devin Black is a run-pass threat. Davis believes there are five Division I-A players on the offense and possibly six or seven by season's end.
"Yes, there are high expectations," Davis said. "Especially outside of these walls. We know it. And look, if we do well this season everybody is going to say it's Coach Callahan's team. So for me, the expectations are going to be two or three years down the road."
4. Callahan will remain a teacher at Armwood, so Davis will have his mentor on campus. Davis, however, will not park in Callahan's front spot by the fieldhouse. "Can't get myself to do it," he said.
There is also a plaque over his new office that still reads: "Sean Callahan, Head Coach." But Davis will install some changes this season.
"I'll add my own flavor to things," he said. "We'll condition on a Saturday after games. We'll wear warm ups to match each other on game days instead of a suit and tie. We'll structure practice a little differently. But mainly, I just have to guide the ship. All of the elements are there. I'll put up my own flag, but that's the only thing different on the ship."
5. Davis was a social studies teacher until this year. Because he became the head football coach, he was reassigned to physical education.
"That's how it is right now," Davis said. "Maybe someday down the road I can get back to teaching social studies and then weightlifting at the end of the day."