Lamar Hires LSU’s Davis As Successor
Lamar had been searching for quite some time for a replacement for long-time head coach Jim Gilligan, who’s retiring following the 2016 season, and it went outside the box in the hiring process with the addition of LSU assistant Will Davis.
The Cardinals are going to the opposite end of the spectrum from Gilligan, hoping to infuse some energy into a program that should be a consistent contender at the mid-major level. Gilligan, though, has had 38 great seasons with the Cardinals. He put the program on the national map and led the Cardinals to 13 NCAA postseason appearances, while also becoming the 32nd coach in NCAA history to eclipse the 1,000-win plateau.
As for Davis, few in the industry are surprised he’s finally getting his chance to be a head coach. Davis has had plenty of opportunities in the past to move up the coaching ranks, but as a Baton Rouge native and former LSU player, he’s consistently chosen to stay around Paul Mainieri’s program. It wasn’t until this past summer that things deviated from the norm for Davis, as he was a finalist for the New Orleans head coaching job, which ultimately went to another former LSU standout player in Blake Dean.
“I am honored and thankful to be named the next head baseball coach at Lamar University. When Jason called me to tell me the wonderful news, I couldn’t help but think how blessed and lucky I am,” said Davis. “Today is the day I have dreamed about ever since I was a young boy watching my dad impact young men’s lives in the dugout as a head coach at a (NCAA) Division I university.”
Now, patience is a virtue for the 31-year-old who’s very familiar with the Golden Triangle (Southeast) part of Texas. Davis, who played for the Tigers from 2004-07, spent the last eight seasons on the LSU coaching staff, being in charge of the team from a defensive standpoint, particularly the catchers and outfielders. While with the Tigers, Davis helped the program reach the College World Series four times (’08, ’09, ’13 and ’15), while also capturing a national title in 2009. LSU finished last season with one of the nation’s elite defensive clubs, especially in the outfield, on the way to a 50-plus win season.
There are still details to be worked out about Davis’ immediate future. For instance, while he’s taking over the program after the 2016 season, it is still not a definite that he will spend the ’16 campaign with the Cardinals. Instead, he may still stay with the Tigers through ’15, while of course making the short trek to Beaumont, Texas, after the season. That situation should be ironed out sooner rather than later.
Davis becomes yet another former LSU player in the regional coaching ranks. Dean is at UNO, Justin Hill is the head coach at McNeese State, and now, there’s Davis.