Venice High hires North Port High assistant as new boys’ basketball coach
VENICE — If there was a coaching job on Luke Davis’ radar, it was the Venice High Boys basketball job.
Having visited the area in the past and having parents who attended Venice High, Davis thought Venice would be a good landing spot to pursue his coaching career.
Davis came closer last year, landing an assistant coaching job on Ryan Power’s staff at North Port High. He told Power, however, that if the Venice position ever became open, he would apply.
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So when Mike Montgomery quit coaching Venice at the end of the season, Davis threw his hat in the ring.
Well, he landed his “dream job”.
“That’s what I knew when I was a kid,” Davis said. “A lot of people will say they have a dream job, but it’s probably my dream job.”
Power tweeted: Extremely happy for Coach Davis. He arrived the first day and got straight to work. He is dedicated, motivated and builds great relationships with student-athletes.
Davis, soon to be 25, takes over a Venice side that finished 12-11 and lost to Riverview High in the district final, but did not qualify for the regional tournament.
“I have a lot of respect for Mike Montgomery,” Davis said. “I think he’s done a wonderful job. It helps to be young and single with no obligations. I’ll be able to be the year-round coach they’re looking for.
Davis is aware of the success of major sports programs in Venice and aspires to bring the same to the men’s basketball program.
“The school is big enough for you to develop a strong core of basketball players,” he said. “When you add these athletes from other sports, it could be a really, really good mix.”
Davis plans to meet with the students/athletes and faculty on Thursday. The foreground is that he teaches ESE sciences in Venice.
Then, the constitution of his team of coaches.
“I have a few guys in mind,” Davis said. “Build this support system for me and share the same philosophies that I want to put into the amount of work that I want to do as well.”
Next, he plans to start open gyms, skills training and a strength training program.
In June, Davis hopes his players will attend at least two camps around the state to get some action. “Playing as much as possible this summer will help with that,” he said.
A native of Kansas City, Davis attended Archbishop O’Hara High School where he played under Mark Scanlon, a suit-and-tie coach who was inducted into the Missouri Basketball Hall of Fame.
“I’ve called him five or 10 times in the last week asking for his advice,” Davis said. “He was always very calm and collected. He told me this: Stay cool, calm and serene. He said that over and over and over again. Just the level of professionalism.”
It’s the same kind of atmosphere that Davis plans to bring to Venice.
“They have a great culture. You’re not trying to complicate things for yourself,” he said. “You just have to play hard, respect the opponents and the rest will take care of itself.”
Davis played NAIA varsity ball at Missouri Valley College. While attending Missouri State, he became an assistant basketball coach at Parkview High School in Springfield, Missouri.
“I really want to make a name for Venice basketball, not something that goes through the motions,” he said. “Anyway play as hard as you can, which is what I did as a player.
“The most important thing right now is to set up the culture and get the guys used to doing things all year round and showing them that basketball can be as successful as any sport on campus. .”
Dennis Maffezzoli is Associate Sports Editor for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and Chief Reporter for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and HTpreps covering Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties. Support local journalism by subscribing.