Basketball coach Michele Davis achieves milestone 250 victories


Photo provided by Laurel Simer

Dan Piersma, Assistant Sports Editor

For only the fourth time in college history, a Utica College athletics coach has reached the 250-win mark. Women’s basketball coach Michele Davis reached the milestone on Feb. 8 when the team defeated Alfred University 72-59.

Davis is now in her 19th year with the team. Initially an assistant coach, she took over in the 2000-2001 season.

Davis joins the ranks with men’s hockey coach Gary Heenan, women’s hockey coach Dave Clausen and softball head coach Pat Mineo. 

Davis said that she was able to enjoy the accomplishment even though it was towards the end of the season. It was also a good moment to reflect on the years prior which led to the wins, she said.

“I’ve coached so many special players that have helped keep the consistency up,” Davis said.

With each of her teams, she never had many seniors, but that’s what made the teams so consistently good.

“Having players play on the team for all four years helps and at times makes the girls’ relationships more intimate,” Davis said

Davis has also made eight conference tournament appearances, two NCAA tournament appearances, four ECAC tournament appearances and won two conference championships.

Davis was named Coach of the Year after the 2002-2003 season in which the team finished 18-9. She has had 42 players named to All-Conference, three Players of the Year and two Rookie of the Years in the past 12 years.

She also earned her Master of Science in Liberal Studies from UC while coaching in 2011.

Davis said leaving the college because she’s having great success will never happen. Utica, she said, is her home and always will be. She is happy where she is at, and a big thing that it comes down to is that she sees all of her players as her family.

“Keeping coaches around builds the future and helps to support the past” Davis said

Davis said she loves this program and feels like she helped to build it along with the coaches that came before her and how much she has seen the college grow.

“When you have the support of alum who didn’t play for you, Davis said. “You know you made it.”

Davis has recently led her team to an Empire 8 conference tournament. A 15-10 record was good enough to secure the team their first tournament appearance since 2010-2011.

Athletic Director Dave Fontaine weighed in on this milestone.

“It’s a hard number to reach and we are very proud of what she’s been able to accomplish,” he said. 

Sophomore forward Sydney Przygoda said she is very happy to see her coach succeed.

“She puts so much into the team and I’m glad that it is getting recognized,” Przygoda said

Davis is so much more than just a coach to these girls–the relationship goes far beyond the court and that’s probably why she’s had so much success.

“She is always asking how my classes are going and giving me advice on what professors to take,” Przygoda said.

The player said the team is so united that they call themselves a family and have their own yearly traditions. 

“We have our own traditions just like any other family such as the pre-season BBQ and the holiday party,” Przygoda said.