Indiana basketball coach Mike Davis said there have been other things happening the past few weeks that have made him more than just physically sick.
He denied rumors that he had resigned in the past week. The initial rumor was that he resigned in the locker room following the Wisconsin game Wednesday, and later that he had resigned after practice Friday and had informed his team of his plans.
“People say some amazing things,” Davis said after IU’s 70-67 loss to Iowa. “All I can say is that it’s not true and I’m going to leave it at that.”
He also spoke about reports that many fans, including students, had planned a “blackout” for Saturday’s game, in which fans would wear black shirts to make a statement that Davis should be fired. There were just a few black shirts in the student section.
“Why was it so important to make a statement when we were just one game out of first going into the game?” Davis said. “I just don’t understand it. People are so focused on making a statement about me, but they never think about how that statement affects my players.”
“I’d like someone to show me how Michigan State fans are planning to wear black at their next home game after they lost to Minnesota on the road,” Davis said. “Does a statement need to be made there, too? Sure, we’ve lost four road games, but there’s a lot of teams that have done the same thing.”
But as Davis knows all too well, there aren’t a lot of coaches held to the same degree of scrutiny, nor is anyone else in the unenviable position of having to be the guy that followed Bob Knight at Indiana.
ESPN’s Digger Phelps and Jay Bilas were pretty harsh in their condemnation of Davis last night, both suggesting that a mere case of the flu shouldn’t be enough to keep a coach off the bench. Though Bilas admitted it was “ridiculous” to ask Davis if he were resigning, Phelps was insistent that a coach had no credibility asking players to deal with adversity if he couldn’t do his own job while under the weather.
To which I can only respond, the flu has become more contagious since Digger was coaching four hundred years ago. If Davis had contaminated the entire squad, his assistants and all the working media yesterday, would that have satisfied Phelps?