BY MARY RINGWALD, STAFF WRITER
Since the school’s opening in 1950, the Bellarmine men’s basketball program is something that has brought the entire BU community together.
Coach Scott Davenport is more than familiar with the tradition of athletic talent, school spirit and strong coaches.
Davenport, a Louisville native, led the Ballard High School boys basketball team to a state title in 1988.
He then served nine years as an assistant coach alongside University of Louisville head coaches Denny Crum and Rick Pitino and now enters his 10th year as head coach at Bellarmine.
He is a well-respected coach who has accomplished more in his nine years than any other Bellarmine coach, but he does not revel in them.
“The winning speaks for itself,” Davenport said, “Three Final Fours in five years and a national championship speaks for itself, but my favorite memory is seeing young people start a journey that is going to last 40 to 50 years, for the rest of their lives.”
Davenport has coached 48 GLVC All-Academic Team members over his past nine years as head coach. He pushes his players to do their best on the court and in the classroom.
Previous and current players describe Davenport as a major influence in their lives.
“He teaches you more than just about the game of basketball. He teaches you about life and how to be a better person both on and off the court,” Jake Thelen said. “And he teaches you how to handle situations that are thrown your way. He was the reason why Bellarmine was three of the greatest years of my life.”
Current senior and team captain George Suggs echoed Thelen’s sentiments.
“He’s been an important influence during a time in my life when I have been figuring out who I want to be for the rest of my life. As a coach, he expects a lot more than your best on the court. He sets high expectations in all aspects of life,” Suggs said.
Davenport said he takes pride in the entire Bellarmine student body’s commitment to education.
“I walked the campus and back,” Davenport said, “and I look to see students going to class to do the best they can, but they are trying to chart their course for the rest of their lives. You don’t see that very often, and that’s why it is so pure and so special.”
Bellarmine President Dr. Joseph J. McGowan said he has been impressed with Davenport since his early beginnings as a coach. Davenport has been a role model for not only his players, but also children in the Louisville community, McGowan said.
“He loves kids. He does a great job with the (basketball) camps, but bringing in kids on several occasions on his TV show, but also in the locker room sometimes before a game,” McGowan said. “He pays attention just like all of us, and I love that.”
The Bellarmine community holds a special place in Davenport’s heart, and it drives him to come to work each day.
It is the hard work and enthusiasm of the students, professors, athletes, coaches and administration that keep Davenport smiling, McGowan said.
“He is somebody who enjoys community and being in community and contributing to community,” McGowan said. “So I think as I talk with him and see him interact with other students and faculty and staff, he really seems to love being a part of Bellarmine. I think we get affected by his enthusiasm and his passion and then, in turn, I think we inspire him.”
Many wonder why Davenport has decided to stay at Bellarmine after so much success, but he wonders why he would ever leave.
“Parents and recruits ask me all the time, ‘Why are you still here?’ And I say, ‘Why would I leave?’ It’s such a great place,” Davenport said.
McGowan and Davenport agreed at the end of the 2015 season to extend Davenport’s relationship with Bellarmine until 2019-2020.
Although the university does not offer contracts to its employees, this agreement is enough to ensure that Davenport will be a part of the Bellarmine community for another five years.