Brad Davis describes journey to becoming an LSU football coach
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - For over two decades, Brad Davis was away from home, away from many of the people he loved the most. He was praying for that one special opportunity, that would reunite them all. Then, came the phone call.
“I picked it up just on a whim,” Davis said. “I got a lump in my throat.”
Davis’ story began in north Baton Rouge, a place where there could have been many excuses to fail, but none of those excuses would be accepted at home.
“It got rough and we felt it and yet you know my dad held us accountable, he held us to a standard. It didn’t matter what our friends were doing, it didn’t matter what’s going around us,” said Davis. “The standard inside this house was you worked hard.”
Davis played high school football at Belaire and despite the Bengals’ dreadful record of 0-10 during his senior season, his dream was to play big-time college football. One of his friends filmed him his senior year and sent tapes out to everyone.
“I made a highlight tape probably 17-18 minutes and we just started mailing them off to different colleges, said Davis.”
One of those tapes impressed the Oklahoma Sooners, who offered him a full-ride scholarship. Davis would win a National Championship in his third year in 2000 and was part of multiple Big 12 Championship teams.
“Oklahoma believed in me and you know for me I think again that it was one of those things that God was calling me to leave Baton Rouge for a little while to go grow some more,” Davis said. “And it was probably one of the best things to happen to me to be honest with you.”
After Davis’ playing days came to an end in the early 2000′s he quickly transitioned into coaching. Davis got his first coaching gig at Southern Lab from 2003-2004 as the offensive line coach and offensive coordinator.
Davis then left Southern Lab for Wayne State a Division II school for $4,000 a year in 2005. Then he lived in some obscure places like Crete, Nebraska where he was the offensive line coach and running game coordinator at Doane College. Portland, Oregon where he coached at Portland State from 2009-2013 and coached at James Madison in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
The Baton Rouge native eventually broke into the Southeastern Conference as an assistant at Texas A&M, then at Arkansas in the summer of 2021, Davis finally received that special call back home.
“I got a call gauging my interest in the job which at that time I said absolutely, said Davis”
Then Tigers head coach Ed Oregron hired Davis as the new offensive line coach.
“I couldn’t pass up the chance to come home, this is home man, this is Baton Rouge there’s nothing like it in the world,” Davis said. “I got my parents here, my siblings, so many great memories. I would have regretted not coming here and taking advantage of this opportunity.”
So, Davis had the job, but he quickly learned what it was like, to have the job. LSU’s offensive line was a collective whipping boy amongst the fans and the media. These guys can’t block!
The offensive line improved, then seven games into the year LSU announced coach Oregron wouldn’t be back in 2022. Davis’ future with the Tigers was now in doubt, just four months after returning home.
As the chaotic season started to wind down, Davis learned he might get the chance to make history. LSU Athletic Director Scott Woodward calls me in, if we make a bowl game you’re the coach.
The Tigers indeed won the season finale against Texas A&M 27-24 in dramatic fashion as Jaray Jenkins caught the game-winning touchdown with less than 30 seconds left to play to become bowl eligible.
“There was about a 24 hour period for me where I went through the wave of emotions you know from excitement, fear, anxiety. What do I do?” Davis said. “You know and then it just set in. God presented this opportunity for me so I knew I was capable of doing it.”
Davis officially became the program’s first-ever black head football coach. For roughly six weeks or so, he would lead LSU. It was a less than ideal situation for countless reasons as the Tigers lost to Kansas State in the Texas Bowl. Still. Davis made no excuses and was emotional after the game.
Roughly a month earlier Brian Kelly had been announced as LSU’s permanent, full-time head coach. Kelly retained only one assistant coach from the previous staff, Brad Davis.
“Me being the one guy that was retained truly it was God. There’s nothing else I can attribute it to.”
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