VENICE – If there was one coaching position squarely on Luke Davis’ radar, it was the Venice High boys basketball job.
Having visited the area in the past and having relatives that attended Venice High, Davis thought Venice would be a good landing spot to continue his coaching career.
Davis got close last year, landing an assistant coaching position on Ryan Power’s staff at North Port High. He did, however, tell Power that if the Venice position ever became open, he would apply.
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So when Mike Montgomery stepped down as Venice coach at the end of the season, Davis threw his hat in the ring.
Well, he’s landed his “dream job.”
“That was what I knew as a kid,” Davis said. “A lot of people will say they have a dream job, but it probably qualifies as my dream job.”
Power tweeted: Extremely happy for Coach Davis. He came in on day one and got straight to work. He is dedicated, motivated, and builds great relationships with student-athletes.
The soon-to-be 25-year-old Davis takes over a Venice team that finished 12-11 and lost to Riverview High in the district final but did not qualify for the region tournament.
“I have a lot of respect for Mike Montgomery,” Davis said. “I think he did an awesome 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 at Venice and aspires to bring the same to the boys basketball program.
“The school is big enough where you can develop a solid core group of basketball players,” he said. “When you add in those athletes from other sports, it could be a really, really good mix.”
Davis plans to meet with the student / athletes and faculty Thursday. The early plan is for him to teach ESE Science at Venice.
Next, building his coaching staff.
“I have a couple of guys in mind,” Davis said. “Build that support system for me and share the same philosophies that I do and want to put in the amount of work I want to put in as well.”
Then he plans to start open gyms, skill workouts and a weight training program.
In June, Davis hopes to have his players attend at least two camps around the state to get game action. “Playing as much as we can this summer will help with that,” he said.
Originally from Kansas City, Davis attended Archbishop O’Hara High School where he played under Mark Scanlon, a suit-and-tie wearing coach who has been inducted into the Missouri Basketball Hall of Fame.
“I called him five or 10 times in the last week asking him for advice,” Davis said. “He was always very calm and collected. He drilled that into me: Stay cool, calm and collected. He said that over and over and over again. Just the level of professionalism. “
That is the same type of atmosphere Davis plans to bring to Venice.
“They have a great culture. You don’t try to get too complicated with things, ”he said. “Just playing hard, respecting opponents and the rest will work itself out.”
Davis played NAIA college ball at Missouri Valley College. While he attended 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 just goes through the motions,” he said. “No matter what, play as hard as you can, something I did as a player.
“The biggest thing right now is setting the culture and getting the guys used to doing things year-round and showing them basketball can be as successful as every sport on campus.”
Dennis Maffezzoli is the deputy sports editor for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and chief reporter for Sarasota Herald-Tribune and HTpreps covering Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties. Support local journalism by subscribing.