Davis to succeed Gilligan as Cardinals’ baseball coach

Published 10:12 am Friday, January 15, 2016

Lamar University did not wait until after the baseball season to unveil who it’s next baseball coach will be.

LSU assistant Will Davis, 31, has been named the Cardinals’ head coach. He will take over for Jim Gilligan at the conclusion of this upcoming season, which Gilligan announced would be his 39th and last as the skipper in September.

“I am honored and thankful to be named the next head baseball coach at Lamar University,” Davis said in a statement. “When Jason [Henderson, athletic director] called me to tell me the wonderful news, I couldn’t help but think how blessed and lucky I am. Today is the day I have dreamed about ever since I was a young boy watching my dad impact young men’s lives in the dugout as a head coach at a Division I university.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Davis’ father Randy is a former Louisiana Tech head coach.

As for replacing a longtime championship coach like Gilligan, Davis said LU baseball is Gilligan’s “life work.”

“I plan to continue his legacy. I will lead a program that the fans, community and Lamar University will be excited to follow and support.”

Davis started his career as the director of baseball operations at LSU in 2008 and was promoted to assistant coach for the next year, when the Tigers beat Texas in three games to win the College World Series championship. The 56-17 season was one of three 50-win campaigns with Davis on staff.

As an assistant, Davis has coached at first and third bases and worked with catchers and outfielders.

‘Will impressed several people during his interview with his baseball acumen, belief in academics and plans for the Lamar University baseball program,” Henderson said. “I believe he will come in and immediately put us in a place to be successful and challenge for league titles and postseason play.”

LSU has landed five straight top-10 ranked signing classes with Davis’ help, including the 2014 team that was voted No. 1 by Perfect Game. Among his recruits are 2015 fourth-round draft pick Kade Scivicque, a catcher selected by the Detroit Tigers, and Philadelphia Phillies ninth-rounder Mark Laird.

Not only has LSU been to four College World Series with Davis, the Tigers has won three SEC regular-season and three SEC tournament championships.

Davis played at LSU from 2004-07 and earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and master’s in kinesiology from the university.

“I am so happy for Will to have received this tremendous opportunity … and he is ready for it,” LSU coach Paul Maineri said. “To have the challenge of following in the footsteps of one of the giants of college baseball, Jim Gilligan, is a great honor and responsibility that Will Davis will embrace.”

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

email author More by I.C.