Panthers coach Lucious Davis looks on during a news conference Wednesday to announce that he will be returning next season for his fourth year. Davis has led Albany to two straight arena league titles. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ALBANY -- As first reported by The Herald after the PIFL Championship game last month, Albany Panthers head coach Lucious Davis is returning for another season, and Wednesday he was rewarded for winning the team's second straight arena league title with a new contract.
Albany GM Will Carter said Wednesday during a press conference at the team's headquarters on Washington Street in downtown Albany that he and Davis reached an agreement Tuesday night that will keep Davis at the helm of the Panthers' team through the end of the next season.
There was a report prior to the title game against the Richmond Raiders --- who Albany beat, 60-56 ---- that claimed Davis would not be returning after this season. But Panthers owner Rod Chappell, as well as Davis, disputed that report, and Chappell told The Herald moments after hoisting the PIFL Cup that "We're champs again, and he's coming back. I've already talked to him."
Carter, on Wednesday, was glad to finally have the details ironed out so that the team could move forward and begin its quest for an unprecedented third straight crown.
"He's been an asset to the organization and we're glad that we could get him back to Albany," Carter said of Davis, who was hired in 2010 for the franchise's inaugural season and is 33-8 in three years.
Davis said that he made the decision to return to Albany after talking the terms of his contract over with his family.
“They were all very supportive,” Davis said of his family, which resides in Texas. “My kids didn’t really like it, but they’re old enough to understand it.
“I love it here. I love the organization, the players, this city.”
Keeping Davis put is Carter’s first step in replicating the Panthers’ championship season. With stability restored on the sidelines, the focus of the Panthers’ organization now shifts fully toward enticing the team’s core to return for what Carter believes will be a three-peat season.
“A lot of our players grew up in the era of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant and know what kind of message three consecutive championships sends,” Carter said. “That will be our goal.”
Davis said he hopes his decision to stay will prompt the bulk of the Panthers team to reunite with him for another championship run.
”There’s a lot of pressure heading into next year,” Davis said. “To win it all again next year is going to be a challenge. But with their commitment, I know we’ll be successful.”