|Steve Davenport went 2-20 in two seasons before being relieved of his duties as Savannah State coach on Wednesday.|
While most Division I football programs are putting the finishing touches on spring practice, Savannah State is moving in a totally different direction. Head football coach Steve Davenport has been let go by Savannah State according to a press release on the SSU athletic homepage. Davenport’s entire staff has been relieved of their duties outside of cornerback coach Corey Barlow, who was named interim head coach.
Breaking news: Savannah State head football coach Steve Davenport and several assistants have been fired.
— The Tiger’s Roar (@SSUTigersRoar) April 17, 2013
Savannah State athletic director Sterling Steward Jr’s statement was short and to the point.
“We wish Coach Davenport and his staff success with all their future endeavors,” he said.
Wednesday evening Davenport told Donald Heath of the Savannah Morning News he was not given a reason for his dismissal, though there had been some friction between he and Steward.
“I don’t really know (why) and I didn’t ask,” said Davenport about his abrupt dismissal. “Me and the boss (athletics director Sterling Steward) have been clashing for a while.”
Davenport was 2-20 during his two seasons at SSU, going 1-10 both season. SSU received national attention last season as the team lost its first two games to Oklahoma State and Florida State by a combined score of 139-0.
After the team completed its spring scrimmage, Steward was asked if he and his team were looking forward to the 2013 season.
“Absolutely, if you’re a ball player, you can’t wait to go and do it in front of people,” he said. “We’re excited about it.”
Obviously, two wins in two years is not the kind of production you want out of your football team. The timing on this one strikes me as very odd, however. If Davenport’s firing was based solely off of production, or lack thereof, he could have been gone at the end of the season. It’s rare that a team decides to go in a different direction in mid-April.
Davenport told Heath he and Steward had been clashing for quite sometime, but declined to elaborate.
“Some day I’ll have a story to tell, just not now.”
Whatever the reason for the coaches dismissal, his dismissal is just the latest entry in the story of a program that has become the bottom of the barrel of Division I football. Since moving to Division I in 2000, Savannah State has won just 20 games, including three winless seasons. The team hasn’t had a coach last more than three seasons in over 21 years.
— Melvin Hackett (@melly_mel_06) April 18, 2013
Until Savannah State makes changes from the top down, its football team will continue to be a national punchline.