SHARONVILLE - Princeton High School has turned to one of their own to lead their girls' basketball program as former Viking great Dee Davis is returning to her alma mater.
The 2003 Princeton High grad earned All-American selections from McDonald’s WBCA, Street & Smith, Nike and Parade during her time at Princeton sporting No. 10. She's one of three McDonald's All-Americans from Princeton joining Kelsey Mitchell and Darius Bazley.
“We quickly identified an individual that is going to lead the Lady Vikes Basketball player in the future,” announced Joe Roberts, athletic director at Princeton City Schools to members of the Lady Vikings team. “Coach Davis has always been a Princeton Viking. With her banners hanging in our arena, she went on to the highest level of professional basketball, and we are looking forward to the return of our 2003 graduate onto our home court."
Principal Ron Bollmer introduced Davis at a Tuesday morning press conference and recalled having her in class as a student noting she worked just as hard in the classroom as she did on the court.
"There's an old saying from (former Alabama) coach Bear Bryant and this is it: 'When mama calls it's time to come home,'" Bollmer said
Davis most recently has been the director of basketball operations for the University of Texas at Arlington. She previously held the same post at Tennessee State in 2019-20 and at Bradley 2018-2019.
Prior to her stops at Bradley and Tennessee State, Davis spent 10 years at University School of Nashville where she served as a physical education teacher and admissions associate in addition to coaching both basketball and softball. Davis also served as Merit Pro Combine Director for Merit Management Group, Inc., since 2013, helping organize the annual event which provides a platform for draft prospects, free agents and graduating seniors a chance to be evaluated by scouts.
"I'm ready to get in the gym and work with these young ladies and to impact the community in general," Davis said. "I'm hoping we can get a lot of people back in the building post-COVID. We want to pack the gym, support these young ladies and take them to new heights."
The arena she hopes to pack is considerably larger than the one she played in across the street from the current campus. Princeton High School was a base site for this past season's district and regional boys and girls basketball tournaments.
"Walking into that gym is an amazing feeling," Davis said. "It makes me feel even better to see my name up in the stands. It means that much more and I'm just proud. I want these young ladies to have those types of experiences as well. The first to win three state championships, there should be any more firsts really because we want to continue to grow every year."
As a player, Davis was a point guard at Vanderbilt leading the Commodores to a 99-33 record and two NCAA Sweet 16 appearances. She scored 1,092 points and is Vandy's all-time assist leader with 730, leading them to a pair of SEC titles.
Davis was a two-time All-SEC selection and WBCA All-American honorable mention as a senior. She graduated from Vanderbilt with a bachelor of science in communication and was named to the 2017 Southeastern Conference (SEC) 2017 Class of Women's Legends.
Following her collegiate career at Vanderbilt, Davis was a second-round pick (14th overall) by the Houston Comets in the 2007 WNBA Draft. She participated in the Seattle Storm’s 2008 training camp and played a season professionally overseas before returning to the WNBA and spending one season with the San Antonio Stars in 2010.
The new head of the Lady Vikings feels the relationships she's established along the way will help her advise future Princeton players as they continue their basketball careers.
Davis replaces Jill Phillips who resigned on March 16. Phillips had 375 career victories and is Princeton's all-time win leader. Phillips also coached Davis at Princeton.
"Coach Phillips has been very instrumental in my career being able to play for her and follow her throughout her career to see the successes she's had and the mentorship she's been able to provide," Davis said. "The lucky thing for me is she's still going to be in the building so I can lean on her for advice."
Princeton last won a state championship in 2014 under Jill Phillips when they had former Ohio Ms. Basketball Kelsey Mitchell who later played at Ohio State and in the WNBA. This past year's Lady Vikings team was 15-7 with three playoffs wins until COVID-19 halted their postseason in late February.
"I feel like they know it's going to be a challenge for them," Davis said after meeting with her team. "They're going to get pushed in the right way. I'm excited for the competition. I'm excited for the challenge. We get in here and get working, I believe we're going to be very competitive."