From High School Athletics To Head Coach At Orange County’s First Four-Year University, Davis Enters New Season With Significant Recognition
COSTA MESA, Calif., September 15, 2016 – After 35 years of exceptional coaching leadership, women’s basketball head coach, Russ Davis, will be inducted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Hall of Fame this spring. Davis is a four-time recipient of the NAIA Coach of the Year and nine-time Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) Coach of the Year. He led the Vanguard University Lions to the 2008 NAIA National Championship. Davis is also a member of the Vanguard University Athletic Hall of Fame.
“For 21 years, Russ Davis has been the gold standard of what excellence looks like in the NAIA,” said Rhett Soliday, athletic director at Vanguard University. “He is not only a tremendous coach and leader of his program, but close friend and mentor to me. This award is so deserved and our entire campus community is thrilled to celebrate this honor with Russ.”
Davis arrived at Vanguard University in 1996. His teams with the Lions have averaged more than 26 wins and less than seven losses per season, with 18 trips to the NAIA National Tournament—transforming the collegiate team into one of the strongest women’s basketball programs in the NAIA. Coach Davis has 30 wins at the NAIA National Tournament, ranking him the highest of any active coach in the association.
“The NAIA has a strong reputation for character-driven athletics, so this national recognition of Russ Davis is something our university is incredibly proud of,” said Dr. Michael J. Beals, president of Vanguard University. “Coach Davis has always encouraged a high standard of athletic excellence, academic excellence, and character building during his coaching tenure with the Vanguard Lions, deeply changing the lives of our student athletes.”
Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, the NAIA represents 65,000 student-athletes who receive more than $500 million in athletic aid each year. Since 1937, it has been known as the governing body of athletics programs that are dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics.
Under the direction of the NAIA Hall of Famer, Vanguard University has had 14 First-Team All-Americans and 59 NAIA Scholar Athlete All-Americans; five of Davis’ own players were voted National Players of the Year, which no other coach in the NAIA has produced. Vanguard women’s basketball now ranks third in the history of the NAIA in overall number one rankings in coaches’ polls. They have won 11 GSAC Championships over the last 20 seasons, an achievement not achieved by any other program in the conference.
Russ Davis began his career as an assistant to the men’s program at Irvine’s Woodbridge High School in 1982. He moved to coaching women’s basketball at Woodbridge High School in 1991, and later moved to Estancia High School in Costa Mesa, where he revitalized the athletic program. After the 1995-96 season, Davis left Estancia High School for a position as assistant coach at Vanguard.
Over the years, Davis has established an outstanding reputation for the Vanguard women’s basketball team in the NAIA ranks, while becoming a popular figure among his coaching peers—including his roles as national rater for the NAIA, president and vice president for the NAIA Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), and member of the NAIA All-American committee.
In addition to his 21st season at Vanguard University, Davis currently coaches the Nike Cal Swish girls’ club team of Orange County, and serves on the Kodak Women’s Basketball All-American committee, and on the board of directors for the WBCA.
Under coach Davis, Vanguard’s women’s basketball kicks off its 2016-17 season playing Bethesda University of California on October 29 at 5:30 p.m., on their home court in Costa Mesa.
For more information on the coaches and team schedules for the Vanguard University Lions, visit www.vanguardlions.com.
MEDIA CONTACT: Amanda Irving
About Vanguard Lions
The Intercollegiate Athletic Program at Vanguard University is dedicated to the holistic growth and development of all student athletes, teaching them to lead Christ-centered lives on and off the field of competition. The program encourages a high standard of academic and athletic excellence that embraces character building. Along with the specific-sports instruction, the department seeks significance by providing the student athlete with the knowledge to impact his/her world through a lifetime of service to Christ.
The Vanguard Lions are leaders of character emulating Christ through faithfulness and selflessness, while passionately educating and influencing others to change the culture of sport. Learn more at www.vanguardlions.com
About Vanguard University
Vanguard University (VU) is a regionally ranked, private, Christian university of liberal arts and professional studies. Located ten minutes from Newport Beach and an hour from Los Angeles, Vanguard equips students for a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-centered leadership and service. Vanguard is committed to academic excellence, boasting small class sizes that are designed to cultivate lasting professor-mentor relationships that enhance the learning process. The 2016 U.S. News & World Report ranked Vanguard #13 in the Regional Colleges (West) category, #10 for Best Colleges for Veterans, and #19 for economic diversity. The Princeton Review ranked Vanguard a 2016 “Best in the West” regional college. Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission, Vanguard offers more than 30 degrees and certificates through its undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies programs. Please visit www.vanguard.edu