|Title:||Head Softball Coach|
Mike Davenport is in his 14th season as head coach of the University of North Georgia softball program. He has been a familiar name to the North Georgia family where he is in his 17th year with the athletic department.
Under Davenport’s guidance, the softball program attributes much of its success to building a strong team atmosphere opening each school year with “RBI WEEK”, (Respect-Balance-Intensity). Team members come together and participate in team building exercises as well as a pre-season conditioning program. The squad is challenged mentally and physically as it finishes the week at the Pine Valley Ropes Course traversing both low and high elements. “RBI WEEK” has allowed the team to build each other’s trust and respect before entering each school year.
In his 13 years as head coach, Davenport has accumulated an overall record of 550-173. That record includes seven conference titles, six conference tournament crowns, three region championships and five World Series trips.
In 2013, Davenport led his squad to a 36-14 record and a sixth consecutive NCAA Division II tournament appearance. The Saints finished third in the Peach Belt Conference regular season standings and were ranked as high as fourth in the NFCA Top 25 poll. North Georgia held on to the sixth position for four consecutive weeks right in the middle of the PBC schedule.
In 2012, Davenport recorded his 500th career win with a PBC doubleheader sweep of Georgia College on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 and guided the Saints to their fourth-straight NCAA Division II tournament appearance. North Georgia continued its show of dominance with a pair of 15-game winning streaks. Davenport’s squad earned a berth in the Southeast Regional and had a late-game rally against Flagler College fall just short in the Saints’ bid for a fourth-straight Southeast Region title, but the Saints were still able to finish the season ranked 10th in the nation. It was the fourth-straight year North Georgia has finished ranked in the top-10 in Division II and the fifth time in a row the Saints finished inside the top 12.
The 2011 season continued a dynasty, as the Saints captured their third consecutive Peach Belt Conference regular season and tournament championships, and advanced to the Division II World Series for a third-straight year. Finishing the year as the No. 4 team in the land, the Saints were ranked in the nation’s top five for an unprecedented 30 straight weeks dating back to the 2009 season.
The 2010 season was a record breaking campaign as the squad put together 51 consecutive wins, the second longest winning streak in NCAA history, and made its second consecutive appearance at the Division II College World Series. Following back-to-back Peach Belt Conference regular season and tournament titles, the Saints clinched the Southeast Super Regional in Dahlonega and finished the year with a national ranking of No. 5 after being the nation’s top team for all 12 weeks of the regular season. Davenport picked up his 400th career victory with a doubleheader sweep at GCSU on April 10, 2010.
In 2009, Mike Davenport and the Saints posted a record of 50-5 on their way to the first of three-straight Peach Belt Conference Regular Season Championships, PBC Tournament Championships and NCAA Southeast Regional Championships to advance to their first-ever Division II College World Series. North Georgia spent all 12 weeks in the NFCA Division II Top-25, starting the year as the No. 11 team in the country, before moving up to No. 9 by week two, and rounding out the top-five by the third week. The Saints then spent the rest of the year in the nation’s top-five before grabbing the program’s first-ever No. 1 ranking on May 6, 2009 in the final regular season poll of the year. The Saints finished the season third in the country in the final poll of year.
In 2008, Davenport led his team to a 38-15 record, a third place regular season finish in the PBC, a runner-up finished in the Peach Belt Conference tournament, a runner-up finish in the NCAA South Atlantic Regional, and a final NCAA Division II ranking of 12. During the 2008 season, Davenport also picked up his 300th career win with a 3-2 extra-inning victory over Lander University on April 2.
Davenport led the North Georgia Softball Program to a 36-19 record overall and a 12-8 mark in the Peach Belt Conference during the 2007 season. During the 2005 season, he led the Saints to the Southern States Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship and the SSAC Tournament Championship. This marked the Saints fourth consecutive Conference Championship in a row and the program’s third consecutive Tournament Championship. He led the 2005 Saints to the program’s second consecutive National Tournament in Decatur, Ala. where North Georgia finished its membership in the NAIA with the Saints moving through the first round of the tournament with wins over the University of Mary, Point Loma University, and Aquinas College. The Saints advanced all the way to the quarterfinals with a first round win over Houston Baptist. North Georgia finished the season fifth in the NAIA National Tournament – the highest finish of any North Georgia athletic program since 1987.
Davenport began his career at North Georgia with the women’s basketball team in 1996 as Assistant Coach and served in that role until 2000 when he took over the roll as Head Softball Coach in August. He served in that role as well as instructor in the Health-Physical Education Department since. During his time with the North Georgia women’s basketball team, he helped guide the squad to three conference titles and three National Tournament (NAIA) appearances.
Davenport was born on December 23, 1968 in DuQuoin, Illinois. While growing up in central Illinois, he played basketball and baseball at Peoria’s Richwoods High School before moving to Central Oklahoma and graduating from Guthrie High School (Guthrie, Oklahoma). After playing one year of junior college baseball, he focused his attention on coaching and joined the rich tradition of Cowboy Baseball at Oklahoma State University under head coach Gary Ward as a student-assistant. The opportunity to coach led him to Gainesville, Florida, where he spent three years as an assistant baseball coach at Santa Fe Community College under head coach Harry Tholen. Davenport received the degree of Bachelor of Science in Recreation from the University of Florida in 1994, and received his M.Ed. in Physical Education from NGCSU in 1998.
Davenport is married to the former Melanie Ralston (Gainesville, Ga.) and the couple resides in Dahlonega, Ga.. They are the proud parents of Margaret “Isabella” and Michael “Harper."