When Jerry Davis retired in February 2008, the longtime Gainesville boys basketball coach took with him a long list of accomplishments.
During his 28-year tenure, he won 701 games, 24 subregion and region titles and two state titles, and although he now spends more time fishing than manning the sidelines, he is still impacting the game of basketball. Specifically when it comes to coaching.
A prime example is inside the gym at Wheeler High in Marietta, where former Gainesville player and coach Doug Lipscomb has turned the Wildcats into one of the premier Class AAAAA programs in the state. In his 17-year career there, Lipscomb has won five state titles, the last one coming in 2008 with two close friends of his sitting alongside, fellow Gainesville alums, Chuck Hendrix and Mario Mays.
“To do that with two guys you know and are like family with is very unique,” said Hendrix, who played under Davis from 1994-98. “It was unique because we all had the same foundation. We all kind of got our styles from Coach Davis...we tweaked it a little bit and brought our personal flair to it.
“We let the kids play a little more,” he added. “Back in the day, it was more structured with refined plays. Now, kids are more athletic so we let them get up and down the floor more. But when we’re in a half-court set we sort of adopted Coach Davis’ style and know how to execute plays.”
Now, Hendrix has a chance to bring that style to another basketball program.
After coaching under Lipscomb for one season, Hendrix was offered and accepted the head coach position at Pebblebrook High in Mableton, which competes in Region 4-AAAAA.
“It’s kind of surreal because I didn’t expect it so quick,” Hendrix said.
Lipscomb wasn’t surprised at the hiring.
“Chuck is very intelligent and knows basketball,” said Lipscomb, who coached under Davis for seven years. “Along with Mario, both of those guys are capable of coaching at the high school level.”
A lot of that has to do with the lessons learned from Davis.
“We really appreciate everything he’s done for us,” Lipscomb said. “For me, it’s two-fold, since I played for him and I coached under him. I gained a lot of knowledge from Coach Davis, as well as Seth Vining.”
That knowledge is now being taught to Hendrix and Mays, who Lipscomb coached in the ninth grade.
Although the trio experienced the highest level of success last season, the reunion was not finalized until after both Mays and Hendrix did not get a call back for a job they both applied for: the head coach vacancy at Gainesville High.
“We never got an interview and I don’t think we were ever seriously considered,” Hendrix said. “I felt we both deserved an interview.”
As it went, Gainesville hired Todd Cottrell, who led the Red Elephants to a region title and a berth in the Class AAA semifinals this year. Mays said Gainesville hired the right guy.
“They got a great coach now,” Mays said. “I kind of wondered why I didn’t at least get a phone call, but it’s water under the bridge now and I have my eyes focused in a completely different direction.”
Currently that’s alongside Lipscomb, his friend and mentor.
“The way I look at it is I’m in a great position,” Mays said. “I know eventually my time will come and I’m going to continue to be patient.”
According to Lipscomb, Mays’ time may come sooner than later.
“It might be hard for me to keep him long,” Lipscomb said.
With the Davis lineage, combined with the link to Lipscomb, who has seen seven of his former assistants take head coaching jobs, that statement may be true.
And when Mays does get a head coaching gig, it’ll be just another accomplishment to add to Davis’ resume.