SPRINGFIELD, Fla. (WMBB) – Rutherford introduced new head girls basketball coach Tony Davis to the team and family members on Wednesday.
Davis has spent the last six years coaching girls and boys basketball at Mowat Middle School but has an extensive resume coaching high school basketball around the Panhandle previously.
“I’ve enjoyed the middle school, but I was very interested in a new challenge in life,” Davis said. “So, this presented a great opportunity, a great challenge, it’s a place I wanted to be. A lot of people considered this to be an out-of-the-box move but it’s a perfect move for me.”
Many candidates applied for the Rutherford girls basketball job and Davis said it was a position he had to apply for.
“In every program, you’re trying to build something, but here, they’ve built something already with a young group of girls that’s been battle-tested,” Davis said. “So, with that being said, my job is to just come in and be the CEO and build these relationships with them and continue to grow them and develop them. I think Rutherford is built for the next few years to do some great things.”
Former head coach Jasmine Threatt led the Rams in the previous three seasons to a 57-20 record but left the program to pursue a career and family opportunity in another state.
Kiona Selders, the assistant coach for the Rams in recent years, will be staying with the team and was in full support of the new hire.
“Coach Davis, he’s been around following us, watching us,” Selders said. “He has his strategy of teams, he has athletes on his team as well and knows how to push them, continue to bonds, and he’s just been around so he’s going to bring knowledge. I’m young so I’m always learning knowledge.”
The Rams are coming off their best season in program history, finishing 24-4 and reaching the Class 4A Region Finals.
They will return a very young and incredibly talented roster and Davis said his immediate goal is to make it to the very top.
“A lot of coaches are scared to talk about the ultimate goal, which is to win a state championship,” Davis said. “I’m not afraid of it because every day we’re going to focus on those things, we’re going to practice like it’s our last practice. If you want to build a championship program you’ve got to have a championship practice.”
Wednesday marked day one of the new era under coach Davis, and Selders said the entire team is on board to make a push at state.
“Like Coach Davis said, tell your family, tell your friends to go ahead and reserve their rooms for Lakeland because we’re coming,” Selders said.