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Texas High School Football: Brent Davis set for return to South Texas at Gregory-Portland

The Corpus Christi Caller Times logo The Corpus Christi Caller Times 1/22/2021 Len Hayward, Corpus Christi Caller Times
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PORTLAND — Brent Davis spent part of his school life in Calallen while his father, Bobby, was the head football coach for the Wildcats in the late 1970s. And he was always envious of Gregory-Portland.

Gregory-Portland had one of the top football teams in the area at the time and its overall athletic program was highly successful.

“You’d go to track meets and Gregory-Portland was going to dominate, you go to the football field and Gregory-Portland was going to dominate, on the basketball court … girls and boys teams were good and the baseball team was dominant,” said Davis, who spent his final two years in high school at Wolfforth Frenship near Lubbock. “It was the envy of the Coastal Bend and here I am, I get to be a part of it and try to bring some of that back.”

a man wearing a suit and hat: Gregory-Portland announces Brent Davis as their new football coach and athletic director, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, at Gregory-Portland High School. Davis previously coached at San Angelo Central. © Annie Rice/Caller-Times Gregory-Portland announces Brent Davis as their new football coach and athletic director, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, at Gregory-Portland High School. Davis previously coached at San Angelo Central.

Davis was named the new head football coach and athletic director of Gregory-Portland ISD on Thursday and was introduced to local media during a news conference on Thursday night. During the press conference, Davis highlighted Gregory-Portland’s past success in sports such as football, specifically mentioning former coaches Ray Akins, Bruce Bush and George Harris, and was eager to be part of the program.

a man wearing a hat and sunglasses: Gregory-Portland announces Brent Davis as their new football coach and athletic director, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, at Gregory-Portland High School. Davis previously coached at San Angelo Central. © Annie Rice/Caller-Times Gregory-Portland announces Brent Davis as their new football coach and athletic director, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, at Gregory-Portland High School. Davis previously coached at San Angelo Central.

Davis was among around 60 applicants for the job and one of six finalists and will come to the area after a successful 12-year stint leading Class 6A San Angelo Central. Davis will earn $135,000 a year and will begin his new job on Feb. 1. The job opened in December when former coach Rick Rhoades announced he would retire at the end of his contract.

“I’ve always looked at this job even when I was at Banquete, Alice and Sinton and then other places,” Davis said Thursday night. “This has always been a destination job for a lot of coaches. It’s a prestigious place that’s got a lot of history. Anytime you can follow great coaches like I mentioned, it’s fantastic because you know those guys had success there for a reason.”

Gregory-Portland ISD’s superintendent Michelle Cavazos said she met with the district’s current coaching staff and also sent a survey to athletes and parents to help outline what the district wanted in an athletic director and football coach.

The six finalists met with a seven-person internal interview panel that included district administrators and former coaches. Cavazos said Davis fit the profile of what the district was looking for, and Davis said their interview “turned into a conversation.”

“He is one of the winningest and most accomplished football coaches in the state,” Cavazos said. “He’s won almost everywhere he has been and more importantly created a winning, positive culture for all of his student athletes and staff wherever he has gone. He’s left every program in better shape. We are fortunate to have someone of his caliber, character and integrity to come lead our athletic program into the future.”

a man wearing a suit and tie: Gregory-Portland announces Brent Davis as their new football coach and athletic director, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, at Gregory-Portland High School. Davis previously coached at San Angelo Central. © Annie Rice/Caller-Times Gregory-Portland announces Brent Davis as their new football coach and athletic director, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, at Gregory-Portland High School. Davis previously coached at San Angelo Central.

Davis, 56, spent much of his 34-year coaching career in South Texas. He had head coaching stops in Banquete, Alice and Sinton. He has a career record of 196-103-1 and was 95-46 at San Angelo Central, winning six district titles playing well known state powers Midland Lee (now Legacy), Abilene High and Odessa Permian each year.

He helped lead Banquete to its first playoff appearance in 23 years in 1996, led Sinton to the Class 3A state championship game in 2001 and in 2008, while at Alice, led the Coyotes to its first undefeated district championship in 23 years.

Plus, his wife, Toni, is a native of Corpus Christi, attended Tuloso-Midway High School and went to Texas A&M-Kingsville, which was also a driving factor in Davis returning to the area.

Davis said he was expecting to meet the athletes on Friday morning before he returns to San Angelo. He will take over a program that has not made the playoffs since 2015, finished 3-6 in 2020 and has not had a 10-win season since 2012.

When Davis took over the program at San Angelo Central, the Bobcats were on a 13-game losing streak and went on to win nearly 100 games during his tenure. Davis said the key to success was leadership of the district, which he said he had in San Angelo and will have at G-P.

“When I went to Central, it had had success in the past, but it had fallen on some pretty hard times when I got there,” Davis said. “But you know what the key is, I know it’s going to sound cliché, but you have to have the leadership above you like a superintendent, which I had in San Angelo, and they allow you to do it. Not every job is completely broken, there are some great things about this place, and we are going to enhance those and fix the things that need to be fixed.

“I feel like I’m the perfect guy to be here.”

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Len Hayward is a USA Today Sports Network Region sports director and the Caller-Times sports editor. Support more coverage like this by checking out our subscription options and special offers at Caller.com/subscribe  

This article originally appeared on Corpus Christi Caller Times: Texas High School Football: Brent Davis set for return to South Texas at Gregory-Portland

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