DeVoe to coach Navy basketball 19-year veteran gets fifth Div. I job

April 12, 1992|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

Don DeVoe, who has 19 years of head coaching experience at four Division I schools, is Navy's new basketball coach.

DeVoe, 50, was named yesterday by Navy athletic director Jack Lengyel, ending a search for a successor to Pete Herrmann, who was fired March 11 after four straight 20-loss seasons. DeVoe has a multi-year contract at an undisclosed salary.

DeVoe took Tennessee to nine postseason tournaments in 11 years before being dismissed after the 1989 season. His last Tennessee team went 19-11 and lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

After a 7-21 season as interim coach at the University of Florida in 1989-90, DeVoe removed himself as a candidate for the Gators' job the following year. He has been out of coaching since then, serving as a consultant to college coaches and running basketball camps.

DeVoe coached at Virginia Tech and Wyoming before going to Tennessee. He directed the Vols to a 204-137 record, six NCAA tournament appearances and three NIT tournaments. His overall head coaching record is 328-228.

Lengyel feels fortunate to have lured a man with such strong credentials to coach at Navy with its stringent admission and academic requirements. DeVoe was an assistant for five years under Bob Knight at Army, giving him a feel for what coaching at an academy is like.

"The two key things were his largely successful 19 years at the Division I level and his academy background at Army," Lengyel said.

"I had his name on my short list of three or four candidates before I even talked to him. As I talked to other people, his name kept coming up. You always know of one or two top guys you want if you decide to make a change. Don was one of mine."

Why would a man with DeVoe's background take a job at a school where it is so difficult to win? He said he made the first contact with Lengyel, unaware he was on Lengyel's list.

"I never wanted to get out of coaching, but when I left Tennessee it was by ultimatum," DeVoe said from his home in Knoxville, Tenn. "A friend recommended that I call Jack, and I did. I had been sounded out by other mid-level Division I schools, but there were aspects of those programs I didn't like.

"I like Navy's philosophy and values. They have solid kids who want to graduate. We can build the program by finding young men who meet the academy's other requirements and also have advanced basketball skills. We will have a national recruiting program."

Lengyel describes DeVoe as a man with all the desired coaching qualities.

"He's recognized as one of the best tacticians and strategists in college basketball," Lengyel said. "His energy, determination and integrity were qualities we were seeking. He is widely respected for his ability to have players fulfill their potential. We firmly dTC believe he will enable us to be competitive in the Patriot League."

Navy's 6-22 record last season under Herrmann included a 1-13 mark in the Patriot League. The Mids haven't had a winning season since 1986-87, when they went 26-6 with David Robinson.

DeVoe has eight 20-win seasons. During his 11 years at Tennessee, he was named Southeastern Coach of the Year three times.

DeVoe, a native of Sabina, Ohio, was a member of the Ohio State team that finished runner-up in the NCAA tournament in 1962 and was a starting forward on the teams that won Big Ten titles in 1963 and 1964.

After graduating, he joined former teammate Knight at Army, remaining five years as an assistant. He returned to Ohio State in 1969 as a graduate assistant and got his first head job with Virginia Tech in 1971.

DeVoe's record

Virginia Tech

Year.. ..Rec. .. ..Postseason

71-72.. .16-10.. .. .. .. .. ..

72-73.. .22-5.. .. NIT champions

73-74.. .13-13.. .. .. .. .. ..

74-75.. .16-10.. .. .. .. .. ..

75-76.. .21-7.. .. NCAA 1st round

5-year record: 88-45 (.662)

Wyoming

76-77.. .17-10.. .. .. .. .. .. ..

77-78.. .12-15.. .. .. .. .. .. ..

2-year record: 29-25 (.537)

Tennessee

78-79.. .21-12.. ..NCAA 2nd round

79-80.. .18-11.. ..NCAA 2nd round

80-81.. .21-8.. .. NCAA 2nd round

81-82.. .20-10.. ..NCAA 2nd round

82-83.. .20-12.. ..NCAA 2nd round

83-84.. .21-14.. ..NIT 3rd round

84-85.. .22-15.. ..NIT 3rd place

85-86.. .12-16.. .. .. .. .. .. .

86-87.. .14-15.. .. .. .. .. .. .

87-88.. .16-13.. ..NIT 1st round

88-89.. .19-11.. ..NCAA 1st round

11-year record: 204-137 (.598)

Florida

89-90.. . 7-21.. .. .. .. .. .. ..

Overall 19-year record: 328-228 (.589).

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