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Candidate philosophy: Be a good teammate

Nate Davis interviews for ENMU AD position


Last updated 6/26/2021 at 4:45pm

Kevin Wilson

Nate Davis discusses his athletic department philosophies Wednesday at Greyhound Arena. Davis, the associate athletic director at Pittsburg State, is one of four candidates for the athletic director position at Eastern New Mexico University.

PORTALES - Nate Davis has a simple philosophy for every aspect of college athletics.

"Be a good teammate," said Davis, senior associate athletic director at Pittsburg State Wednesday morning on the Eastern New Mexico University campus.

Davis is seeking to be the top teammate as one of four candidates for the college's vacant athletic director position.

Davis was the second to go through the on-campus interview process. The university last week interviewed former University of New Mexico men's basketball coach Paul Weir.

Davis was the second to go through the on-campus interview process. The university last week interviewed former University of New Mexico men’s basketball coach Paul Weir, and on Friday brought in Brock Wissmiller, associate athletic director at Upper Iowa University.

The hiring decision goes to Chancellor Patrice Caldwell, with the selection committee providing a list of strengths and weaknesses for each candidate.

Davis was a walk-on for the Southwest Baptist men's basketball team, and worked as a graduate assistant during his final year of eligibility.

"I got a chance to see both sides; that was a neat experience," Davis said. "That drove me to want to work in athletics."

His career has since taken him to Abilene Christian, Northwest Missouri and Pittsburg State, with a brief attempt at a sales job that showed him he didn't want to work in sales.

Davis said his experience at successful programs has taught him everybody has some chinks in their armor no matter how good the program looks from the outside, and every great program depends on people who work to succeed despite those faults.

"If you have good people and you can get them going in the right direction," Davis said, "and you can get them pulling the top the right way, you're going to have success."

As athletic director, Davis said he needs to be a face for the community, the student body and the student-athlete population.

In addressing the importance of community service, Davis recalled a weekend he and staff were tasked to run a Special Olympics basketball tournament. His first thought was just one more weekend he'd have to be at work, but when he got to work with the kids, "my mentality on that shifted very quickly" and he insisted the tournament come back every year.

"In athletics," Davis said, "it's always, 'Come to our games, come to our games, come to our games.' But we don't ever support anything else. We have to do that. Support is a two-way street."

In addition to his philosophy on being a good teammate, Davis said it was important to give every student-athlete the feeling their time at ENMU was an important and beneficial part of their lives.

"The student-athlete experience has to be paramount," Davis said. "We have jobs because of students and student-athletes."

Questions Davis fielded included:

• The Monday Supreme Court ruling that the NCAA's limits on student-athlete compensation violated antitrust laws. Davis said he wasn't sure what impact the ruling would have.

"Is there really going to be a desire and a market for the left guard on a football team? Maybe, maybe not; I don't know," Davis said. "There's so much access to them already."

• Scott Smart, vice president of business affairs, asked for Davis' philosophy on discipline. He noted a raucous house party thrown by a few student-athletes ends up in angry phone calls to ENMU administration, but that same party might go unnoticed at a Division I school. Davis said he understood the impact an off-field incident could have, and said it was important for coaches to lay out expectations and hold players accountable. The punishment that speaks loudest is usually playing time.

"When you see athletes doing something good, make that phone call too."

• His organizational plans. Davis said it would be almost insulting to come in on the first week and slap down a "first 100 days" plan and that he'd want to see what works and what could improve.

Davis remembered first joining Pittsburg State, and finding everybody there "had gotten really good at what they were doing." He felt like he needed to have some level of staff meetings for the department to be effective, and the athletic director approved it on the condition Davis led the effort.

"We don't meet just to meet," Davis said. "But once a month, there's going to be something to talk about."


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