Jarrod Davis has begun his head coaching duties at Salem, taking over for previous boys' basketball head coach Noah Harrell, who took the same job at Locust Grove.
Davis has had head coaching stops at Drew High School and North Atlanta. He built a program at Drew when the school began its athletic program. In the school's first year in varsity sports, the team managed to secure region runner-up and a spot in the elite eight. The following year, Davis led his team to a Final Four finish, but the team fell short in the state championship game against powerhouse Columbia.
"Just looking at his background and once we got his resume we knew he was somebody that was very solid, very thorough that had success at previous places," Darren Wilkins, Salem athletic director, said about Davis and the interviewing process. "He had a good background and success. In our conversations with him we knew he was very thorough, very disciplined, really focused on the kids' academics and the way they carry their self. He's a very solid package. We knew pretty early on this is somebody we wanted."
Wilkins says that he wants to see team continue to contend, as they have been to the state playoffs in four out of their last five years. Wilkins wants to build on that and see Davis working with the kids and helping them be great student-athletes and get to college.
"After I started a program at Drew and then took a program at North Atlanta this was a more traditional program," Davis said about his choice to come to Salem.
"Looking at the past success and looking at how close they've been it's just as attractive as all the other jobs that were open," Davis added. "So you see the potential from the young group even to where they are now, that'll attract anybody. I think it's something special that can go on here if we just work hard and do the things that we're supposed to do."
While watching Salem practice, you can see the fire in Davis. He's looking for his team to execute, make the right decisions and above all, play defense.
"I'm more of a defensive-minded person. I'm always looking at taking away your strengths, that is my ultimate goal. Whatever strength you have it's my goal to try to take that away," Davis said.
Davis says he's also offensive-minded, in that he wants to get the ball up the floor in transition. However, Davis added that his philosophy on offense depends on the talent he has. Davis compared this team to an unsolved puzzle with a pretty picture. He says the intriguing part will be putting all the pieces together.
"They're very athletic and we've got to turn that athleticism into more positive [outcomes] from defense to offense," Davis said about his young team. "We want to make sure that we transition and turn our defense into easy buckets. That's gonna come from just working, getting in the weight room, increasing our athleticism, increasing our strength and increasing our knowledge of understanding how to take away people's strengths."
"This will probably be one of the biggest teams I've ever coached from across the board. We have good size for this program, but the thing is turning that around to an advantage," Davis added. "Our thing is we gotta change some mindsets, change work habits and that's gonna start in the fall when we come in in our fall training when we start going into the weight room, when we start running and when we start working out. All of that on a consistent basis building up to the start of the season."