Chris Davenport had more than enough support behind him.
When De-Kalb athletic director Dan Jones was going through the process of hiring a girls basketball coach, parents of Barbs players called to give positive reviews about Davenport, a varsity assistant in 2011-12.
Players even stopped by Jones’ office to offer support for Davenport.
Tuesday, Davenport officially was approved as the DeKalb girls basketball coach at the District 428 School Board meeting. He takes over for Ben Bates, who went 49-12 in two seasons.
“It means a lot,” Davenport said of the support from players and parents. “Coming from the kids was the most important thing. That’s who I’m working with, and I’m with them every day.”
Davenport spent one season as a girls assistant at DeKalb. He was an assistant under Dave Rohlman on the boys side from 2005-09, and was an assistant for the Barbs’ sophomore boys team in 1994 and 1995. He also spent a year as a varsity boys assistant at Wausau (Wis.) Newman Catholic in 1999, and has experience coaching AAU as well.
“Chris has been in the boys and girls programs for many years and is a hard worker and works well with the kids,” Jones said. “Last year, he was a volunteer coach with us at the varsity, and the parents and players all made sure that they threw their support behind Chris when he went up for the head coach job.”
Last season was Davenport’s first experience coaching a girls program, and working with the Barbs in 2011-12 was an experience he enjoyed.
“The kids were phenomenal and they were easy to coach,” said Davenport, who works as a teaching assistant at DeKalb. “Putting all that together, having the opportunity to have a shot at getting a job like that, I figured I’d be a fool to pass it up.”
Having the chance to coach a team coming off a 25-6 season and a super-sectional appearance was one more thing that drew Davenport in. The Barbs return all-area players Rachel Torres, Courtney Bemis and Courtney Patrick.
“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about [the team’s potential]. If it was a team that got beat in the regional, I still would have went for the job,” Davenport said. “Does it play into it a little bit? Yeah ... we’ve been very talented since coach (Debbie) Whitman was here.”
Though the Barbs have had a recent run of success, winning back-to-back Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference titles, the team’s low roster numbers haven’t been what Davenport would like to see.
Davenport wants the Barbs’ winning ways to continue, while also getting more kids into the program.
“I would like to continue what they have going and maybe build the numbers up. That would be great,” he said. “Just keep pushing in a positive direction because it’s been a solid program for several years now.”