Misericordia Welcomes New Head Football Coach

Mike Gawlik, Reporter

For the first time in 10 years, the Misericordia football team has hired a new head coach and the culture and play style of the team will change.

Coach John Davis is only the second coach in school history. Having coached well over 100 football games in his coaching career, Davis explained why switching to coaching football was an easy decision.

“I was miserable in my 9 to 5 job,” he said. “Football is the only thing that helped me stay engaged. I fell in love with it.”

Davis wants to continue his coaching career to “inspire the next generation.”

“I coach because I believe that football helps bring people together,” he said.

“My number one goal is to take Mis into its second decade as a stable program,” he continued, indicating he hopes to create a program that showcases gradual, yet significant, improvement over time. “I want to create a competitive football program inside the lines, with men who truly care about their education and each other.”

While Davis hopes for a team dedicated to the game, he acknowledges the importance of players who prioritize their educational career, as well.

“Most of the goals I want to accomplish will take time and I am hopeful that I have the time to build a program,” Davis continued, saying he looks toward the future now that his first season is over.

In the 10 seasons since its inception, the Cougars football team has amassed a record of 18-63. Davis hopes to turn last year’s record of 3-6 around in 2022.

Davis admitted his first year as head coach was a “whirlwind” due to Covid-related problems.

“Taking the job in the summer and not meeting your team until the start of fall camp is not ideal,” he said, reporting Covid-19 took away an entire month’s worth of work for the 2021 Cougars.

Fifth-year senior Jared Skidds reflected on his experience with the new coaching staff, stating his time dedicated to the new team dynamic under the lead of Davis has been “extremely positive and the culture change is going to be beneficial for classes to come.”

“The transition (of coaches) was made with a lot of haste,” Skidds said. “We were told old two months before summer camp.”

Summer camp is important for college football teams and the lack of preparation for last year’s Cougars showed as the season did not go the way most would have liked.

Now that the team is fully staffed and new students are arriving from all over the nation, Skidds believes the 2022 season will be very successful.

Davis said there is no time table for his goals, but he is hopeful he can accomplish these goals in one full recruiting cycle.

The Cougars will be without 11 seniors who graduated following the fall season but the team is loaded with 17 returning starters.

Davis has yet to name his captains for the season but looks for “self sacrifice” when picking his team captains.

“You will have to be willing to give up personal success for what’s best for the team, willing to set the tone for the team and inspire football players,” he said of prospective captains.

Willie Wallace, a senior wide receiver in 2021, compared last year to previous years.

“The way in which the team cared about the game changed,” he said. “You could see the passion come back to all the seniors. But, in the end, we weren’t successful.

“Compared to the previous years, we were held to different expectations that were hard for some people to adjust to,” Wallace continued. “The team was brought to a higher level with changes on social media platforms and giving recruits more when they came to visit.”

According to Wallace, the future is going to be more diverse, opening the gate for players from different areas.

“Higher expectations will be held for the team because Coach Davis is new and, with a new head at the table, people expect more,” he added.

The 2022 season will be a challenge for the Cougars as they also bring in another new assistant coach this fall, although the decision of who that coach will be has yet to be made.

For the fall 2022 recruiting class, Davis is searching for talent, character, and toughness, qualities needed to play football at the college level.

“I believe we left a lot of meat on the bone,” he said of the upcoming season.