HARVARD -- Twice.
That is the number of times Mike Davidson was not chosen to coach the Lady Trojans' basketball team. However, he was not deterred. On the third try, Bromfield decided to go with the seasoned AAU head coach.
"I applied for it and was interviewed," Davidson said. "Now, I finally get the opportunity to jump in and get the job. I am very familiar with Bromfield basketball. I think that it's the first time in over decade that someone with the last name Burke isn't on the team."
Davidson is a resident of Fitchburg, and he has a wealth of coaching experience at the AAU level with the North Central Blaze. This will be Davidson's first varsity head coaching job, but he seems to be up for the challenge.
Former Bromfield coach Mike Dube is the new girls' head coach at Mid-Wach D foe West Boylston. Last season, Dube led the Lady Trojans to a 15-7 record and the league title.
"It's a privilege to get my first varsity job at a school that has done so well over such a long period of time," Davidson said.
"There are big shoes to fill with Mike Dube, but I feel that this is my time and our time as a team. We had sort of a meet-and-greet last week. Twenty-two girls showed up. That is a step in the right direction to me when 22 girls pop in just to see who their coach is going to be in the middle of September."
"I have had teams with fifth-graders and teams with high school sophomores and juniors," he said. "I feel that I am the right guy for the job in that regard. I know what it takes to start at ground level with fourth-, fifth-, sixth-graders and build it up to be successful in the older grades."
Davidson will have the chance to communicate and help the younger teams such as the seventh- and eighth-grade and junior varsity.
"One of the things that I was most excited about when we had this meeting was the number of younger kids who were there," he said. "It tells me that they are in it for the long haul. They can't wait to get on the high school team. I am really excited about that."
When the meeting came to a close last week, Davidson pulled aside the returning junior players.
"I said to them, 'Listen, last year you were 15-6, you had your Montana Burke, Casey Magrath and Suzanne Ross running the whole show. This is your time to take this program over,'" Davidson said. "I am not going to lower the bar because three great players left the program. Where they are juniors, I will have them for two years to get that job done."
In terms of playing style, Davidson is comfortable with running an "open offense."
"I don't think I have many six-footers walking through the door," Davidson said. "We run a five-out offense where there are equal responsibilities for everyone in each offensive and defensive category. Everyone has to pull their own weight. It will be a work in progress. My preference is to be an up-tempo, transition-style team.
For Davidson, making the move from AAU coaching to high school basketball is not really a challenge.
"The difference I see is that high school is more system-oriented," Davidson said. "New players come in and you plug them into what you have been doing all along. In AAU, you base what you do on what you have for talent. The same also goes for high school. My hope is that we can be the kind of team where everyone is confident to shoot and score the ball. In my system, everyone is a shooter."
For the last seven years, Davidson has assisted under North Middlesex girls' basketball head coach Pat Murphy.
"It's not going to happen in December, but I can guarantee you that sometime in the winter it will start working," Davidson said. "I don't like to look too far down the road. Right now, I am worried about playing Lunenburg on Dec. 17."