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Knoxville News-Sentinel (Tennessee)
Middle Tennessee coach Kermit Davis will be named the next Ole Miss men's basketball coach, according to the Clarion Ledger.
The hire is expected to be announced later this week. FanRag Sports' Jon Rothstein was the first to report the news.
Davis, who led the Blue Raiders to a second straight Conference USA regular-season title this year, has a record of 332-187 since first arriving in Murfreesboro in 2002. He is the program's all-time winningest coach and led it to three NCAA tournament appearances (2013, 2016-17), more than any other coach in program history.
After MTSU's 91-64 rout of Vermont Tuesday night in the first round of the NIT, Davis was asked about reports that he is headed to Oxford.
"Everybody in this town knows how much I love Middle Tennessee," Davis said. "My full focus is Middle Tennessee basketball and how we can make a run and keep trying to keep these guys playing in the NIT tournament."
The reports have not been talked about in the MTSU locker room, senior Giddy Potts said Tuesday night.
"We don't talk about that in the locker room at all," he said. "We just come out here and play our game. If that's something that (Davis) wants to do, hey, better for him. But we're still going to play MT basketball here."
MTSU athletic director Chris Massaro on Wednesday declined to comment on the reports at this time.
MTSU will play at Louisville in the second round of the NIT sometime between Friday and Monday. The date has not been set.
Davis had agreed to a new contract with MTSU after the 2016-17 season. The deal ran through 2024 and put Davis at a $750,000 total salary ($575,000 base, $175,000 in TV and radio obligations). Per his contract, he will owe MTSU a $700,000 buyout for leaving before the end of the agreement.
Rumors concerning the 58-year-old Davis and Ole Miss began swirling when former Rebels coach Andy Kennedy announced on Feb. 12 he was stepping down. A Leakesville native and Mississippi State grad, Davis has natural ties to Mississippi, with much of his family - including his parents and siblings - still living in the state.
Throughout Tuesday's opening-round NIT game, fans expressed their feelings about the reports that Davis is leaving with chants of "We want Kermit!" and "We love Kermit!"
"It was (cool)," Davis said. " "It was probably about my year six or seven, there weren't any 'We want Kermits!' in the gym. So we all kind of go through some struggles at times, but it was great."
The Blue Raiders went 153-126 over Davis' first nine seasons. But in his last seven, including this season, they are 179-61, a winning percentage of nearly 75 percent.
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