Why interim coach Brad Davis is ready to lead LSU football in the Texas Bowl

Koki Riley
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

Brad Davis had just returned  home after attending church with his mom. She was cooking up a pot of white beans and his dad was about to start barbecuing.

That's when he got a call.

"(My parents) went crazy," Davis said.

Davis told his parents he had to meet with the media for the first time as interim head coach for LSU football. Four days earlier on Nov. 27 he was promoted after Ed Orgeron, who was already leaving the program, announced he wouldn't stay on for the bowl game. 

Reality had finally set in.

"I've been preparing for this my whole life," Davis said. "I'm awfully proud to coach at LSU. It's been a lifelong dream for me and I've enjoyed every day I've had a chance to wear this shirt."

Davis, 41, becomes the first Black football coach in the history of the program. The Tigers (6-6) play Kansas State (7-5) on Tuesday (8 p.m. CT, ESPN) in the TaxAct Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium in Houston.

"You think about President (William F.) Tate, you think about me in this role, it speaks to LSU being extremely progressive," Davis said. "I hope to in this role represent LSU in a great light but also represent all young African American coaches out there who are looking for this very opportunity."

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Even if it's for one game, the opportunity isn't lost on Davis, who grew up on Winbourne Avenue in North Baton Rouge.

"I'm so proud to represent the people who I grew up with who have had a huge part in my upbringing to get to this point," Davis said.

Davis has been Arkansas' offensive line coach for one season after coaching the offensive line at Missouri in 2018 and '19. A former offensive lineman at Oklahoma from 1999-2002, he played at Belaire High School and coached at Southern Lab in Baton Rouge.

He previously coached offensive lines at Florida in 2017, North Texas in 2016, East Carolina in 2015, James Madison in 2014 and Portland State from 2009-13. He was a graduate assistant at North Carolina in 2008 and at Texas A&M in 2006 and '07.

Davis replaced  LSU offensive line coach James Cregg in June after Cregg admitted to breaking NCAA recruiting rules.

 In short time, Davis became  a prominent member of the coaching staff and one of the Tigers' lead recruiters.

He helped stabilize LSU's offensive line after a rocky start despite multiple injuries to the unit throughout the year and developed strong relationships with five-star offensive tackle Will Campbell and four-star offensive guard Emery Jones. Both recruits maintained their commitments and eventually signed with LSU in December despite the uncertainty surrounding the program.

Davis also bridges the gap to former Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, who was hired just days after Davis was appointed as the interim coach.

Unlike his staff for the bowl game, Davis' future at LSU is crystal clear. It was announced on Dec. 8 that he will remain with the Tigers as offensive line coach.

But Tuesday will be his time under the lights. And he'll be ready, making history representing a place that he calls home.

"For me personally, it's a milestone moment," Davis said.