A lot of folks ask, what can New Mexico Military Institute do for a cadet? Well, take a kid from the inner city who is used to the fast-paced life of New Jersey and New York City and ask him to adopt the regimented lifestyle of the military. Talk about shock and cultural change. Nine years later, that same kid turned out to be former NMMI head coach Ralph Davis. Davis is glad he came here and happy with the direction his path in life has taken him.
The sad part about Friday came the announcement by NMMI that Davis is leaving to take a job with the University of New Mexico basketball team as a video coordinator.
“I was presented with this opportunity,” Davis said. “I have nothing but good things to say about NMMI. Not only was I a coach there for the past nine years, but I was also a cadet there as well.”
Davis feels that the time is right for him to move on, he was an assistant coach under Sean Schooley and coached by Reggie Franklin. He felt like the teams he played on played to a high level of basketball in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference (WJCAC). As an assistant, he was charged with recruiting players and developing them to get to the next level in college.
“The things I learned playing under coaches Franklin and Schooley,” Davis stated, “was to play hard and take care of my business. Two years with them really meant a lot to my career.”
Davis cannot give enough credit to NMMI as it helped him grow into a man. It not only helped him on the basketball court but off of it as well — he had to learn to study and do things in a military manner and handle his time. One of the biggest things he felt NMMI instilled in him was to use time management skills in his favor and to get the most out of every minute of the day to help him succeed. This trait has not only helped him academically but as a coach and recruiter as well.
“My second year at NMMI was easier than my first,” Davis said. “I had a great time there; this is a unique place. I enjoyed being here enough that I decided I wanted to come back to work here. I’m sad to be winding down my career here.”
As a player at NMMI, Davis started every game his sophomore year and was WJCAC Honorable Mention selection his sophomore year. Davis would leave NMMI with an Associate of Arts degree.
Jose Barron, NMMI’s athletic director, felt a closeness to Davis because both were in their first year at NMMI together. Davis as a player and Barron as an athletic director. Barron could see the hard work Davis put in as a cadet, and as an assistant coach before getting the head coaching job at NMMI.
After graduating from NMMI, Davis went on to play for Texas A&M Kingsville, where he was a standout. He played so well that his coach Pete Peterson offered him the chance to become a graduate assistant for two years. Davis would graduate with a degree in criminology and a master’s in sociology.
“One of the things I learned from coach Peterson was attention to detail,” Davis said. “I learned to coach the small things that I had to learn as a player. He (Peterson) was very influential in my career.”
Davis got the urge to become a coach at NMMI because of Franklin and Schooley, who helped develop his passion for coaching.
“I have always wanted to impact as many lives as I can,” Davis said. “My focus has always been to do the best job I can in whatever situation I’m in and to impact as many kids for positive going down the road I’m on. If your intentions are pure and clear, I think things will work out for you.”
Barron felt all along that Davis would one day be in this position to go to the next level and just like the recruits that come to NMMI to play at the higher level, he wants his coaches to do the same if they choose to take their career in that path.
“To say that I’m happy for Ralph (Davis) is an understatement,” Barron said. “He’s done well for us. He’s certainly paid his dues at this level as a coach. I’m very proud he’s moving up to the Division I level, which is probably every coach’s and every player’s dream.”
Barron has already hired Davis’ replacement. Barron is bringing back former NMMI basketball coach Sean Schooley on an interim basis.
“Schooley is obviously a more-than-capable coach,” Barron said. “He has held the coaching job previously and knows no. He has served in various roles for the past few seasons. I don’t think we’ll miss a beat with him at the helm, and I’m looking forward to having him back on the bench.”
Davis coached at NMMI from 2015-2017 going 38-53 overall and 15-33 in the WJCAC.
“I’m so thankful to NMMI, the administration,” Davis said, “the staff and faculty. NMMI has been a part of my adult life and the same thing with the city of Roswell. I have nothing but positive things to say about this area. I’m from New Jersey, but this is home away from home.”