Since 1974, Joe Dean Davidson's teams have won 154 games, five Interhigh titles, two city titles and one national championship.
At least one of his players has earned first team All-Met honors in each of the last six years. No fewer than 30 of his players have earned places on all-league teams at one time or another.
Davidson is coach at Dunbar High, which has perennially been one of the top-ranked boys' basketball teams in the area. During Davidson's tenure, recruiters have flocked to the Northwest school annually, hoping to find "blue-chippers" for their college teams. Schools such as Georgetown University, Tulane, North Carolina State and the University of West Virginia can boast success in signing Davidson-coached players.
For Davidson, it began at Roper Junior High, where he compiled a 95-15 mark in five years. He later moved on to Spingarn, where he coached the junior varsity to a 25-2 record.
Davidson came to Dunbar in 1973, when the Crimson Tide posted a respectable 13-10 record. Since then, he has won more than 85 percent of his games, his best season coming in 1976, when he guided the squad to a 29-0 mark and a basketball publication named it the top scholastic team in the nation.
John Duren and Craig Shelton, two members of that team, were named to the All-America "Dream Team." They later went on to Georgetown University, where they set numerous records and led the Hoyas in their most successful campaign ever.
But Davidson is not just a coach. He is a teacher and a builder of men. In his quiet and low-key manner, he nurtures and develops his players into responsible young men. "The maturity and confidence they exhibit on the court should also be displayed in the classroom and in their life pursuits," Davidson says.
To Davidson, a former athlete, coaching has been a life-long ambition. "I've always wanted to work with young people. There is so much satisfaction in it. The satisfaction comes when you see many of these young men take what you try to give them and use it to enhance their position in life."
Former North Carolina State Coach Norm Sloan, no stranger to local basketball talent, is well aware of the fruits of Davidson's labors.
"Joe Dean does a great job, year in and year out," said Sloan. "When we recruited Kenny (Matthews), the first thing we recognized was that he was well coached, in addition to being a fine young man. He is a credit to the North Carolina State University program."
Matthews, a former All-Met, started for Wolfpack this past season. He is considered to be among the best two or three pure shooters in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Joe Holston, another former Dunbar All-Met, is now a sophomore at Tulane University. As a high school sophomore, he was a starter on the undefeated 1976 Dunbar squad. His coach at Tulane, Roy Danforth, says Holston was a special play from the beginning.
"From day one, there was no doubt that Holston would be our starting point guard," said Danforth. "He was so well coached and well prepared that the other players on the squad naturally accepted him as their on-the-court leader."
Holston had such an outstanding season in his freshman year that he was selected the team's Most Valuable Player.
Davidson modestly downplays any special coaching philosophy as the key to his success. He says the formula lies with the players, not the coach.
"I've been fortunate to have had some fine young men to play for me over the years," says Davidson in his calm voice. "I can't take credit for what they've done. They had that talent before they came here. I'm just thankful that God has given me the opportunity to be involved with quality people."
Davidson, despite personal setbacks, has not curtailed his activities. Two years ago, he underwent bypass surgery on his heart. He prefers not to discuss it.
Last summer, he started the Basketball Reading Incentive Camp for youths. Basketball is not the only subject taught there.
"It is an attempt to use basketball and other forms of athletics as a catalyst for the development of academic awareness and cultural enrichment," he explained.
Davidson says he wonders why, despite his success at Dunbar, he has not been sought for a college coaching position.
"I enjoy the year-to-year challenge of coaching on this plateau," he said, "but if the right opportunity presented itself, I would definitely be willing to listen."
Davidson's ambition for a college coaching spot may have to be put on "hold" for a year. With a front line of 6-foot-6 Anthony Jones, 6-foot-7 Sylvester Charles and 6-foot-5 Will Rogers returning from a squad that finished fourth in the area, the Crimson Tide already is being projected as one of the top teams in the country.
Jones, the latest in the line of annual All-Mets, has been the object of attention from many basketball coaches and recruiters. An "A" student, Jones is being touted as the greatest basketball player in the history of the school. He is smooth, calm and always poised.
When asked where he gets players like Jones, Davidson replied, "God sends them to me." With Shelton and Duren on verge of becoming first or second-round draft choices for the NBA, who could argue?