Basketball coach Mike Davey reflects on a productive first season back, one in which he led varsity boys to CCS

March 10, 2023 — by Anirudh Iyer
Coach Davey oversees the boys’ practice as sophomore Caleb Yu dribbles down the court.
Davey has already made a positive impact on the team. 

Longtime history teacher Mike Davey has also coached basketball and softball for almost 30 years. 

Following the departure of coach Patrick Judge last year, Davey reassumed the role of head coach for the varsity boys’ basketball team, which he previously held between 1992 to 2006. After that, Davey led the girls’ basketball team for the next few years. Both his boys’ and girls’ teams went to CCS, and the girls won a title in 2016 

After receiving constant exposure to the sport as a child due to his father being the longtime head basketball coach at Santa Clara University, Davey said it was only natural for him to take an interest in the game himself. 

While he has played at a high level for most of his teaching career, demonstrated by his ability to compete with his players in previous years’ practices, he’s done so less as of late, attributing this decline to age. 

“My steps are a lot slower now, but I’m still playing open gym, and I’m still trying to do my best to support the guys,” Davey said. 

Coming to grips with his inability to play at the same level as he did even a couple of years ago has been frustrating at times, but his role as a coach has now pivoted from being an active force in training sessions to being more of a facilitator. 

“It’s good to see all of it from a different perspective,” Davey said. “I can get a sense of what they’re thinking out there, and I’m able to see things that I previously couldn’t.” 

He said watching film of the Falcons’ scrimmages helps him see where the team performs well, such as fast breaks, and where they can improve, with preventing turnovers at the top of the list. 

Davey most appreciates the meaningful connections he can form with players as an on-campus coach. He believes that his unique position as both a teacher and coach makes him more relatable to his athletes, “and he hopes he can instill values such as teamwork and camaraderie that will help them in high school and beyond.”

Due to the amount of time he commits to both teaching and coaching, Davey said finding a healthy balance between the two has been difficult. 

“It’s a lot of work. Every day is long — I get here at 7:45 a.m, and when I get home late, I’m tired.” 

However, Davey said the “re-energization” he feels upon coming to school every day makes the grind of teaching and coaching at the same time sustainable; he believes that students who are also involved in athletics experience much more than a traditional education because ”they take away skills that they use in their lives, like leadership and teamwork.” 

He also takes pride in seeing what former players of his are doing decades down the line. 

“The fact that I could say that I played a role, however big or small, in their success, means a lot,” Davey said.

After a couple of weeks of promise in the early stage of the season, the boys team picked it up as the season went on, finishing with a 6-6-6 regular season, which included wins against the likes of Palo Alto and Los Altos, typically competitors in the division. The scorelines of those victories were 53-35, and 64-45, with the Falcons managing to beat Palo Alto on the road. 

The Falcons managed to qualify to the playoffs, crushing an inferior Soledad squad 83-36  on Feb. 18. However, Saratoga was eliminated in the next round of the tournament to a strong Monterrey team that previously beat the Falcons 74-58. This time, however, the loss was by a single-digit deficit: 57-51. 

Senior guard Julian Berkowitz-Sklar said, “We left that game against Monterrey with our heads held high, not feeling down or anything like that. We put together a solid season, and Coach Davey was a big reason why that happened.”

Davey, the active teacher with the second most seniority, said he is trying to take the team into a new era in the time he has left in the job before retiring in the coming years. 

“I want to leave on a high, rather than limp toward the finish line, collecting my paycheck but not actually giving my all in my last couple years,” he said.

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