Originally created 05/08/02

Davis recuperating at home



CLEMSON, S.C. -- Clemson women's basketball coach Jim Davis doesn't sound capable right now of shouting out plays or urging his team to keep its hands up on defense.

But he will again soon, he says.

"It's going to take time but we'll be all right," Davis said Tuesday from home.

Davis talked low and slow, sounding like a man who had undergone close to six hours of surgery for prostate cancer little more than a week ago.

Davis, 55, has recuperated at home since leaving Duke University Medical Center this past Friday, said Sam Blackman, a spokesman for Clemson's athletic department. Davis had the operation April 29.

Davis said the surgery, though exhausting, went well. Doctors said they removed all cancer, he said. Tests indicated the cancer was confined to a set area, or localized.

Blackman said earlier Tuesday that Davis was "getting stronger every day. He was walking around both inside and out."

Davis talked of coming back to the office in the next couple of weeks on a limited basis, Blackman said. Davis does bits of work at home when he can. "It's good therapy for me," he said.

Speaking by phone, Davis said he hoped to keep that timetable for his return. "There are still some tests we're waiting on," he said. "It will still be a couple of weeks."

Davis has kept the Lady Tigers near the top of the college basketball world the past 15 years. His teams have only missed the NCAA tournament once in that time. He's gone 360-150 at the school.

And he's known as much for his animated sideline shouts and intense claps of encouragement as for his success.

All that's on hold for now, said a tired Davis.

Doctors had him up walking after the first 24 hours. They've kept him moving around and prescribed a hearty diet - "That's a nice change," he said - to offset weakness from blood lost in surgery, according to Davis.

But Davis can't drive for a while and leans on his wife, Bobbie, for his care. "She's doing a great job," he said.

There are many basketball issues Davis would love to dive into. The Tigers are in the market for an assistant coach since Sam Dixon left last month to take the top job at Furman. There are upcoming summer camps to plan for, and last-minute details for next season to finish. Plus recruiting at Clemson is a year-round, full-throttle endeavor.

At the moment, Davis is leaving that to remaining assistants Jody Hensen and Mike Hodge, and assistant athletic director in charge of women's basketball, Barbara Kennedy-Dixon. "They're all doing a fantastic job covering for me," he said. "Everything's in good hands."

Now is the time for rest and phone calls from friends and former players, like Jessica Barr, who was Clemson's first Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year in 1994 under Davis.

"It's great to hear from them," Davis said of all the phone calls and messages from well-wishers.