Davidson returns to Penguins

Tribune Chronicle / John Vargo Courtney Davidson returned to Youngstown State to be an assistant coach.

YOUNGSTOWN — John Barnes saw a familiar face while recruiting, one that had a vested interest in his program and in the city of Youngstown.

It didn’t hurt the Youngstown State University women’s basketball team had an opening.

Sam Hoyt left for the University of Sioux Falls in late May. She coached the team’s point guards.

Courtney Davidson, an assistant coach at Radford University, located near Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va., is familiar with that position.

Davidson is on the YSU staff as an assistant coach, the same position she held the past two years at Radford, which lost in the Big South title game and advanced to the WNIT Tournament last season.

Davidson is in charge of the YSU point guards, especially incoming senior Indiya Benjamin.

“I’m trying to give back all the knowledge other gave to me,” Davidson said. “It’s been a blessing to be able to do so. When you’re not able to play anymore like you used to, you’ve got the young ones who can, just try to teach them as much knowledge as you’ve been taught.”

Davidson was YSU’s Director of Basketball Operations in Barnes’ first season of 2013-14, but left the season after for the same position at the College of Charleston.

Davidson would’ve stayed if there was an assistant coaching opening.

Heading into the 2017-18 season, there was.

A phone call asking if Davidson was interested ensued.

“She’s very close to her family,” Barnes said. “She’s always been a big fan of Youngstown State Athletics.

“I think she was very excited.”

The 2004 Ursuline High School graduate, who led the Irish to the Division III state championship, went to Michigan State and was part of the Spartans team that was the 2005 NCAA National Runners-up.

“It’s great being back home,” Davidson said. “There’s no place like home. I enjoy my time at Radford. I had some special moments there and down at Charleston. It’s always great to be back home doing something you love. I was ecstatic. My family was excited. It’s good to be back.”

She’s happy to show the fervor she displayed as a player.

“That passion is still there,” Davidson said. “I can’t put on the jersey anymore, but I still bring the same energy, same passion, same communication. I’m going to make sure our players are ready to go and fired up every single day.”

In addition to coaching the point guard, Davidson is in charge of scouting, recruiting and practice planning.

As for recruiting, Barnes is hoping she’ll be an asset to YSU in recruiting some great talent around this area.

“She’s going to bring a lot of local fans back to the games,” Barnes said. “Knows a lot of the high school coaches in the area in terms of recruiting. There’s a lot of young talent coming through, too. So, that’s a huge benefit for us.”