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Davidson’s Bob McKillop Calls It A Career

And the game is poorer for it

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Davidson head coach Bob McKillop, left, and Stephen Curry (30) celebrate after the team beat Gonzaga, 82-76, in the first round NCAA Tournament game, Friday, March 21, 2008, at the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Photo by Chris Seward/Raleigh News & Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

There was a time when Duke scheduled Davidson almost every season as, honestly, a tuneup, a glorified scrimmage.

And the truth is, they weren’t hard to beat. Then Bob McKillop showed up and things changed.

McKillop has been a superb coach for Davidson since arriving in 1989.

Or rather, returning: he was an assistant at Davidson in 1978-79. After that season, he returned to high school coaching, doing a phenomenal job at Long Island Lutheran.

Davidson hired him as head coach in 1989, and he has been there ever since, until Friday anyway, when he announced his retirement.

The Wildcats had an incredible decade in the ‘60s under Lefty Driesell but fell into obscurity when he left for Maryland. McKillop changed that. His teams were tough and competitive and always, always smart.

The highlight years of course were when he unleashed Stephen Curry onto the basketball world and Davidson was able to go toe-to-toe with schools like Duke and Kansas. But even after he left, they were highly competitive.

McKillop was not a good coach, he was a great one. If he had had a bigger platform, like say Wake Forest, he might have had a Top 25 program year in and year out. But clearly he loved Davidson and Davidson loved him back. You can’t fake that kind of loyalty and you certainly can’t buy it.

He leaves with a career record of 634–380 and with Davidson elevated from the SoCon to the A-10. That’s almost entirely his doing.

He also leaves with a sterling reputation, which, in his profession, isn’t always easy.

His son, Matt, will take over the program. If he does well, Davidson has a shot at 50 or 60 years of being coached by a McKillop.