Mike Davenport is entering his 20th year at the University of North Georgia and 17th season as the university’s head softball coach. He has built one of the nation’s premier softball programs with an amazing six 50-win seasons and a winning percentage north of .750. Overall, the Nighthawks have amassed a 705-200 (.779) record under the direction of Davenport.
In 2016, Davenport was named the Peach Belt Conference Coach of the Year for the sixth time, giving him more than any other coach in PBC softball history and breaking the tie at five he had held with PBC Hall of Fame coach Scott Whitlock of Kennesaw State.
In 2015, Davenport led the softball program to the school’s first-ever national championship – in any sport – by running through the losers’ bracket to win the NCAA Division II Softball Championship in Oklahoma City. Davenport and his staff were named NFCA National Coaching Staff of the Year for their incredible run in 2015.
The UNG skipper has built a culture of championships at North Georgia winning 10 conference regular season titles, nine conference tournament, four NCAA Southeast Region Championships, and one NCAA DII National Championship. He has established UNG as a powerhouse in NCAA Division II softball, taking North Georgia to three-consecutive Division II Championship appearances from 2009-2011 and returning the Nighthawks to supremacy in the Southeast Region in 2015 with a return trip to the DII Championship.
After winning the 2015 national championship in Oklahoma City, Davenport returned to the diamond almost immediately serving as the head coach of the USSSA Florida Pride of the National Pro Fastpitch league. He lead the Pride to a NPF regular-season title and an appearance in the Cowles Cup series.
In 2010, Davenport led North Georgia to a 51-game winning streak, the second longest in NCAA history. The then-Saints entered the College World Series with a perfect record of 50-0 that season. UNG has reached perfection in conference play twice under the guidance of Davenport, posting 20-0 records in 2003 and 2010.
The foundation to UNG softball is set every year under Davenport’s program, building a strong team atmosphere opening each school year with “RBI Week,” (Respect-Balance-Intensity). Team members come together and participate in team building exercises as well as a pre-season conditioning program. The squad is challenged mentally and physically as it finishes the week at UNG’s Pine Valley Ropes Course traversing both low and high elements. “RBI Week” has allowed the team to build each other’s trust and respect before entering each school year.
The softball skipper began his career at North Georgia with the women’s basketball team in 1996 as assistant coach and served in that role until 2000 when he took over the roll as head softball coach in August. He has served in that role as well as instructor in the Health and Physical Education Department since. During his time with the North Georgia women’s basketball team, he helped guide the squad to three conference titles and three NAIA National Tournament appearances.
While growing up in central Illinois, he played basketball and baseball at Peoria’s Richwoods High School before moving to Central Oklahoma and graduating from Guthrie High School in Guthrie, Oklahoma. After playing one year of junior college baseball, he focused his attention on coaching and joined the rich tradition of Cowboy Baseball at Oklahoma State University under head coach Gary Ward as a student-assistant. The opportunity to coach led him to Gainesville, Florida, where he spent three years as an assistant baseball coach at Santa Fe Community College under head coach Harry Tholen.
The DuQuoin, Illinois native is a 1994 graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Recreation and a 1998 grad of North Georgia, where he earned his Master of Education.
Davenport and his wife, the former Melanie Ralston of Gainesville, reside in Dahlonega and are the proud parents of one daughter, Margaret Isabella and one son, Michael Harper.