University Academy catcher Alezandra “Allie” Davis will not have to go very far to begin her college career.
Davis signed financial aid papers with Louisiana College Tuesday in softball, after helping the Lady Lions’ softball team to a district title and a run to the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) regionals last season.
“Just being able to play the sport that I love for the next four years feels amazing,” Davis said.
A two-sport athlete at University playing softball and girls basketball, Davis also earned all-district honors in both sports at Glenmora. She stated that the LC coaching staff made an influence in her decision.
“I loved the school for a long time and I’d never thought I’d be playing softball there,” Davis said. “I practiced there a couple of times with UA and met with the coaches. I really knew I wanted to go there and play ball.”
LC is an NCAA Division III institution and does not give out athletic scholarships.
University Academy will also have a coaching overhaul as girls basketball coach Craig Whittington will also be the school’s softball coach, while Willie Davis and Trey Barnes will be the baseball and boys basketball coaches, respectively.
Whittington, who earned the 2014-15 All-Cenla Girls Coach of the Year after leading the Lady Lions to the MAIS Class A title, also has a softball background and takes over for Meagan Pearson. Pearson became an assistant at Louisiana Tech in January.
“That was a big loss, losing Meagan,” Whittington said. “Meagan meant a lot for the softball program, in the first year of getting it started. But I’m very excited of taking over the program and the girls are excited. We definitely look to get back to the state tournament.”
Davis garnered national fame in the early 2000s from Sports Illustrated and HBO’s “Real Sports” as a custodian turned basketball coach at Arthur F. Smith Middle School, while coaching many of the players that played for Peabody’s undefeated state championship team in 2004.
He also spent time as the boys basketball coach at Cenla Christian Academy in Pineville, the predecessor to University Academy.
Davis has one goal in mind as he gets ready to take over a Lions program that has been traditionally strong as of late.
“Books then basketball,” Davis said. “My thing is to try to get these young men on the right level.”
Barnes played for LSUA from 2011-2013 and recently served as a hitting coach for Next Level Academy.
Prior to that, he played for Vidalia in football and baseball.
“My philosophy is the long ball,” Barnes said. “We’re going to sit and hit fastballs and to hit the ball in the gaps. We’re going to be very aggressive on the base paths. We’ll definitely be a very seasoned team, make the routine plays and hit the baseball.”