Davin leaving Huskies’ girls soccer
EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado ” Assistant coaches at the high-school level come and go.
Battle Mountain’s Jen Davin is not your average assistant. With the school’s girls soccer team since the 2002 ” two years before David Cope became the team’s head coach ” Davin has been a fixture on the sideline as the program has gone from also-ran status in the 4A Slope to league power.
And so Battle Mountain soccer suffered a loss when Davin told the team that she is leaving to pursue coaching opportunities in Eugene, Ore.
“I am probably looking at the club level,” Davin said. “Ultimately, I would love to get back into college coaching.”
“Oh my gosh, our jaws just dropped when we heard the news,” said Huskies senior midfielder Emily LyBarger, who will play playing next year at University of Louisiana-Monroe. “At the same time, I’m not surprised. She deserves to be a college coach somewhere. I can’t fault her. I hope UL-M is looking for an assistant.”
“We’ve been really fortunate to have her,” Cope said. “She is going to be sorely missed. She has been a fixture of this program, going back to (former head coach) Kate (O’Connor). She has helped a lot of kids grow up and become adults. We send 18-year-old women out into the world, and Jen has played a huge part.”
Davin has had the soccer bug since she was 7 growing up in Cincinnati. She played Division I soccer at the University of Dayton, where she was also a student-assistant, and coached at the Cardinal Soccer Club back in Cincinnati after graduating.
So Davin wasn’t exactly the average assistant coach when she joined Kate O’Connor and the Huskies in 2002. Her presence has helped Cope devote to attention to areas of the program not ordinarily frequented by a head coach.
“Jen’s been totally committed to the kids,” Cope said. “She’s gone out and got her national coaching license and she’s really a blessing to me. I can go with another group and she takes the varsity. The kids always have an ear they can talk to. Quite honestly, there are things she can say that I can’t.”
Cope brings up a delicate point. He coaches boys soccer in the fall and the girls in the spring. While he doesn’t exactly bring a drill-sargeant’s mentality to his coaching, leading teen-aged boys and girls requires a different touch.
“I tend to be direct, and the players seem to take it better from me,” Davin said. “Maybe, it’s because I’m closer in age to them and I’m a woman, or maybe, girls just relate to girls. I know people call it the ‘bad cop,’ but I love that role.
“When Cope’s upset about something, I am upset. I can sense it and I am more than happy to chew someone out.”
Call it being the bad cop or just handing out some tough love, when Davin talks before a game or at practice, the Huskies do indeed listen and learn. While Cope has the title of head coach, the two have been a team for the last five years as Battle Mountain has risen to the top of the pack in the 4A Slope.
“I don’t have enough words for David Cope,” Davin said. “What it comes down to is that he’s brilliant. I’m always learning from him. We think on the same wave and he really puts a lot of power into my hands, more than most assistants would have. We can bounce a lot of things off each other. Even if he’s not (agreeing) with what I’m saying, he listens. It’s been great working with him.”
As a player, Davin knows what it’s like when a coach moves on. She, like the current Huskies, didn’t like it then. And now as a coach, she knows how difficult it is for her and the team.
“I never understood how hard it was,” Davin said. “When I was playing and a coach left I was like ‘You’ve got to stay with me until I graduate.’ Now I understand, especially with this year’s sophomores. It’s devastating. It’s so hard because you understand how the players feel, but you also understand why your coaches had to do what they had to do when you were playing.”
The good news for Davin is that current Battle Mountain senior Anna Seibert will be planning to attend the University of Oregon in Eugene, where Davin will be.
“I hear there’s a Seibert connection,” Davin joked. “We’re going to be setting up some family dinners.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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