There are few figures in US collegiate archery better known than Columbia head coach Derek Davis. After joining Columbia Athletics in August of 2003 as an assistant coach, Davis has lifted his profile, and those of his student-athletes, to the highest levels every year since becoming the head coach in August of 2004.
Each year under his tutelage the program has reached new heights. At the 2015 National Outdoor Collegiate Archery Championships, Columbia captured the gold medal in both the recurve and compound divisions. This was the first time in program history that Columbia finished first in the compound division. 11 years’ prior, Davis’ first team, the 2004-05 squad, won the U.S. Intercollegiate championship in Women’s Recurve, Columbia’s first-ever national title. Overall, Davis has coached five recurve teams to gold medal finishes and one compound team – 2005, 2008, 2011, 2013, 2015.
In 2014, the U.S. Olympic Committee named him the National Coach of the year. The previous year Davis was awarded the Doc Counsilman “Science” award – which is awarded to a coach that utilizes scientific techniques/equipment as an integral part of their coaching method or has created innovative ways to use sports science.
During his tenure at Columbia, Davis has produced a number of All-American and All-East honorees, as well as a host of USA Archery All-Academic team members. The 2009 squad set a program record – the season saw a record number of Columbia archers earn All-East, All-Academic, and All-American honors. The 2015 squad later matched that record of All-Americans, with six earning that honor.
Davis has seen much success in the archery world outside of Morningside Heights. In January 2008, he was elected to the Board of Directors of USA Archery in a nationwide vote. He currently chairs the Nominating and Governance committee and was a member of the Collegiate Task force which helped develop the newly launch Collegiate division under USA archery.
For the past 9 years, Davis has been part of USAA's "International Team Staff" program. He has served as Coach or Team Manager on multiple trips to Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Mexico, Croatia, Italy and Taiwan. This past summer, he was selected as Head Coach for team USA competing at the World University Archery Championship in Mongolia and also a staff Coach for the US team at the World Archery Field Championship in Dublin this September.
Davis is also a Coach for the prestigious Jr. Dream Team program which is designed to develop young archers who show elite level potential. Many of his students have won national titles or ranked in the top ten.
Davis came to Columbia in the fall of 2003 as an assistant to his long-time friend and fellow archer, Larry Brown. When Brown left in 2004, Davis was named to succeed him. He earned his Level 2 certification in 2004. In 2006, Davis was named a Regional High Performance Coach, under the auspices of USA Archery’s High Performance Plan, and underwent intense training with Kisik Lee, USA Archery’s National Head Coach. This year, Davis reached highest status and earned Level 5-NTS certification, the highest level available of which there are only 10 others nationally.
Before coming to Columbia, Davis was a certified Apple Computer technician at the famed Tekserve on 23rd Street. He served as the Sr. Audio Systems Engineer where he built and maintained production systems for HBO, NBC, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Alicia Keys, Bruce Springsteen, Bjork and many others.
A native of Sherman, Texas, Davis’ first exposure to archery was a physical education class in college. He has been active in the sport for more than 20 years, and is a member of USA Archery. He has served on their Board of Directors and various committees and task forces. He currently chairs the Nominating and Governing Committee and serves on a task force researching the growth and development of varsity level collegiate archery.
Davis studied communications and music at Hunter, and has been involved in jazz and pop music production.
Davis lives in the Bronx. He has one son, Derek M. Davis II, who is a full-time archery instructor, assistant manager at Gotham Archery in Brooklyn. In his limited spare time, Davis loves cycling, hiking and still dabbles in music production.