WHEELING - A little more than a month after Meredith Dailer resigned from her duties as Wheeling Park's girls' basketball coach, a familiar face will be returning to the Patriots bench.
Dee Davis will be reprising her role as head of the girls' team, a position she held from 1992 until 2006.
''I'm really looking forward to it,'' Davis said about her return from a five-year absence. ''I'm excited. I'm glad I got the chance to come back.''
In her 14 years as the Patriots' coach, Davis led Wheeling Park to back-to-back state titles in 1998 and 1999. The 1998 team's total of 101 points in the state championship game is still a West Virginia State Tournament record.
''I just needed to get myself rejuvenated,'' Davis said about leaving the hardwood. ''There's a lot of work that comes with doing both basketball and softball.''
Davis also serves as Park's softball coach, a position she still plans to keep.
''Softball season starts just a week and a half after basketball season ends,'' she said.
Davis will be taking over a team that has made three straight appearances in the West Virginia State Girls' Basketball Tournament in Charleston.
Last year, the Patriots were eliminated in the Class AAA semifinals by Bridgeport, but many of the key players from that squad, including All-Valley first-teamers Emily Puskarich and Haley Robb, will be returning for their senior seasons.
It's a reason many will have Wheeling Park as one of the favorites heading into next season, but one that did not have a huge impact on Davis' decision.
''A little bit,'' Davis said. ''I recruited a couple of these players, but I didn't get a chance to coach them before I left.
"I thought they had a lot of potential. They have been doing really well, but I think I can make them do better.
''Coaching basketball is still in my blood. My goal this year is not only to get to the state championship, but to win it.''
Wheeling Park also won the Class 5-A OVAC championship last year.
''If this was three years ago, I wouldn't have done it,'' Davis said. ''But now I'm rejuvenated and I'm ready to give it 110 percent."