Jemal Davis, who coached Norwich Free Academy to five playoff appearances and two Class LL championship games in nine seasons, has resigned as head coach, the school announced Tuesday.
The school said in a press release Davis was stepping down to “pursue professional opportunities in educational leadership.”
“This has been a tremendous opportunity,” Davis said in the release.” The support of the entire NFA community propelled me to look ahead to educational leadership. I am making this decision because of my experience at NFA, and I look forward to what the future holds for me.”
Davis played at NFA and graduated from there in 1990. He began his coaching career at NFA as an assistant in 1998 an became head coach in 2008. He coached the next nine seasons, directing NFA to a 70-28 record over that time.
NFA’s high watermarks during Davis’ tenure were Class LL championship appearances in 2012 and 2014, though NFA lost both.
The 2012 runner-up season put Davis’ program on the map. Led by all-state RB Marcus Outlow (now at Coastal Carolina via Boston College) and DE Tuzar Skipper (now at Toledo), the Wildcats compiled a school-record 12 victories, including a 30-28 upset of top-seeded Staples in the semifinals at Ken Strong Stadium.
NFA lost to eventual No. 1 Xavier, 48-14 in the final.
I appreciate Coach Davis for everything he's taught me and for helping me get to where I am now.. forever my Coach! ?????
— 2??1?? (@ShakeOutlow) April 18, 2017
Two years later, NFA rode RB Khaleed Exum-Strong (now at Assumption) to the Class LL-Large final, where it lost to eventual No. 1 Southington 49-0.
NFA was 4-5 in the playoffs under Davis with four semifinal appearances.
“This is a professional decision to advance his career,” NFA athletic director Eric Swallow said in the release. “Jemal has done a great job for the Academy as head football coach.”
Swallow said NFA would not be hiring an interim coach.
Notably, Davis was the last coach of record to serve a suspension under the CIAC’s old score management policy. Davis volunteered to serve the suspension, rather than appeal, after a 51-0 victory over Stamford in 2012.