Wednesday, May 13, 2009

George Davis Hall of Fame Induction

On Tuesday night Kristin and I shot over to UMass Lowell to attend long time XC and Track Coach George Davis, as he was being inducted into the UML Hall of Fame. It was great seeing some old teammates again, and some former UML greats and All Americans like Dave Dunham, Bob Hodge, Dave Cremin, Dave Quintal, Steve Peterson, Liam Govostes, Rob Crane, Mike Callahan, Laura Callahan, etc. Coach gave a heartfelt speech that touched upon lots of things from his beginnings at UML, the lack of facilities he had to put up with for 30+ years, and some other team 'rituals' that will remain nameless for sake of keeping this blog at a PG-13 rating. After the ceremony, there was a reception for all of GD's guests, in which I graciously put back a Sam Light and talked about the good ole' days with Coach...and then it was back home to watch the 4th quarter of the Celts. All around good times.

From the evening's program:

George Davis - Head Coach
Cross Country / Track & Field

The amount of honors that George Davis and his athletes compiled during his tenure is staggering. The irony is that his first love was basketball.

The May 12 induction will mark the third time that Davis has been inducted into a hall of fame. A 1963 graduate of Plymouth State College, he was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 1994, as well as the Pinkerton Academy Hall of Fame in 1993.

From the time he started the men's program in 1970 to his retirement in 2002, he coached 78 All-Americans. Perhaps equally impressive, he coached 34 New England champions, which includes all three NCAA divisions.

Davis had many crowning moments during his career, highlighted in 1991 when he guided the men's cross country team to the NCAA championship and in 1988 when Hall of Fame member Jane Servi won the national championship in the indoor high jump.

Alongside those accolades, he also holds the year 1983-1984 as one of his favorite, when UMass Lowell captured the Eastern League championship in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field.

In addition Davis was the recipient of many awards and was named NCAA Division II New England/Northeast Region Coach of the Year for men's track and field or cross country an astounding 15 times, as well as four times while coaching the UMass Lowell women. In 1991, after winning the NCAA Championship in cross country, he was voted the NCAA Division II Coach of the Year.

In 2002, Davis' final season with the cross country teams, he guided UMass Lowell to its third straight NCAA Northeast Region title where the River Hawks finished in the top four spots to score an astounding 17.

As is true today, the success from the cross country season routinely carries into the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons. In 2000, Davis lead the UMass Lowell women to third place at the New England Indoor Track and Field Championships - then the highest finish ever for a non-Division I school.

The UMass Lowell women then moved on to place a best-ever 10th at the NCAA indoor track and field championships.

In 2001-2002, the UMass Lowell men enjoyed a best-ever finish of third place in the New England indoors and fourth place at the New England outdoors.

Davis resides in Manchester, NH, and Ossippee, NH, with his wife Jean. They have raised two grown children.

Photo below of the 4 inductees from last night L-R: Shane Henry ('94-Ice Hockey), Kristine Botto Drust ('01-Softball), Heather Oldham ('04-Track), George Davis (XC-Track Coach).

Photo below of George during his speech.

1 comment:

  1. JJ

    Nice report. It was a great evening and long overdue for George. I noticed behind the stage all of the various sports had banners and i swear the track banner had a picture of you looking a bit like Robin Hood with pooka (sp) beads.