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A Good Article about a Good Man

Discussion in 'Open Discussion (Work-safe)' started by osugrad21, May 29, 2004.

  1. osugrad21

    osugrad21 Capo Regime Staff Member

    I've coached against Doc Davis since he took over Carolina Forest High School four years ago. This man is an excellent role model for kids today. Even though you guys don't know him, I just wanted to give my friend a little recognition that he deserves because God knows he wouldn't ask for any applause. Please refrain from any political commentary and just enjoy the article.

    Panthers on Coach's Mind in Iraq

    Davis serving duty near Baghdad
    [size=-1]By Ryan Elswick[/size]
    [size=-1]The Sun News[/size]
    <!-- begin body-content -->

    'We've told them [the players] there's been fatalities right close to Coach Davis. They understand that. It makes them look at life with a different perspective.'

    ---Robbie Brown Carolina Forest interim football coach

    Carolina Forest football coach Doc Davis' mind is half a world away. Daydreams of playbooks, blocking dummies and, most of all, his players, fill his head as the Panthers near the end of spring practice.

    Davis wishes he could be there, but he has more pressing business to attend to at his temporary home, Camp Cooke, near Taji, Iraq, 20 kilometers north of Baghdad.

    "I miss my players and staff and feel a little empty inside since spring ball has started," Davis said via e-mail.

    But at around 5 a.m. on April 24, football was the last thing on Davis' mind. Rockets launched from homemade firing tubes sparked with a motorcycle battery from the back of a truck rocked Camp Cooke, exploding less than 100 feet from where Davis sleeps, killing four U.S. soldiers and injuring seven others.

    "Things happen so quick, you don't have time to think about it, you just react," Davis said.

    Davis is the Engineer Projects Officer for Force Protection. His job, in short, is to ensure the safety of the more than 10,000 people at Camp Cooke. Davis, a Major in the 51st Rear Area Operations Center, works with Iraqi contractors and workers to continue building Camp Cooke, which will be used by Iraq's army after coalition forces leave.

    Things are more calm now at Camp Cooke, Davis said. "It's actually pretty safe here inside our base," he said. "Our leaders have done a great job in protecting our soldiers here and we continue to fortify our base and take measures to make this a safer place for not only U.S. soldiers, but also the Iraqi citizens who support us."

    But back home, football goes on at Carolina Forest without Davis. Interim coach Robbie Brown is filling in, preparing a group of players Davis has coached since they were freshmen for their senior season.

    "I feel like this team will be the best team ever at Carolina Forest," Davis said. "Most of these guys started for me as a ninth graders during my first season. They've taken their lumps and are learning what it takes to win."

    His staff keeps in touch through e-mails, keeping Davis informed about how players are doing in practice, workouts and the classroom.

    "[The players] kind of understand," Brown said. "We've told them there's been fatalities right close to Coach Davis. They understand that. It makes them look at life with a different perspective. ... It's kind of hit home to these kids, because they all look up to Coach Davis."

    He also received an e-mail from his players earlier this month, a message Davis' wife, Kim, said really touched their normally stoic coach.

    "He's not the real sensitive type," she said. "... He said he sat there and really started missing them. In fact, he said, 'I cried, Kim.'"

    Davis said getting the message from his team was really touching. While games and practice are great, he said they aren't the best part of coaching. "The relationships you build through football and being part of the process last forever," he said.

    "These kids are so touched by the whole thing," Kim Davis said. "They are very sensitive about this with Doc. They come up to me and hug my neck and want to know about him. That just means everything to me."

    Davis isn't sure when he will be able to return home. He is hoping to be back for part of the season, though his wife said she thinks it will likely be sometime next year.

    "I can't see him coming home before Christmas," she said. "I think he holds on to the hope that he'll be six months and then he'll come back for football season, but realistically I don't see that happening."

    Brown said spring practice is going well. "We're just kind of doing our own thing. Doc totally turned it over to us, so we're kind of doing what I want to do, and we do some of the same things that Doc did. It's going good," he said.

    Running back Greg Johnson said things are pretty much like normal at practice, with one notable exception.

    "Just having him here, that loud mouth, that's the only thing different," Johnson said.

    Quarterback Zach Cerny, a two-year starter, said the Panthers are doing well, but Coach Davis is still with the team in his own way.

    "He's got certain sayings that we still say," Cerny said. "We remember him all the time."

    Having a coach and mentor serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom has made the coaching staff and players much more aware of what is going on in the Middle East, and has put football in perspective, Brown said.

    "It's makes you more thankful for every day you have being out here, what a blessing it is. You wouldn't want to be in coach Davis' shoes. It's hard. You've got to respect somebody who's going over there," Brown said.

    Davis being gone has helped Johnson realize that football is just a game, he said.

    " We used to go onto the field saying we were about to go to war. But this is no war compared to what he's doing. He's an excellent man for giving up all this to go to war," Johnson said. "He's always going to have my respect."

    Davis called football a great game that helps prepare young people for tough times. And for Davis, times don't get much tougher than they are right now.

    "I am thankful for my head football coach who was tough but taught me how to fight and gave me that will to win," Davis said. "Discipline in football and other sports helps prepare us for the real world. This world I'm in now is as real as it gets."

    Engineer Projects Officer for Force Protection in Taji, Iraq

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    Last edited: May 29, 2004
  2. MightbeaBuck

    MightbeaBuck with hat in hand

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