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Davis, Day part of 2010 Hall class / April 05, 2010
Terry Davis

He jokes that he is now known primarily as Ed Davis’ dad, but Terry Davis was a heck of a ballplayer in his own right, back in the day.

And the elder Davis has the credentials to be a member of the Halifax County – South Boston Sports Hall of Fame.

Davis, a former NBA regular and Virginia Union University standout, joins the current Hall of Fame class Saturday night during the annual induction ceremonies at Halifax County Middle School, starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are still available.

The former Comet, said of the nomination, “It’s an honor. I’m truly excited the committee would vote me in.”

Davis remains one of only a handful of Comets to play in the professional ranks, and he had a spectacular career at Union, eventually landing a spot in that university’s sports Hall of Fame in 2009.

Davis was a three-year starter at Union. He averaged 22.3 ppg while shooting .615 from the field as a senior. He pulled down 11.9 rebounds per game and was selected the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Conference player of the year. Davis was also named CIAA player of the year as a junior in 1988, averaging 22.7 ppg and 10.9 rebounds per contest, after he had averaged a double-double as a sophomore for VUU.

Davis averaged 15.5 ppg and 9.8 rebounds at Union, earning all-America honors.

His NBA career began on Sept. 28, 1989, when he signed a free agent deal with Miami. Davis played for four teams, including Dallas, Washington and Denver, from the 1989-90 season until 2000-01.

He is ranked on the Mavs’ all-time rebounding list with 1,720 boards and enjoyed his best NBA campaign in 1992-93 with Dallas, averaging 12.7 ppg and 9.3 rebounds. Davis also had a highlight game against Atlanta on November 14, 1992, when he scored 35 points and added 17 rebounds.

Davis finished 15th in the NBA in rebounding in 1991-92, averaging 9.9 boards per game that campaign. Davis had six seasons in Dallas. He averaged 6.0 rebounds and 6.4 ppg in the NBA.

Some of Davis’ best times on the court came at Union, when he played for iconic coach Dave Robbins.

He remembers those days well, noting his best memories include “Just winning the CIAA championship and Coach Robbins turning me from a young man coming out of South Boston into all-American player at Virginia Union.” Davis had tremendous success in college, and those accomplishments alone probably would have landed him in the local sports Hall.

Davis and VUU had postseason success, and he retains immense respect for Robbins.

“It was an honor and a privilege (playing for him). Coach Robbins, in my book, is a Hall of Fame coach. I got an opportunity to play for a lot of coaches in the NBA, but nothing like Coach Robbins. He was a disciplinary coach, who was not only a coach, but he was also a teacher of the game,” said Davis.

“And his focus was not so much on the basketball court, but off the court, of making young men better people,” Davis pointed out.

Davis developed a stout basketball acumen for rebounding and defense, which proved to be his pathway to the NBA.

“You’ve got to want to do it (rebounding), and that’s what I try to instill in my son. Rebounding is something you’ve got to want to do. That’s what kept food on the table,” said Davis, who would go on to play 480 career NBA games.

He had improved his profile until a serious and tragic automobile accident in Halifax County on May 2, 1993. Davis missed all but 15 games while recovering from a shattered left elbow in 1993-94, but he fought back from that adversity.

“I didn’t think I would get one year in the business,” said Davis, noting he came back hungry to get back on the court after the accident. He is still grateful to God for the opportunity to live out a childhood dream and compete on the professional level.

Davis later worked as an assistant at Union under Robbins, as the school won a national title.

He’s now focusing on relationships with his two children, including his daughter, who is involved in the nursing program at Norfolk State University.

Davis’ son, Ed, a sophomore forward at North Carolina, may be headed to an even more prominent professional career than his dad – the elder Davis said his son can do a lot of things on the court that he could not – and the UNC standout also earned an NCAA championship ring last season.

“I used to be Terry Davis, but now I’m Ed Davis’ dad,” cracked the incoming Hall of Fame member.

Davis also had kind words for former Comet head basketball coach John Crittenden, who guided the former HCHS standout in his prep career.

Crittenden helped instill a work ethic in the youngster, but Davis also remembered the hard work of growing up on a flue-cured tobacco farm in the county.

And now Davis is being honored by his hometown, which is something the former NBA player notes correctly can never be taken away from him. South Boston and Halifax County is where it all started, he noted.

Terry Davis holds this Hall induction in high esteem, noting it’s particularly meaningful to him to be honored along with such former Hall greats as NFL icon Willie Lanier.

Tigue Day Sr.

Versatility, intense competitiveness and a genuine love and respect for baseball – all of those qualities, and more, make Tigue Day Sr. a Hall of Famer.

Day, who is being inducted posthumously, joins the 2010 Hall of Fame class which includes two-time Olympian Tisha Waller, former NBA player Terry Davis, and another highly regarded athlete, Bill Vanney.

Kenneth Day, one of Day’s four sons, said of the induction, “It’s just a great honor ... it’s nothing that should be taken lightly, for him to be recognized by his peers, to … not forget what people like him, and other people in the community, too, that have done stuff for this county in baseball and other sports.

“His main thing was baseball,” said Kenneth Day.

The Hall honor serves as a poignant reminder of Day’s legacy. Kenneth Day said the family has many people to thank, and noted his mom, Myrtle Day, who resides in town, also shares in this honor. She had to go to her late husband’s games, with the four boys in tow.

Mrs. Day is scheduled to accept the Hall induction honor in memory of her husband.

Day carried a passion for baseball.

Kenneth Day remembered his dad was hard on the boys at times. He instilled the value of playing the game the right way, always hustling. He branded a love of competition – and playing the game by the rules – into his sons.

Day always had his rule book.

Kenneth remembers the last time his dad saw him play, when the future Comet assistant baseball coach was playing catcher against the Eagles.

Day passed away in May 1980.

Kenneth Day still remembers the influence his dad had on him, and all of the Day brothers.

“The love for baseball,” said Kenneth Day.

The message from his dad was to try to do things the right way, and once you were committed, stay committed.

Kenneth Day also remembered fondly that his dad taught him one particular skill, the technique of bunting that remains with him even today.

Day began his athletic career as a catcher for the C.H. Friend High School Cyclones in high school in 1950 and 51. He also played football, as his good friend Addison Marable remembered.

In 1960, Day entered a bowling tournament in Baltimore, Md, called ‘King of the Hall’. Day won for ten weeks and earned enough money to build his first home.

In 1962, Day began coaching the Lions in the South Boston Dixie Youth league, where he worked for ten years.

He coached in the Babe Ruth league for more than ten years and won four consecutive championships coaching the Westinghouse team. He coached several all-star teams in the Babe Ruth program and his 1976 team won the state championship. That team finished third in a regional playoff.

Day and Marable worked together to coach a Connie Mack team for boys aged 18-21 for three years and had some good luck, Marable remembered.

Day was an owner-manager of a semi-pro team in the Roxboro, N.C. Optimist league.

After high school, Day played baseball for a number of years in the Halifax County baseball league.

Day was a very solid bowler rolling for the Coca-Cola team in the South Boston bowling association. Day was among the first class inducted into the South Boston Bowling Hall of Fame.

And Day, as an example of his diverse sports interests, was also a very good pool player.

Hall of Fame baseball legend Cal Ripken once said, “Whether your name is (Lou) Gehrig, (Cal) Ripken, (Joe) DiMaggio or (Jackie) Robinson, or that of some youngster who picks up his bat or puts on his glove, you are challenged by the game of baseball to do your very best day in and day out. That’s all I’ve ever tried to do.”

We expect Tigue Day, Sr. would have agreed with that sentiment.

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