Late last week, we learned of the impending departure of a couple of successful area high school head coaches.
One leaves riding down Main Street in the back of a convertible surrounded by tickertape. The other left by a back door, jumped into a waiting car as journalists yelled questions and cameras flashed.
Well, not literally, but in effect.
There are similarities. Both are named Davis and coached at local private schools. And both will leave behind big shoes to fill.
Other than that, the stories of their resignations diverge drastically.
Loganville Christian Academy head basketball coach Mark Davis was the dean of county basketball coaches, having spent 16 seasons leading the boys team. For 13 of those years, he doubled as one of the school’s principals.
He built the Lions program from the ground up, his tenure spanning three different associations and nearly 400 games.
Five banners hang in the gym honoring his state championships, four from the now-defunct Independent Christian Schools of Georgia and Alabama and one from the Georgia Independent School Association.
Among the highlights of his career was coaching Daniel Miller, one of the county’s most decorated players ever who split his college career between the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech and has spent most of his professional career overseas. The 6-foot-11 post currently plays in Japan.
Davis says his best memory was winning the 2013 GISA title during LCA’s first year in the association. The Lions were expected to get pummeled in their inaugural season but instead ran rough-shod over their opponents, led by the aforementioned Miller.
A devout Christian who’s spent his entire career in some form of ministry, Davis leaves behind a legacy of both success and sportsmanship and a long roster of players who are better men for having played under him.
No doubt, he’ll still continue to work and serve, both in his church and the school. But the only thing that will get him back on the sideline, he says, is if his grandson signs up for recreation league basketball.
Meanwhile, a few miles east down Highway 78, George Walton Academy accepted the resignation of Shane Davis after just three short years with the Bulldogs football program, one as an assistant and the past two as head man.
His was an abrupt departure shrouded in controversy and rumor mongering. He’d reportedly been suspended for several weeks before school leaders finally broke their silence about the situation last week.
Rumors are the uproar involved allegations of improper payments to a student-athlete. It’s a serious charge that, given Davis’ resignation, must have some traction.
The entire situation is a huge black eye for GWA and, for a program that was on a clear upward trajectory, it could set back the football team for many years to come.
As someone with connections to the school — both of my children are alums — I’m personally embarrassed and disappointed.
Taken together, the departures of Davis and Davis is bittersweet for the local sports community.