JCJC's Joey Davis inducted into MATA Hall of Fame
Written By: Shawn Wansley
Email Address: email@example.com
Date Submitted: 2010-09-10 13:44:45
By Shawn Wansley
JCJC Sports Information Director
ELLISVILLE – Joey Davis has joined an elite group.
Davis, the longtime athletic trainer at Jones County Junior College, was inducted into the Mississippi Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Biloxi in June.
“It is a big honor,” said Davis, who retired as a trainer at JCJC in 2008. “They have been doing this for about five years. It’s a humbling experience when you consider who is in there. You’ve got guys like Earnest ‘Doc’ Harrington and Jim Gallaspy from Southern Miss, along with Leroy Mullins and Doc Knight from Ole Miss.
“To be put into the same category as those guys makes it special.”
Davis got a taste of training when he was a student at Laurel’s Maddox Junior High School. He then went to R.H. Watkins High School where football coach Hank Shows piqued his interest in the training profession.
“Coach Shows asked me if I would consider doing it as a vocation,” he said. “He had the foresight to see that there would soon be a big demand for athletic trainers. I kind of took that to heart.
“But I kind of got started in it because all of my buddies played football.”
Davis was a trainer for the Golden Tornado football team for the 1976-78 seasons. He graduated from LHS in 1979.
“I made a lot of good friends and saw a lot of great athletes at Laurel,” he said. “We had some guys who went on and had success in football and baseball at the junior college level and on the Division I level.”
Davis then came to JCJC and served as a trainer under head coach Sim Cooley. The Bobcats won the state title in football in 1979 and played for the championship, but lost to Gulf Coast in 1980.
“We had two really good years here at Jones,” he said. “I served under Coach Cooley, Coach (Elmer) Higginbotham and Coach (Tommy) Parker.”
After leaving JCJC, Davis continued his education at the University of Southern Mississippi. Again, he had the privilege of being associated with some quality football teams, as the Golden Eagles enjoyed a great deal of success under head coaches Bobby Collins, also a Laurel native, and Jim Carmody in the early 1980s.
“We had Reggie Collier, Sammy Winder, Mike Landrum and those guys,” he said. “We won a lot of ballgames back then. Coach Collins asked me one day in the training room where I was from and after that, he knew who I was. He would ask me if I knew where certain people still lived in Laurel and that kind of thing.”
Davis received his undergraduate degree in 1985 and his masters in History in 1986 at Southern Miss. He began teaching Western Civilization, Athletic Training and Weightlifting at Jones in 1985 and he was the athletic trainer for all sports.
“A lot has changed in those 25 years,” he said of Mississippi junior college football. “Back then, there were no out-of-staters. All the teams pretty much played with local kids – that’s what you won and lost with. After that, they would let you have 16 out-of-state players and now it’s down to eight.”
Davis worked for four football head coaches at JCJC: Cooley from 1985-87, Higginbotham from 1988-91, Parker Dykes from 1992-2005 and Eddie Pierce from 2006-08. He also served under several baseball and basketball coaches.
“I’ve worked for a lot of good coaches,” he said. “They have the ability to make my job a pleasure or a burden. Luckily for me, the vast majority made it a pleasure, along with the players.”
Even though he retired as athletic trainer after the 2008 football season, he continues to teach six Western Civilization classes.
“It is something I really enjoy,” he said of teaching. “I know I’m old because I’ve gotten to the point where I am teaching the children of people I have previously taught. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a slap in the face.
“I can go to the Coast, Jackson, Meridian or Hattiesburg and if I walk through a mall, I will see people I taught. I may not remember their names, but I will recognize them.”
Several people Davis has taught and worked with in the field of athletic training have gone on to achieve success in that profession. That is something that makes Davis proud.
“A lot of the student trainers who have worked for me have gone on to professional sports, whether it’s baseball or football, or they have gone on to the Division I level,” he said. “They are at SEC schools, smaller schools or teach at professional clinics. That is very gratifying to me for those kids to get to where they wanted to go.”
Davis, an avid outdoorsman, has continued his relationships with many of the players and coaches he has been associated with in the past.
“I hunt and fish with them,” he said. “They call me and talk about their kids and I’ll talk about my kids. I would say 90 percent of the time, I’m fishing with guys that either played here or coached here at Jones.
Davis, who was in the field for the opening of dove season on Sept. 4, enjoys the outdoors. But there is one thing in particular he especially likes.
“Saltwater fishing is my true passion,” he said. “Speckled trout, redfish,… you name it. It’s something I truly enjoy.”
Davis and his wife, Melissa, have been married for 21 years and currently reside in Ovett. They have three children: Brad, a junior at Mississippi State University; Haley, 16, a student at South Jones High School; and Allie, 10, a student at South Jones Elementary.
Current JCJC trainer Gary Stroud, who served under Davis as a student aide, nominated Davis for induction into the MATA Hall of Fame.