Davis steps away from head coaching duties
When anyone moves on from something that has been a big part of their life, it’s tough. For Rob Cox—and now Marty Davis—both said those decisions have come only after some gut-wrenching discussions with family members and themselves.
First, Cox resigned his head football coaching position at Drew Central to become a youth pastor. Now, Davis has resigned the same post at Monticello to concentrate and being Dean of Students for Monticello High School.
Administrations and school boards at both local high schools will be looking for replacements over the next few weeks. The search has already begun on both Clyde Ross and University drives, administrators at both schools have said.
For Davis, who completed his fourth head as head Billie with a less-than-stellar 15-27 record this fall, he admitted it was doubly difficult to move on from a coaching career that has consumed 30 of his 55 years—not to mention his playing days at Warren (where he graduated in 1981) and Arkansas Tech University (where he was a three-year letterman as one of the top linebackers in the old Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference).
“It’s always tough to step away and this was no different,” Davis said. “The time and effort invested in what you do, the relationships with the athletes and all people involved in the program makes it very tough and this was no different.
“In my career, I have only had to tell my athletes two times that I would not be their coach. This was the toughest part of stepping away, for sure. There is a time and place for everything and this is and good time and place for me to step away.”
The silver lining in this, if there is one, Davis said, is that he not fully retiring from MHS; students and staff will still see him around. He’s currently spent 24 years of his teaching and coaching career in Billie blue, with no plans to do anything else.
He began his career as an assistant high school/head junior high football coach at Dardanelle in 1987-88 before coming to Monticello in 1989. He remained a Billie until 2005, when he followed the legendary Johnny McMurry to Watson Chapel. After four years as an assistant there, Davis moved to Hamburg as an assistant football coach. He’s been back in Monticello since 2011.
“You become an educator to make a difference,” he noted. “This is probably the only profession where you have the ability to affect so many people. The lessons you learn being a part of a team will influence the decisions you make for the rest of your life. My decision to become a teacher/coach came from those experience as a student-athlete in both high school and college. The people I have worked with and for had huge influences on the type of teacher/coach I became.”
Lest fans become clouded by the Billies’ record on the gridiron during Davis’ tenure as head coach, it should be pointed out that while he was the head track and field coach (a position in which he served at Watson Chapel and Hamburg, too), the Billies and Lady Billies won several Class 4A, District 8 championships—and the senior girls’ captured the state indoor title in 2015.
When he succeeded Greg Tiner as head football coach in 2014, though, Davis said overseeing that was a whole different story—one which he embraced.
“Being in charge of any program is a challenge,” he explained, “and there are a lot of moving parts to a football program. I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be in charge of a program that has been a part of my life over the years. The experience of being a head coach has been a huge positive in my growth in the area of education. I could not have ask for a better situation to have head coach as a title.”
For their part, members of the MHS administration agreed.
“Marty Davis is a man of extreme character that always put the student-athletes first.” MHS Director of Athletics Blair Brown praised. “He has worked hard for decades with the youth of Monticello. During those years, he made a difference in their lives helping them become more than athletes but to be better people.”
Monticello School District Superintendent Sandra Lanehart added: “I would like to thank coach Davis for his dedicated service to the students of Monticello School District. I can’t think of any other person who is more respected and admired by his colleagues, players and parents—both in and outside of the district. He has been a positive influence on the young men whom he has coached, and he will be greatly missed as head coach of the Billies.”
As was the case with Cox, however, Davis said the people he would miss most are the student-athletes he has coached.
“My kids have had a lot of success at all levels,” Davis noted, specifically about his track head coaching days. “As I step away from coaching, it’s them I’ll miss the most.
“It has been great experience the past four years. I want to give a huge thanks to the kids, parents, fans, teachers and administration for their great support over the years.”