Legendary Brock Athletic Director Bob Davis remembered for transformative impact on university sports

The Brock University community is mourning the loss of legendary Athletic Director Bob Davis, who passed away on Saturday, March 30.

He was 87 years old.

Davis is survived by his beloved wife Susie and daughters Jody and Barb. A celebration of life will be arranged at a later date.

Even in retirement, for more than 20 years, Davis remained an unwavering supporter of Brock athletics, rarely missing a home game. Alongside Susie, the couple’s presence in the bleachers on game day was a testament to their enduring commitment to the success and well-being of student-athletes.

Lorne Adams, a former Athletic Director and faculty member at Brock, fondly reminisced about Davis, highlighting his warmth, dry wit and unwavering passion for all things Brock Sports.

“Bob wasn’t just a leader within Athletics; he was its heart and soul. No one was a bigger fan of the Badgers than Bob,” said Adams, who was hired by Davis in 1974. “He was a great man who we will miss greatly. I will miss his dry humour and reminiscing about our days teaching at Brock. Bob was incredibly organized and his character was defined by his kindness.”

Davis grew up in Moose Jaw, Sask. He obtained his Master of Science from the University of Oregon in the early 1960s.

He taught at the elementary, high school and college levels before the late Arnie Lowenberger, a fellow Saskatchewan native, offered him a job as an assistant professor in Brock’s Physical Education Department in July 1968.

Davis would shape the trajectory of athletics at the University. He worked tirelessly to build one of the strongest varsity programs in the country, expanding from a handful of teams to an impressive roster of 32 before he retired in 2001.

Under Davis’ leadership, the Badgers soared to new heights, capturing 31 provincial and 10 national championships. He also spearheaded the transformation of Brock’s moniker from the Generals to the Badgers in the early 1970s.

With a passion for teaching, Davis served Brock in various capacities, including Director of Athletics, Professor of Physical Education and Acting Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences.

His visionary leadership and unwavering dedication earned him numerous accolades, including induction into the St. Catharines Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Brock Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005.

Davis was the last president of the Ontario Universities Athletic Association (OUAA) and the first president of Ontario University Athletics (OUA) following the amalgamation of the OUAA and the Ontario Women’s Interuniversity Athletic Association (OWIAA).

In 2022, Brock awarded Davis an honorary doctorate to recognize 33 years of service and the integral role he played in building athletics at the University.

“The renaming of Gym One to Bob Davis Gymnasium and the establishment of the Surgite Award in his honour stand as tributes to his impact on the Brock community,” Adams said.

The University started the Bob Davis Award in 1999. The award is given yearly to a varsity student-athlete who exhibits both academic and athletic excellence. Donations can be made at brocku.ca/donate

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