WACO, Texas – Gallaudet University’s John Davis was named the 2014 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division III Assistant Coach of the Year on Monday as the organization announced its top assistant coaches from five divisions of collegiate football.
Davis shares the stage with others honorees including Gary Campbell, University of Oregon (Football Bowl Subdivision), Robert Wimberly, Liberty University (Football Championship Subdivision), Joel Williams, Delta State University (Division II), Alan Dykens, Graceland University (NAIA). A total of 61 assistant coaches from five divisions were nominated in 2014.
“This award is special because the AFCA recognizes coaches not only for your on the field accomplishments, but for commitment to service off it. I am still amazed that I was selected, this is one of the highest honors an assistant coach can receive,” said Davis.
Davis just completed his sixth season at GU as the Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator. He also serves as the Admissions Liaison for the Athletics Department, a post he has held for over three years. During his tenure as the leader of the Bison defense he has coached 35 all-conference defenders and several defensive units that finished ranked in the Top 10 in Division III.
Outside of the football field, Davis and his wife, Octavia, are Virginia Certified Therapeutic Foster Parents who work primarily with children who have experienced some type of trauma or have mental impairments. Along with raising his own three children, Davis and Octavia are currently also taking care of three sisters to prevent them from being split up or deported. Through the foster agency, Davis is also active in many charity drives, such as “Stuff the Bus,” which gathers Christmas gifts for foster children, and “Clothes for Bros,” which collects clothing donations for disadvantaged teens.
“I learned from my dad that it only takes time to make a difference in someone’s life. I don't know where I would be without football and I want to share my blessings with people who are less fortunate by paying it forward. The accolades and the wins will eventually fade but the impact I get to make on people will last a lifetime,” said Davis.
The Davis family regularly opens their home to Gallaudet student-athletes that can’t go to their own homes over the holidays and frequently host 30 or more students for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners
“I can not think of anyone more deserving for this award. John is not only passionate about coaching football but he is even more passionate about helping people and making a difference in people’s lives,” said Gallaudet head coach Chuck Goldstein, who helped in nominating Davis for this award. “Thanks to John’s dedication to his job and his involvement at Gallaudet, he has made a big impact on the success our program has achieved along with our community service involvement over the years.”
The criteria for the award, is not limited to on-field coaching ability or the success of the team and players that these assistant coaches work with. Service to the community through charitable work and other volunteer activities, participation in AFCA activities and events, participation in other professional organizations and impact on student-athletes are all taken into account in the selection process.
Winners of the Assistant Coach of the Year Award will receive a plaque to commemorate the award. They will be honored at the President’s Kickoff Luncheon, Monday, Jan. 12, at the 2015 AFCA Convention in Louisville, Ky.
“Once again, five outstanding assistant coaches have been selected for their dedication, not only to their teams, but to their communities,” said Executive Director Grant Teaff. “Often times, the head coach receives much of the credit for his team’s success, but any head coach is only as good as his assistants. Much of an assistant coach’s work is done behind the scenes. It is our pleasure to bring it to the forefront.”
The Assistant Coach of the Year award was first presented in 1997 and was created to honor assistant coaches who excel in community service, commitment to the student-athlete, on-field coaching success and AFCA professional organization involvement. Since the inception of the award in 1997 there have been 89 assistant coaches from 70 different schools honored.
Each year, staff representatives from NCAA and NAIA football-playing schools are asked to nominate an assistant for consideration. From those nominations, the AFCA Public Relations Committee selects a winner. The winners of this award were selected from Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III and the NAIA.
About the AFCA
The AFCA was founded in 1922 and currently has more than 11,000 members around the world, ranging from the high school level to the professional ranks. According to its constitution, the AFCA was formed, in part, to “maintain the highest possible standards in football and the coaching profession” and to “provide a forum for the discussion and study of all matters pertaining to football and coaching.” To learn more visits its website www.afca.com.
2014 AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year Finalists
Football Bowl Subdivision
Scottie Montgomery, Duke
Bill Cubit, Illinois
Gary Campbell, Oregon
Football Championship Subdivision
Robert Wimberly, Liberty
Chuck Hepola, Nicholls State
Ricky Coon, Southeast Missouri State
Joel Williams, Delta State
Alvin Parker, Elizabeth City State
Zach Tinker, South Dakota Mines
Scott Kirchoff, Bethel (Minn.)
John Davis, Gallaudet
Vince DiGaetano, SUNY Maritime
Miguel Paredes, Central Methodist
Alan Dykens, Graceland
Mike Gutelius, Lindsey Wilson