E. Wayne alum Tony Davis gets nod for Pfeiffer Athletics Hall of Fame
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on September 27, 2012 1:48 PM
His parents and friends found their seats, and cheered loudly once the Pfeiffer College men's basketball team ran onto the court at Merner Gymnasium.
Tony Davis beamed with pride.
But the highly-recruited prep star's elation of his first-ever collegiate game turned sour. He never played a second in the Falcons' season-opening, one-point loss to Radford University in 1984.
"I didn't sniff the court," Davis recalled. "I talked with my family and had already spoken to several schools about transferring (later in the season). My family felt strong, for whatever reasons, about Pfeiffer. It was a combination of things, but mainly my mother's influence of saying she wanted me to stay there and stick things out."
He's glad he stayed.
Davis re-dedicated himself, boosted his work ethic and will reap an unexpected reward Friday evening. The La Grange resident is part of the 23rd class that will get enshrined into the Pfeiffer Athletics Hall of Fame.
"It's a very humbling experience and I'm appreciative to the outpouring of love that has been shown," Davis said. "Pfeiffer was a great nurturing experience for me which was very ideal for me, and I'm really glad I made that choice.
"I really got along with my teammates there, it was like we had known each other all of our lives. It was similar to being at home."
A 6-foot-1 shooting guard, Davis averaged 20-plus points during his senior campaign at Eastern Wayne. Coaches flooded his mailbox with letters and tied up the phone lines with then-head coach Howard Austin, telling him about why Davis should choose their school.
Davis finally selected Pfeiffer, a relatively-unknown NAIA school that was quickly gaining notoriety.
"No one from this area had ever heard of it," laughed Davis.
They would soon know all about the Falcons.
Davis worked his way into the rotation as the sixth man during his freshman year. He emerged the team's second-leading scorer as a sophomore and received all-Carolina Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honors for the Falcons, who advanced to the NAIA Sweet 16 in Kansas City.
Pfeiffer won 15 games during Davis' junior season, but it was his final campaign he remembers most of all. His older brother, Oscar Jr., said Tony wouldn't duplicate his senior season at Eastern Wayne.
He did. Davis drained the nets to the tune of 20.2 points an outing and was named the CIAC Player-of-the-Year on an eight-win team in 1987. He finished his career with 1,362 points.
"An eight-win team," Davis laughed.
Davis wasn't done.
He received a tryout with the Los Angeles Lakers, who had won back-to-back NBA championships in 1986 and 1987 with Earvin "Magic" Johnson. It came down to between Davis and Byron Scott.
Scott won the spot and the Lakers told Davis about the Los Angeles Summer League. He played a couple of seasons and had the opportunity to go overseas, but Davis had some unfinished business. He was three credits shy of getting his sports management degree.
Davis returned to Pfeiffer, completed his course load and graduated in 1990. He served as an assistant to then-head women's basketball coach Mary Ann Sunbury and worked in the school's admissions office before he returned home to the Parkstown community.
"A friend once told me at Pfeiffer that I would experience different things at home while I'm at school, and at the time I didn't really understand what he meant," Davis smiled. "He was a pysch major, very insightful and like a big brother to me. Coming home to visit was always a treat (and) my family is very close.
"You never know what you've lost until you've found yourself. I experienced many firsts during my college career. This is a first that I won't forget."
Other Local Sports
- Aycock dumps S. Johnston in pivotal ECC match
- Smith, Brantham comprise Class of 2012 for Rosewood Hall of Fame
- Rebels' ground game presents challenge to Cougars' defense
- Rosewood boys, girls take XC meet at Princeton
- Eastern Wayne drops ECC affair on the road
- North Lenoir stumbles against Cleveland
- Eagles dominate Neuse Charter
- Lopez tallies lone goal in Gators' road win
- Bulldogs take out Gators in straight sets
- North Duplin sweeps Goldsboro