Outstanding coach, athlete and educator

Published 2:31 pm Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Coach Spencer 'Onion' Davis

Editor’s Note: The following story is the first in a four-part series about the four men who will be the first inductees into the Decatur County Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday, Feb. 26, at the Charles H. Kirbo Regional Center.

Many remember former Bainbridge High School head football coach Spencer “Onion” Davis as an outstanding high school football coach.

He was one of the very best, but there is much more to his outstanding athletic career as well.

Email newsletter signup

He was also a college football player and coach, and a professional baseball pitcher.

Before coming to Bainbridge in the mid-1950s and leading BHS’ Bearcats to outstanding football heights, he played tackle at Bay High School in Panama City, Fla., from 1939 to 1942.

Davis’ athletic career was then interrupted by World War II. He was training as a coxswain of a landing craft in 1945, preparing for the assault on Japan. He was in Manila Harbor in The Philippines when news came that the war was over. Davis joined at 17 years old, and served 1-1/2 years in the Coast Guard.

From 1947 through 1950, he played football at Troy State Teachers College. He was captain all four years and was a player/coach his senior year.

In 1954, he came to Bainbridge as an assistant football coach under Coach Jim Luck. Davis became the Bearcats’ head football coach in 1955 when Luck, who later became head baseball coach at Georgia Tech, left.

During his 10-year tenure as BHS’ head football coach, from 1955 through 1965, Coach Davis led the Bearcats to a 10-0 regular season record and Region 1AA championship in 1960, an 8-2 record in 1958, a 9-1 record in 1959, a 7-2-2 record in 1961 and a 7-3 record in 1962. He also coached the BHS track and golf teams during that time.

Also an outstanding educator, Davis served as principal of Bainbridge Junior High School from 1966 to 1970 and as the superintendent of Americus City Schools from 1970 to 1983.

From 1947 to 1954, Coach Davis was in the midst of an outstanding professional baseball pitching career. A left-handed pitcher, he started for the Ozark, Ala., Eagles in 1947. In 1950, he was traded to the Nashville, Tenn., Volunteers.

Due to an injury, he was traded to the Montgomery, Ala., Grays in 1952. He ended his baseball career with the Dothan, Ala., Cardinals in 1954.

During his professional baseball career, Coach Davis had 122 wins, 77 losses and an outstanding 3.10 earned run average. He pitched in 298 games.