EDITOR’S NOTE: Long-time FWAA member Buddy Davis was the recipient of the FWAA’s Lifetime Achivement Award in 2016.
RUSTON, La. – For more than five decades, Orville Kince “Buddy” Davis has written more words about Lincoln Parish’s athletic stars and even everyday little leaguers than one can count.
Yet, late Wednesday afternoon, Louisiana Tech officials left the Louisiana Tech Athletics and Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame scribe at a loss for words.
Louisiana Tech President Les Guice, Athletics Director Tommy McClelland and a handful of other Tech athletic administrators joined the likes of Leon Barmore, Steve Davison, Jim Oakes, Teddy Allen and a number of Buddy’s Ruston Daily Leader family in the “Jack Lambert Suite” – Room 58 – at Princeton Place.
It was the least the group could do for the birthday boy. Buddy turned 71 on Wednesday.
Just hours after conducting a tour for the local media of the new press box and suites at Joe Aillet Stadium – a tour Buddy wasn’t able to attend due to doctor’s orders – McClelland stood at his bedside, showing the 50-year veteran of the pen the renderings of the $18-plus million facility.
After flipping through pages that covered the new concourse, the camera deck and the luxury suites, McClelland finally got to the level that a man of Buddy’s profession was interested in seeing. Level 3, the press area. The home for the Buddy Davis’s of the media world during LA Tech football games.
As Buddy’s eyes lit up looking at the renderings, they soon filled with tears.
“Buddy, the real reason we are here is to tell you something,” said McClelland. “There are a lot of people at Louisiana Tech and in Lincoln Parish who love you and who have benefited from your writing for so many years. You have done so much for Louisiana Tech University, more than you will ever know.
“In honor of that and of who you are, we are naming the large working press area of the new facility the Buddy Davis Media Room. We feel this is only fitting for a man who has done so much for this area for the past five decades.”
A man who mastered the written word even before the old press box was constructed in 1968 was at a loss for any. As tears rolled down his face, he just starred at the renderings of the graphics depicting his five decades of covering Louisiana Tech and all of Lincoln Parish.
“Buddy, these graphics will tell your story,” McClelland said. “They tell the story of all the incredible Louisiana Tech athletes and coaches you have written about and so many other Lincoln Parish greats. As you have told the story of so many others over the years, this will tell your story.”
The rooms large rear wall measuring 12 feet tall by 40 feet wide contains five panels – each one representing a decade in documenting Buddy’s career – and both large and small photos of Louisiana Tech and Lincoln Parish greats that he has covered.
Buddy began working at the Ruston Daily Leader as a student at Ruston High School and kept doing so while a student at Louisiana Tech before becoming Sports Editor for the Leader. Nearly 50 years’ worth of covering Tech athletes has not only produced countless awards but has also helped Buddy forge many friendships.
A few of those friends represented the masses in the Jack Lambert Suite.
“It’s so humbling,” said Buddy after most of the emotions had finally faded away. “All I’ve done is what I love to do … and to be honored in this way. I’m speechless. I’m a writer, but there are no words. It’s overwhelming. I am so appreciative and cannot thank everyone at Louisiana Tech enough for this gesture.”
Overwhelming yet fitting for a man who garnered numerous awards during his career, including enshrinement in the Louisiana Tech Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013.
A few of Buddy’s other honors include the Distinguished Service Award from the Louisiana Sports Writers Hall of Fame, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Football Writers Association of America, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association and the Louisiana Tech College of Liberal Arts Alumnus of the Year.
“I am not sure we can give this man his due,” said Barmore. “It does me so much good to see someone local, grow up and accomplish what he has done in his hometown. I wouldn’t be in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame without Buddy Davis. A lot of use wouldn’t have achieved all that we have achieved without Buddy. What an incredible career. I love the guy and deeply appreciate what he has done for me and Louisiana Tech. He is a treasure that we all should appreciate.”
Buddy is one of just a handful of people still working who sat in the original Joe Aillet Stadium press box when it opened in 1968. Now the Lincoln Parish legend will be forever honored along the back wall of the new one when it officially opens Sept. 2 when the Bulldogs host Northwestern State.
“I really didn’t see this coming … it’s unbelievable,” said Buddy.