Though Davidson College is best known for outstanding academics, it also has a strong varsity athletics program. A member of the NCAA since 1920, Davidson has eleven men’s sports and ten women’s sports and is a member of the Southern Conference (Storey). Although consisting of only about 1600 students, Davidson participates on the Division I level with nearly a quarter of the student population involved in athletics (Factfile 22). In the last twenty years, the Wildcats have proved their competitive ability through appearances in the Men’s Basketball, Men’s Soccer, and Women’s Volleyball NCAA Championships, as well as winning the National Title in Women’s Tennis (“Athletics“).
Davidson athletes not only thrive on the playing field but also in the classroom. School policy states: “Athletes should be admitted to the college only when it is clear that they are capable of success in the classroom. Once enrolled, athletes will be expected to meet standards of academic progress” (Report 3). Clearly, Davidson athletes have excelled because ninety-one percent of those on scholarship graduate within six years, and the college has won the Southern Conference’s Barrett Bonner Award, which is given to the school having the highest percentage of student athletes on the honor roll, every year since its initiation (Factfile 22).
Davidson boasts some the best facilities in the country, and one of the highlights is the Baker Sports Complex. Completed in 1990, the complex contains: the Louise and Carl Knobloch Indoor Tennis Center, the John M. Belk Arena, the Charles A. Cannon Pool, and the Finely Physical Education Center (“Facility Tour“). The main showpiece is Belk Arena, which consists of a varsity court with nearly 6000 seats (“John M. Belk Arena“). In addition, Davidson recently renovated Irwin Belk Track and Richardson Stadium. The old 400-meter asphalt track was replaced with a high-tech polyurethane surface, while stadium renovations include modernized stands and locker rooms for the football and soccer teams (“’Cats Take the Field“).
Over the years, Davidson Varsity Athletics have flourished due to the determination of both its coaches and students. Many coaches have made Davidson part of their family through their long commitment to the school. In fact, Davidson currently has six coaches who have guided the Wildcats for over a decade including men’s tennis coach, Jeff Frank, who has coached for over thirty years and has amassed over 500 wins (“Coaching Staff“). Also, students remain loyal to the college through the Davidson Athletic Foundation, which has raised millions of dollars. Donations from the foundation allow Davidson to maintain modern facilities and grant scholarships to distinguished scholar-athletes (Kenchinton).
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Authors: John-Michael Chapman, Eric Peterson, Will Whetstone, and Rob Wilson Date: October 2003
Cite as: Chapman, John-Michael, Eric Peterson, Will Whetstone, and Rob Wilson. “Varsity Athletics” Davidson Encyclopedia October 2003 <https://digitalprojects.davidson.edu/omeka/s/college-archives-davidson-encyclopedia/page/varsity-athletics>