This week’s feature is with DeAndre Davis. The Savannah native is currently a educator and coach who works in the Liberty County School System.
Davis is entering his 13th year of teaching and coaching at Bradwell Institute in Hinesville. He is a project success coordinator as well as coaches volleyball and track & field.
When Davis arrived at Bradwell back in 2007, he was a part of the Tigers football staff as well as being the track coach. He spent six years on the football staff but has continued to coach the track team. For the past eight years he has been the BI volleyball coach.
He admits when he took over the volleyball program from Readie Kelly back in 2011, he knew about the sport. “I didn’t know much at all. I had many conversations with Terrell Cummings from Beach High School. The rest I learned from reading and watching videos.”
Davis has been very successful in his coaching duties having earned eight region titles, seven Region Coach of the Year awards, six Area Coach of the Year awards and one volleyball region Coach of the Year award.
As a coach, he states that he does not have any pre-game rituals but he does make sure his athletes are mentally prepared for the competition. “In track, I walk around the track. I also check out the throwing and jumping areas. In volleyball, I watch how the other team warms up. I look for strengths and weaknesses of the players.”
Davis has coached many successful athletes during his time and always stresses to them about completing their schoolwork, especially those who are thinking about competing on the college level. “Take care of your academics first. If you get hurt, you need something to fall back on.”
Raised in the Cloverdale area, Davis is the son of Thelma Grant and Kenneth Davis. His mother is a nurse while his father is retired from the military and resides in Augusta. Growing up, the family worshiped at Garvin Temple, which is now known as Temple of Glory.
During his younger days he listed Tommy Tillman of the Chatham County Sheriff’s Department, James Holmes of the Boys Club, Johnson High School coaches Roosevelt Coleman and William Conyers and his fraternity brother Gary Oliver as mentors who kept him on the right path. In 1996, Davis was the first recipient of the Frank Callen Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year Award. “ I got the chance to meet Greg Lloyd of the Pittsburgh Steelers when I gave my speech at the Savannah Civic Center. I finished second in the state of Georgia.”
Davis attended Johnson High School where he was a three-sport athlete in football, soccer and track. In football he rarely left the playing field, logging time at wide-receiver, defensive back, kick returner, punt returner and place kicker. He was a goalie and midfielder in soccer while running the 100m and 200m races in track as well as being on the 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams. He was rewarded for his efforts. In soccer, he received the team Hustle Award and made the all region team. He also earned the Hustle Award in track and in football he was honorable mention on the all city team while earning Orange Crush Awards for his play on offense and defense.
He counts the Atom Smasher football team defeating state powerhouse Camden County during his freshman and sophomore seasons as a proud moment. He also remembers the bond he had with his teammates. “We were not just teammates, we were family.”
Davis drew some interest from colleges for his play on the gridiron but a shoulder injury during his senior year caused most of those recruiters to shy away. However, Johnson C. Smith University remained in contact with Davis. “They were the last school that took a chance on me.”
Davis stayed at the Charlotte, North Carolina based school for two year before family issues forced him to return to Savannah. While at home, he attended Savannah State University but did not participate in the sports program. He did however play for the local semi-pro team, the Savannah Panthers under coach Curtis Foster. In 2002, Davis was nominated for the all star game because of his defensive play.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from SSU, Davis went on to add a masters degree in special education from Armstrong State to his resume.
When asked how he got into the educational field, Davis gives the credit to Roosevelt Coleman. “He told me I should go into education and I laughed at him. While working as a counselor for the juvenile, I was asked to go on the interview. I was offered a job at Tompkins Middle School on the spot.”
Before taking the job at Bradwell, Davis had the opportunity to work at Johnson High. “It was an honor to teach and coach and teach at my alma mater. Some of the same teachers that taught me was still there. It was weird at first.”
Davis, who is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and is a Mason, spends his free time riding motorcycles, bowling, shooting pool, playing cards, dominoes and working out.