Davis Gift Benefits UAB Women’s Softball
|Catherine, Allison, Ross, and Anne Davis|
Catherine and Ross Davis, M.D., recently made a generous gift to UAB Athletics to enhance its softball facility fund. The goal of the fund is to generate revenues to establish an on-campus facility that will become the new home of the UAB women’s softball team. Dr. Davis, senior physician of the Institute for Advanced Cardiovascular Care in Opelika, Alabama, and Catherine, lead nurse for Opelika City Schools, initiated the fund-raiser for the new softball field in the fall of 2006 by announcing their generous donation at the annual Blazer Bash.
“Both Catherine and I are UAB graduates,” Dr. Davis says. “When we were students, there was no sports program. Men’s basketball got started as a club sport, but that was about it. The rise of UAB Athletics has always been an interest of ours, but we were never involved until our youngest daughter, Allison, was offered a combined athletic/academic scholarship to play softball and eventually became the starting right fielder as well as an academic All-American. Our experience when she was a player was awesome. UAB softball players, parents, coaches, and fans became our family and closest friends. When Ally graduated, we saw no particular reason to leave and every reason to stay involved.
“UAB Softball was right on the brink of greatness during her entire career, but we felt that the disadvantages of the inferior facilities were preventing the program from moving forward. When Brian Mackin came on board as the athletic director, we sensed a new commitment to athletic and academic excellence and saw that the UAB leadership recognized the importance of a quality sports program in the overall development of the university.”
“The fund will benefit our program in every aspect,” says Marla Townsend, UAB head softball coach, “from playing environment for both players and supporters to recruiting, because a safe and top-notch field is very important to recruits and their parents. In addition, we’ll be able to host Conference USA Championships and regional tournaments. Dr. Davis set the tone for others who would like to donate as well and showed the UAB athletic administration the need for an on-campus softball facility. His passion for the sport of softball and for the young ladies who wear green and gold is unmatched. He has played so many roles in our short 10 years of having a program: parent of a student athlete, booster, donor, enthusiastic fan. He is always the one who sends me the first e-mails after a tough loss or an exciting victory. His schedule is so demanding, but UAB Softball is high on his priority list, and that means the world to me.”
Dr. Davis notes that there are many other fans and parents who donate something much more valuable than their money, and that is their time. “Their hard work and sacrifices have been above and beyond the call of duty,” he says. “Catherine and I couldn’t give as much of our time as these local boosters because of our distance and our professions, but we could use some of the fruits of our labors to support the program.
“We believe that the completion of the new softball complex is the next step toward national prominence. Once that is in place, we’d like to see UAB Softball consistently among the leaders in Conference USA, a perennial league champion, and a regular participant in the NCAA playoffs. Along the way, we’d like to make a few trips to the NCAA championships. We want UAB to have All-American athletes, but we’re more interested in their continuing to have scholar-athletes who are Academic All-Conference and Academic All-Americans.”
Maintaining the Momentum / Summer/Fall 2009