Chuck Davis (2009)

When basketball fans debate who was the best basketball player to come out of Fayette County, it can be a heated discussion. The usual list includes the likes of Don Yates, Stu Lantz, Ron Sepic and Wil Robinson. Another name that is often thrown in the mix is that of former South Union star Chuck Davis. He was a scoring whiz who led the Blue Devils to three section titles before he graduated in 1955.

Chuck Davis  

Davis has fond memories of the little bandbox gym in which South Union played.     

“It was very small,” he recalled. “The one side had an overhanging balcony and if you weren't careful you could hit the overhang when you shot the basketball.”

The court didn't hamper Davis' scoring. When South Union merged with North Union to form Laurel Highlands High School, Davis was still the All-Time leading scorer at South Union. The top five Blue Devil scorers were Davis, Rip Haley, Rich Novak, Ron Fudala and Fran Bonier.

Davis played for the late Marty Fagler and was a part of some very competitive teams.

“We won the section in my freshman year, my junior year and my senior year. We won the section all of those years,” said Davis.

The highlight of any season was the match up with rival North Union.

“We played them three times a year,” Davis offered. “We played twice during the regular season and once every year in a tournament down at St. John's. We only lost to them one time in a tournament game at St. John's.”

Davis came from a very athletic family; his older brother Willie was a fine basketball player.

“He taught me a lot,” Davis explained. “When he graduated, I was still in grade school. He was a little bigger than I was. He was about 5-10; I was about 5-8 or 5-9. My biggest asset was my quickness.”

His nephew was Ernie Davis, the late Heisman Trophy winner from Syracuse.

“We grew up together,” Chuck Davis said. “He left when he started junior high and moved to Elmira, N.Y. He used to come back to Uniontown every summer.”

When Davis graduated from South Union in 1955, he had some interesting college scholarship offers before deciding to attend Westminster.

“One of my high school teachers graduated from Westminster,” Davis explained. ”He took me up there for a visit. I went up there and fell in love with the campus. It was a beautiful campus.”

Davis fashioned a great career with the Titans.

“I started out with Grover Washabaugh as my coach and then Buzz Ridl took over,” said Davis.

Davis played at Westminster from 1956-60. He was an NAIA All-American in 1960. He tallied 1,408 career points, which was the third most in school history when he graduated and currently ranks eighth.

He is a member of the Titan Sports Hall of Fame. He led the Titans to two NAIA National Tournaments in 1959 (19-8) and 1960 (24-3) When he graduated he held the school record for points in a game with 40.

The highlights, of course, were the trips to Kansas City for the NAIA Tournament.

“When we went to Kansas City, we were playing at eight in the morning and every time you won you move closer to the evening session.

“They only had 40 teams and we were ranked 39th. We went all the way from 39 to number two in 1960,” Davis said.

The Titans lost to Southwest Texas in the finals in 1960, 66-44. Along the way they posted one of the biggest upsets in school history defeating Tennessee State, the three-time defending champion, 39-38. Davis captured the NAIA “Charles Stevenson Hustle Award.”

When Davis graduated from Westminster, he continued to play basketball.

“I had a short stint with the Harlem Globetrotters,” Davis explained. “Then, I just played around New York for awhile. I also played with the Phillips 66'ers for a while. That's where I got picked up from the Globetrotters and I hurt my knee when we were playing in Brazil and I wanted to go home. I left and came back to New York; that's when I left the Trotters.”

After basketball, Davis, 71, got into public service.

“I started working in a childcare agency and I went from caseworker to director of the office — the New York City Children's Administration,” Davis stated. “I was there 34-years and I retired in 1995.


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