Calvin Davis retires from CPS

Calvin Davis retires from CPS
March 24, 2013, 11:00 am
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Calvin Davis is retiring after 32 years with the Chicago Board of Education, the last 10 as director of sports administration.

He didn't want to retire. He wasn't ready to retire. It was a matter of pride. Thomas Trotter was hired to replace him as director of sports administration. Davis was effectively demoted to be director of interscholastic competitions.

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Davis, a Dunbar graduate, was named by then-CEO Arne Duncan in 2003 to succeed retiring J.W. Smith as director of sports administration. Duncan went on to become Secretary of Education in President Obama's administration.

"He is the most qualified and hardest worker and most honest person that I have ever been acquainted with," said former King basketball coach Landon Cox. "He knows that job from A to Z. He has his principal's certificate. He was the best sports administrator I saw. He knows every job in the office. He didn't deserve what happened to him."

Davis was an innovator. But he never was given an opportunity to launch his initiatives. Instead, he was criticized for the lack of security at football and basketball games and unsportsmanlike behavior by coaches and players. Instead, he was muzzled from talking about the issues.

In 2009, Davis hoped to unveil a "Character Counts" program for CPS coaches. Again, however, he was prevented from talking about the issue and it never saw the light of day.

"It would be great for the general public to hear the plan," Davis said. "The Josephson Institute of Ethics and Michael Josephson out of Los Angeles is the creator. Myself and a number of athletic directors within CPS have completed the train-the-trainer program in preparation to train our coaches.

"The program has been used by the USA Olympic team in Beijing and even for the cadets at West Point as well as within other sports programs in cities around the country."

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Davis said "Pursuing Victory with Honor" is the sports curriculum that he hopes coaches can learn and share with their student-athletes about moral issues, academic issues and solutions.

"I really hope to get it off the ground soon," he said.

Unfortunately, he never was given the opportunity.

After graduating from Dunbar -- he played basketball with future NBA star Ronnie Lester -- Davis attended William Penn University in Iowa. He returned to Chicago to serve as a substitute teacher, coach basketball at Du Sable, and teach eighth grade social studies and physical education at Beethoven elementary school.

After receiving his Masters degree in educational administration at Chicago State, he moved to the CPS central office and worked in the truancy program, became interim basketball coordinator in 1997 and also served as a stadium coordinator, elementary school sports director, social center director and 16-inch softball coordinator.

In 2007, he published his first book, "Inner City Hoops: A History of Chicago Basketball."