Former Canfield tennis coach Larry Davis dies

Staff report


Larry Davis, Canfield High School’s boys tennis coach for 37 seasons before retiring in 2014, died Saturday. He was 68.

Davis taught science and biology at Canfield, retiring in 2008 after a 32-year teaching career.

Since 1977, Davis’ teams (boys and girls) compiled a record of 595-155 and won 27 league championships.

Four singles players — Ryan Sachire (Class of 1996), John Gallender (1980), Shalin Shah (2002) and Chris Cuppler (2003) — advanced to state.

“When a singles player makes it to state, that really distinguishes them,” Davis said at the time of his retirement.

Davis coached 22 state qualifiers including two-time state champion Sachire (1995-96), who is Notre Dame’s head coach.

As a team, Cuppler and Shaw were state runners-up in 2001.

Davis started the Cardinals’ girls program and was the coach for eight seasons.

In 2017, Davis became the first Mahoning Valley mentor to be inducted into the Ohio Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame. He was the 45th inductee since the Hall was created in 1971.

In 2014, Davis, a 1968 graduate of Columbus Whetstone High School, admitted he had limited tennis experience when he was hired.

“When I was interviewed for my teaching job, I was really hoping to coach baseball, but that was taken,” Davis said. “So Bill Kay, the principal said, ‘Do you know which end of a racket to hold?’

“I said, ‘Yeah.’

“He said, ‘Do you know how to keep score in tennis?’

“I said. ‘Yeah.’

“He said, ‘Good, you’re the tennis coach.’ And that’s how it got started.”

Davis’ next move was to learn from the best.

“I was not a seasoned tennis player,” said Davis, a 1972 graduate of Ohio State University. “In those early days, I had some really good kids and honestly I learned a lot from them.”

Davis served in the U.S. Army from 1973-75, then began his teaching career.

In 1997, he received the OTCA’s Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity Award. He was inducted into the Curbstone Coaches Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Canfield High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016.

Davis was an accomplished guitarist and singer. He and his wife, Karen, sang with the Boardman United Methodist Church Praise Team for 35 years.

Davis also is survived by daughters Katie, Sandy Ewing and Sunny Price; and five grandchildren.

A celebration service is planned Dec. 8 at Boardman United Methodist Church.

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