BARNESVILLE —The Barnesville High School athletic family as well as countless others are mourning the loss of long-time coach Darrell Davis who passed away on Monday at the age of 67.
"Darrell was a very compassionate, caring individual," said BHS Athletic Director Mark Cook. "He was respected by his athletes and will be missed by the Shamrock community.
"In the realm of competition during his career, he won a state wrestling championship and had a girls’ track state runner-up team," Cook related, "but off the field, he would do anything he could to help someone."
Davis was a 1968 graduate of Dover High School where he was a tackle on the the 1967 undefeated football team. He then gradated from Dakota State College (1972) where he was a four-year starter at offensive tackle and a member of the Boot Hill Bowl winning team in 1971.
He spent 35 years a teacher/coach in the Barnesville School District (retiring in 2008), serving as the head wrestling and girls’ track coach during his tenure and he was a long-time assistant coach in football.
During his nine years as head wrestling coach of the Shamrocks, Davis reached the pinnacle in 1984 when his team won the Ohio Class AA State Championship and he was named the Ohio "AA" Coach of the Year. The ’Rocks followed that up in 1985 by winning the overall title in the OVAC Ron Mauck Wrestling Tournament and that year, he was also recognized by the Upper Ohio Valley Dapper Dan Club for his achievements in both wrestling and track.
Overall, he coached 42 OVAC place-winners on the mat including nine champions; 53 district place-winners including 20 champions; and 13 state place-winners including two state titlists. He led the ’Rocks to OVAC team titles in 1982, ’83 and ’85.
Three of his wrestlers went on to excel at the college level. Al Logan (who recently stepped down as head football coach at Muskingum University) who placed sixth at the NCAA Division III National Wrestling Tournament; Don Moxley, who went on to wrestle at Ohio State University and won the Big 10 heavyweight championship his senior season; and Tim Moxley, a two-time state champion who went on to play football at Ohio State where he was a starting offensive tackle for three years.
"Darrell Davis was so much more than my words can express," said Tim Moxley through his Twitter account. "Teacher, mentor, friend, advocate...his lessons show through us every day. He has influenced the lives of so many people! Over the years I have been able to stay in touch, but not being able to say I love you hurts."
Davis was also the tournament director for the Barnesville Invitational and the Eastern District Sectional Tournament for 25 years. He was the recipient of the OVAC’s prestigious "Mr. Mat" award in 2014 for his contributions to the sport of wrestling.
As the girls’ track coach at Barnesville, he guided the Lady Shamrocks’ Class AA State Meet runner-up team in 2004. Davis-led BHS teams won seven OVAC championships (1992, ’98, ’99, 2001, ’04, ’07 and ’08).
Davis spent the last two years on the football coaching staff at Buckeye Trail and despite his brief time there, definitely made a difference.
"Coach Davis made a tremendous impact on me as a coach and as a person," said Trail coach Donnie Kerns. "When I found out East Guernsey was hiring me, he was the first person I called to hire (as an assistant coach).
"As a coach, he was always about doing things the right way," Kerns continued. "If you missed practice, there was a punishment and if a kid did anything wrong, he made sure I held them accountable. He brought a nasty attitude to our offensive line, and it wasn’t by accident that in the last two years, offensively we did things at Trail that teams never had before.
"We will miss him greatly as a coach," he concluded, "but more importantly, the football program lost a good friend."