Coach Cliff Davis left impressive legacy

One of the most respected coaches in Montgomery County basketball history was Cliff Davis, who also coached more games than anyone else. Cliff graduated from Alamo in 1915, and entered Wabash College shortly thereafter, although he did not graduate until 1925 as he had to withdraw several times to earn enough money for tuition. During this time he also attended various coaching clinics, trying to learn all he could about the game.

Cliff taught at Morocco, Brook, Roachdale, Burlington and Rockville before coming back to Montgomery County, where he taught and coached at Linden and Waveland. In 1935, his Roachdale quintet made it to the state finals, the last year that 16 teams comprised the final group. His 1937 Linden team won the County Tourney, and from 1946 to 1951, the Waveland Hornets won 87 regular season games and lost only 28, in addition to winning two County Tourneys and two Sectionals. During the 1950-51 season, the talented Waveland boys won 26 straight games before losing by one point in the Regional championship. Cliff then coached at Waynetown for five years before retiring in 1957.

His career varsity record was 485-238, while his B-team coaching record was approximately 300-150. But guess what…Cliff also coached many grade school and junior high teams along the way, and it is believed his total record for all age levels would total more than 1,000 wins . . . quite impressive!

After retirement, Cliff scouted games for several coaches, including Dick Baumgartner, Del Harris, Bill Steerman, Virgil Sweet and Pat Rady. He also served on the Southmont school board and participated in various community activities here in Montgomery County.

According to Bill Greve, who was one of Cliff’s players at Waveland and later was a two-time MVP for Purdue (and who was also voted as one of our county’s best all-time players) . . . “Mr. Cliff Davis was the person who had the most impact on my basketball life. He was a fundamentalist! I started playing basketball under Mr. Davis in second grade and learned the fundamentals. He was great with kids. This is where it has to be learned. High school and college is a pay-off from the basketball fundamentals learned earlier in life. Someone should write a tribute to Mr. Cliff Davis.”

There were many great coaches in Montgomery County, and I certainly agree with Bill Greve . . . Cliff Davis was one of the best!

John “Butch” Dale is a retired teacher and County Sheriff. He has also been the librarian at Darlington the past 32 years, and is a well-known artist and author of local history.