Schools and Libraries
June 25, 2014
The Long Beach Board of Education hosted a special ceremony on June 23 to dedicate the Long Beach High School swimming pool to varsity swimming and diving coach Woody Davis, who marked his 50th anniversary as a swim coach this year. The ceremony was held at the Long Beach High School pool, where past and present team members, parents and fellow coaches gathered to pay tribute to a stellar career. They also paid tribute to Ginny Davis, his wife of 50 years, who was always by his side to lend support to him and his teams.
School Board President Patrick Gallagher, who swam for Long Beach in the early '60s, said he graduated one year too early to have Davis as a coach, but still had many stories to tell of his positive influence on the Long Beach High School swim program.
School board trustee Roy Lester, who did swim for Davis, said, "There was no teacher in this school who has given my life more meaning than Woody. He changed my life and he changed this school. We were all there for one reason for Woody."
School Board trustee Dr. Dennis Ryan likened Davis to George Washington. "You have been the history of this place," Dr. Ryan said. "I don't know what we will do without you. And Ginny, Woody would not have been as successful as he was without you behind him."
"How do you add an accolade to a legend," said School Board trustee Stewart Mininsky. "You created an amazing bond between you and your swimmers. Thank you on behalf of my own son and all the others like him who you made into champions and gentlemen."
One after the other, Davis's past and present swimmers paid homage to him, saying that he made every swimmer feel important to the success of the team, producing great swimmers and great people in the process. John Skudin, a former team member who also coached beside him for many years, summed up Davis's illustrious career with these words: "Like a master builder, you built this house with no instructions just hard work and a lot of love."
A slideshow titled, "Simply the Best" chronicled the past 50 years of Long Beach High School swimming excellence in photos. At the completion of the slideshow, the Davis's were invited to unveil the plaque dedicating the pool in his honor. After the unveiling, students unfurled a blue and white banner that said, "The House that Woody Built."
During his 50-year tenure, coaching generations of Long Beach High School swimmers, Woody Davis instilled a winning spirit in his swimmers with three simple letters, "WWW." The three w's, which stand for Win with Woody, were just one small example of the ability Davis had to inspire his student-athletes to develop the drive to be better athletes and better people.
Davis came to Long Beach in 1964. Over the years, he led his teams to 15 county championships and 54 division, league and conference championships. The team finished second in the state championships in 2008, and in 2009, the team was named the New York State Scholar-Athlete team. He has also coached many individual champions, including 14 High School NISCA All-American swimmers. Among his many coaching honors, Davis was the 1985 New York State Swim Coach of the Year and the 1986 National High School Athletic Coaches Association Region 1 Swim Coach of the Year. He was also named Long Island Coach of the Year six times.