In tribute: Athlete strived for perfection

Courtesy photo Cecil Davis, a 1950 graduate of Clovis High School, went on to play baseball and basketball at Wayland Baptist University and professional baseball in the Detroit Tiger and Cincinnati Reds organizations.

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

Clovis native Cecil Davis aimed for perfection in every sport he played and every job he held.

His competitive nature and generosity were hard to miss, friends and relatives said. The former professional baseball player, high school coach and administrator died of skin cancer Aug. 8 in Albuquerque, at the age of 76.

Davis, a 1950 graduate of Clovis High School, went on to play baseball and basketball at Wayland Baptist University and professional baseball in the Detroit Tiger and Cincinnati Reds organizations.

Being 6-foot-5 in high school helped Cecil, brother Joe Ray Davis of Clovis said, but a competitive fire was the biggest factor.

“He was into anything,” Joe Ray said. “In the lower grades, nobody could beat him in marbles. He was just athletically inclined at anything.”

Joe Ray remembers he would make frequent trips to Wayland Baptist to watch his brother play and set records that would land him in the school’s athletic hall of honor in 2005.

Cecil Davis’ education took him to Baylor, and later Eastern New Mexico University, where he earned his administrative degree. He coached and taught across Colorado, Texas and New Mexico —notably, Texico from 1975 to 1980, and Floyd from 1980 to 1992. He left education in 2004 as a superintendent at Hatch Valley Schools.

During that time, wife Alice Davis said, he helped build a new middle school and update the district’s physical facilities.

“He just wanted school to be the best it could be,” she said. “He wanted everybody to be the best they could be.”

Though he was diagnosed with leukemia in the late 1980s, Alice said Cecil kept his competitive streak alive on the golf course.

Gerald Clancy of Clovis said Davis would give you the shirt off his back, but he’d also give you a beating on the golf course.

“He wasn’t unbeatable,” Clancy said, “but if you beat him, you better work twice as hard next time because he was going to beat you next time.”

And throughout his life, he’d give friends the “double truth,” which became his nickname.

“At the golf course, he would tell them they were putting truth serum in (during chemotherapy treatments),” Clancy said. “If he said he was going to tell you the double truth, you’d better watch out because he had a story.”

In Tribute is a regular feature. To suggest an honoree, contact CNJ Managing Editor Rick White at 763-6991 or by e-mail: rwhite@cnjonline.com