Graduation a celebration of life for UWP's Davis
PLATTEVILLE - Reggie Davis has a winning streak second to none. The 22-year-old University of Wisconsin-Platteville senior and wide receiver for the Pioneers is graduating next month, despite a rugged personal playing field.
Davis' background and home life could have deterred his determination to play Pioneer football, graduate from college and get a job.
"I saw the destructive forces of drugs from my friends and my dad since I was a little kid," said Davis.
Drugs hit home when Davis was in elementary and middle school. "I saw a lot of my friends selling drugs. My own father used and sold drugs. He's in prison now. But I'm not ashamed. He was a good father before all this happened."
Davis' growing up years on Madison's east side in a high-risk neighborhood, his struggles with poverty and uncertainty, have only strengthened his determination to overcome life's obstacles.
"After what happened to my dad, I knew I didn't want to get involved with that," said Davis.
Davis is graduating with a bachelor of science degree in communications and has a job lined up working at radio stations in Janesville.
On the air at WKP0 FM, where he interned last summer, Davis will do commercials and a disc jockey stint with a hip-hop and rhythm and blues style.
He will also do sports network commercials for an AM station, WTJK.
"I'll start in radio and see where it goes," said Davis. "I may cross over into television."
Putting himself through college by working two and sometimes three jobs during off-season at UWP, Davis said he's grateful for his mother's example. "If my mom can work two jobs, then so can I," he said.
On the field, Davis remembers the thrill of scoring his first touchdown as a freshman. "We are playing Augustana and losing 31-0," said Davis, whose effort put the Pioneers on the scoreboard. In four years at UWP, Davis racked up 15 touchdowns and caught 144 passes. "I actually made it playing football," said Davis.
A 1998 graduate of Madison East High School, Davis made All-Conference in the Big Eight Conference when he was a senior
While playing football at UWP, Davis got inspiration and support from former assistant football coach Carlos Wiley, who now is director of Multicultural Services. "He was an inspiration to us African-American kids," Davis. "He showed us how to play, and play with a full effort."
Davis will have another chance to play football next year when he plays at the All Star game in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 11.
Davis came to UWP with the encouragement of Charles Moore, community outreach coordinator and adviser for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
"Charles is always asking how my dad is doing and shows a lot of caring," said Davis. "I want to thank him for bringing me to school here and his encouragement."
Moore said he'll miss Davis when he graduates. "Reggie is one of these young persons who can overcome some of the tough obstacles in life. He has stayed focused, both on and off the field, knows exactly what he wants and how to get there."
Getting there is what Davis is all about. "I'm looking forward to see what I can do when I get out of college; that's the real challenge."