The World of Davidson and Davidson in the World of Collegiate Athletics

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I love Alumni Reunion Weekend for the same reason I love the all-employee meetings at the beginning and the end of the academic year: Seeing big crowds of good Davidson people gathered together reminds me of the big picture of this place, as well as the individual brush strokes that help make it up. Again with complementary themes of “the world of Davidson” and “Davidson in the world…”

Last Saturday morning on the green, green artificial turf of Stephen B. Smith Field, Head Football Coach Paul Nichols ’03 was warming up the exceedingly friendly alumni crowd for Athletic Director Jim Murphy ’78. In addition to being a football coach’s football coach—Nichols threatened alumni latecomers with push-ups and detailed the current football Wildcats’ success at building a sense of family through communal breakfasting last semester—Nichols also showed off his bona fides at being a real ambassador for all that is Davidson, not just the college’s strong Division I athletics programs.


“He knows and understands Davidson, that’s the main thing,” Murphy said.

Murphy talked about the college’s recent decision to join the Atlantic 10 Conference, effective July 1, 2014. Here are just a few of the topics and topic areas that he and President Quillen led the college community in thinking about in preparation for the exhaustively considered decision: academic reputation, athletic reputation, admissions implications, name recognition, institutional peer cohort, missed classtime policies and logistics, team scheduling and transportation, NCAA championships access, media potential, television exposure, athletic scholarships, costs of changing conferences and costs of not changing conferences. The list goes on. Bottom line: time for a change.

“The Southern Conference has been phenomenal for Davidson College, and we want to celebrate that,” Murphy said, adding, “The A-10 is a great opportunity.”

The Q&A provoked good team spirit across the alumni generations present.

“Are there any schools smaller than Davidson in the A-10?” one asked.

Replied Murphy with a confident smile: “No, but there aren’t many schools smaller than Davidson in Division I.”

It’s a great day to be a Wildcat!

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