Written and Media by Nick Corrigan.
Greenville University is home to many great coaches, each of them unique and valuable in their own ways. Head Coach of the Men’s Volleyball Team, Phil Davis, is one of those that fall into that category. As a man who has been a part of the Greenville community for most of his life, he has developed a special connection. Coach Davis has been the head coach for the past two years and has a history of being a former volleyball player at Greenville College.
Watch this video of Coach Davis’ 1999 Greenville Club Volleyball season. In this video, you will also see athletic director Tom Ackerman and Assistant Head Coach Ivan Estevez. Fair warning, the highlight video was made in 1999 and the video quality is very poor. It is hard to identify which person is which, but Coach Davis will stand out with his long arms, tremendous energy, and big plays in the middle.
Coach Davis was born in the Detroit, Michigan, area and still has a love for his home. When it comes to sports teams, he roots for University of Michigan football and basketball above all else. After that, he’s a Detroit Redwings, Detroit Lions, and St. Louis Cardinals fan. Other interesting facts about Coach Davis include that his favorite food is spaghetti, but he has recently taken a strong liking to Mexican food. His favorite drink is Vernors Ginger Ale.
Davis is also a strong man of God. When it comes to his favorite Bible verse he could not think of just one. He is a big fan of Christian rock as well. Davis could sing every word of “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” by Hillsong UNITED correctly if his life depended on it. For years he has been involved in youth ministry. Up until he accepted the head coaching job at Greenville, he was working as a youth minister, mostly with older high schoolers and younger college students. When asked how that has helped him in his coaching career Davis said, “All the counseling I’ve done has helped me understand how humans function at each age level… as well as being able to understand the psychology of this age group (late high school, early college).”
Davis appreciates the energy that comes with this age group and influencing them in their journey through life is very important to him. When it comes to incorporating faith into volleyball, Davis likes to use himself as a witness by being Christ-like through his actions and character. The volleyball program as a whole focuses on building character and recognizing Christian virtues. The Christian virtues are also one of Davis’ main selling points when it comes to recruiting athletes to come to Greenville. He informs potential athletes that Greenville University is going to offer a high-end education mixed with Christian beliefs in each class. This is one of the reasons Davis loves Greenville University. “Greenville really embraces the sport concept,” said Davis, “GU does a good job at using sports to bring God into other peoples lives.”
The volleyball program focuses on the big three, which Davis says are “..first and foremost glorifying God, second is academic excellence, and third is a winning tradition. We believe when you strive for the first two, the last one will follow.”
This year Davis has set the goal for the team to win 15-18 out of 32 games. He thinks that is a very attainable goal. As for the future, the goals he has set for himself and for the team are just as important. “The main goal is to continue to develop the program, use each season to hone in on what the program is going to be. Each season is a building block to achieve our goal of being a successful program.”
Head Coach Phil Davis is a Greenville man. His love, dedication, and energy for God as well as his players, desire for excellence, and real-world experiences are unrivaled. These characteristics are a testament to his character. When students are looking for a good role model or an example of what a good Christian man in Greenville looks like, they should look no further than Phil Davis