After winning the OVC championship, volleyball players came off the court in tears of joy and the first person to greet them off the court was University President Bob Davies.
Through his first seven months on the job, Davies has made it a point to visit all areas of athletics, not just the nationally-recognized basketball team.
“When our teams play other schools, that becomes their Super Bowl,” Davies said. “The students and faculty are so talented and to just be part of that and see their Super Bowl it is a big deal and if that paves a way for other students then that’s great.”
Davies has made connecting with students a priority. He walks through campus daily and said he makes it a point to interact with students, coaches, athletes and fans no matter if they win or lose.
“Prior to coming to Murray State, Davies built a reputation for being fully engaged with students and he’s not disappointed,” said Athletic Director Allen Ward. “I know our student athletes work extremely hard representing the University and they’ve commented how many times they appreciate Davies visibility and support.”
Davies said he tries to attend at least one sporting event, theatric event, music concert or University event involving students each week. Athletes are an important part of student life, he said, and quoted a previous University President saying sports are the front porch to the school.
“When they win, they win with respect, class and integrity and when they don’t win, they do it with respect, class and integrity,” Davies said. “That’s the front porch. It starts with student athletes, emphasis on the student part.”
Student athletes such as Robert Broadstreet, freshman rifle shooter from Ozark, Mo., said it feels good to see the University president come to the range, as Davies did during the MSU Tri Match No. 2.
“It was cool to show our president what we can do,” said Ivan Roe, freshman rifle shooter from Manhattan, Mont. “We got off the line and he greeted us telling us we did well. You don’t get that every day and it meant a lot to us.”
With Davies’ taking notice of athletics, the growth of sports is recognized by more than just students. Ward said because of the role he (Davies) plays in marketing for the University, Davies has high expectations for intercollegiate athletics and the students involved in it.
“You’re going to have bumps and bruises,” Davies said. “As long as we don’t have a plethora of them we’re OK. But I’ve talked to the coaches they understand that we need to have exemplary students in and out of the classroom.”
Ward said because of the constant changes going on within Division I sports, it is important to have an involved president.
“We’re fortunate to have that at Murray State with Davies,” Ward said. “He’s been outstanding to work with.”
Davies said he enjoys his interactions with the students and it isn’t just for publicity. To him, taking selfies with students and tweeting with them gives him a sense of involvement in their lives.
“To me it’s all part of the University,” Davies said. “If our students put themselves out there then that’s good. They are all very important.”
Story by Kelsey Randolph, Assistant Sports Editor