Davis leaves his mark on Windsor football

By BOB PADECKY
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

On Sept. 24, Dustin Davis walked toward me, his Windsor football team about to play Maria Carrillo on a Friday night. He was wearing a white shirt, black tie. I mentioned such a wardrobe is not all that common for a high school football coach on game day.
“I want to build a tradition at this school,” the first-year coach said. “One of class, commitment, doing things the right way. I would like to do things here the way De La Salle does.”

Concord’s De La Salle is the pre-eminent example of prep football in the state of California. For a newbie like Davis to make that statement before just his fourth game as varsity coach, his dedication and devotion to a high standard was direct, impressive, unambiguous. He was in for the long haul.
That first-year coach met with Windsor officials Feb. 25 to tell them he was resigning to enter law enforcement.
Davis didn’t sleep the previous night. He had laid awake, formulating five different scenarios in which he still could coach. He woke up that morning, still straddling the fence. One minute he had talked himself into staying, the next minute he was leaving. A ping-pong ball was rattling around in his head. He was grinding.

“If I were to leave,” said Davis, 30, “it would be unfinished business. That’s what was troubling me the most.”
An hour before he met with school officials he made up his mind.
“To play good football,” he said, “you have to be unselfish. It would have been selfish of me to continue.”
The 156-mile round-trip drive from his Windsor home to the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department training academy in Pittsburg, that would drain a lot of energy and time.

His father, stepfather and mother all are or have been in law enforcement. It was, Davis felt, his calling. But he’s not about to cut and run. Through April 11, Davis will conduct a one-hour, team-building meeting each Wednesday morning. He’s done this for the last four years (the first three as junior varsity coach), from January through April.

The first two Wednesdays players watch a documentary on the De La Salle football team. After that they are given seven questions, asked to give seven answers.
Such as: What is your proudest moment? Your least proudest? Why?
In front of the entire team. The players are honest, revealing.

“In a way, they are calling themselves out,” said Davis, who said it would be no more than a year before he returns to high school football.
Davis got the idea for Wednesday meetings three years ago from Dick Tomey, then San Jose State’s football coach. Been remarkable, he said, on how it has brought his team together.

Might Davis suggest the new Windsor coach do the same thing?
“Absolutely,” Davis said.
For more North Bay sports go to Bob Padecky’s blog at padecky.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Bob Padecky at 521-5223 or bob.padecky@pressdemocrat.com.