Charles C. “Chuck” Davis, a basketball standout at South Union High School and Westminster College who was among the inaugural members of the Fayette County Sports Hall of Fame, died June 26 of a heart attack in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was 75.
Davis honed his skills on the competitive playgrounds of Uniontown, which produced many fine athletes when Davis was growing up in the 1940s and 1950s. Some of his contemporaries included Sandy Stephens, the first black quarterback at the University of Minnesota who led the Gophers to a national championship in 1960; Bill Munsey, a defensive back who went to Minnesota with Stephens and later played in the CFL and NFL; and his nephew Ernie Davis, who went on to win the Heisman Trophy as a running back at Syracuse before dying of leukemia in 1963.
While the others played major-college football , Chuck Davis was whiz on the hardwood. At South Union High School, which later merged with North Union to form Laurel Highlands High School, Davis scored 1,544 points and led the team to three section titles before graduating in 1956.
Mr. Davis attended Westminster College in Lawrence County and became one of the Titans’ all-time greats. He scored 1,408 points at Westminster and finished his career third on the school’s all-time scoring list. He was an NAIA All-American in 1960 and was among the first class of inductees in the Westminster sports hall of fame.
“I saw him play on the playgrounds of Uniontown,” said Fayette County sports historian George Von Benko. “He was a great player.”
According to Von Benko it was common for a thousand people or more to show up and watch pickup basketball games at Boyle playground. He recalls on one occasion when Jerry West and the 1958 West Virginia men’s basketball team came to play a pickup game against some of the players from Uniontown a few weeks after the Mountaineers reached the NCAA championship game. The players from Uniontown beat West and the Mountaineers.
After graduating from Westminster in 1960, Mr. Davis had a short stint with the Harlem Globetrotters. While playing for the Globetrotters in Brazil, Mr. Davis suffered a knee injury that ended his playing career. He would stay involved in basketball throughout his life as a referee and also learned how to play tennis and golf.
After his playing career ended Mr. Davis moved to New York, where he worked as a caseworker for New York City Human Resources Administration. He was later promoted to the deputy commissioner’s liaison for direct child care services for more than 20 Years. He retired in 1995 and continued to live in the city.
In 2009, Mr. Davis, Johnny Lujack, John Woodruff, Larry Locke, Sandy Stephens, Ron Sepic, Wil Robinson, Abe Everhart and Tod Trent were the first people inducted into the Fayette County sports hall of fame.
Mr. Davis is survived by sons Marcus and Da’Mion Davis of Brooklyn, N.Y.; a daughter, Kimberly Davis of Florida; and three sisters, Angeline McLee of Uniontown, Marion Summers of Georgia and Elaine Davis of Brooklyn, N.Y.
A memorial service was held Wednesday at Lantz Funeral Home in Uniontown.
Ray Fittipaldo: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @rayfitt1.