Sunday, July 14, 2013

O.K. is everybody's Buddy

O.K. "Buddy" Davis
        It's easy to say that O.K. "Buddy" Davis is one of Louisiana's most popular sportswriters, for several reasons:
       (1) He's very good at what he does; (2) he's been around forever; (3) he's always working; and (4) he's one of the nicest people anywhere.
      He has been sports editor of the Ruston Daily Leader since he was in high school -- a mere 49 years. He knows more about high school sports in that area and in Louisiana, and about Louisiana Tech and Grambling State athletics than anyone I know.
      He is, as our friend Judy Smart pointed out to me earlier this week, a living history book, with a comedic touch, too.
      He is a year older than me, and we were good friends in school at Louisiana Tech in the mid to late 1960s. We're still good friends. But Buddy has thousands of friends.
      And, right now, he needs our prayers and our help.
      Because last weekend, Buddy suffered what appears to be a stroke at his home in Ruston -- the home where he's lived alone since his parents died -- and he's hospitalized  with paralysis on his left side.
      Fortunately, he seems as sharp mentally as ever; he's in good spirits, and he hasn't lost his sense of humor.
      Recovery and rehab could be lengthy, and it could be a while before he can return to his house, which is in need of some repair. Rick Hohlt, editor of the Ruston Daily Leader, has been one of several people very involved in looking after Buddy the past few days, and he has set up a fund to help with expenses.
      Those interested in making a donation can send it to ... 

Buddy Davis Community Fund
c/o Rick Hohlt
P. O. Box 520
Ruston, LA 71273
      Four years ago when Buddy received the Distinguished Service in Journalism Award from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, I wrote a piece for publication in the Ruston Daily Leader. Below is a reprint of that piece:

Buddy, at a news conference during the recent
 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame ceremonies.
      O.K. "Buddy" Davis and Ruston have been a perfect double-play combination.
      For more than 40 years, Buddy has chronicled the athletic achievements of Ruston High School, Cedar Creek, Louisiana Tech, Grambling and assorted other sports figures and teams from Lincoln Parish and the surrounding area.
      One sportswriter, one job.
      It's remarkable, considering the job-hopping many in newspapers and athletics have done.
      He would have been successful in a lot of markets, but he chose to stay home and remain loyal to the Ruston Daily Leader and it has remained loyal to him.
      Those of us who have known him -- some of us for almost 40 to 50 years -- are thrilled that he will receive the Distinguished Service to Sports Journalism award for Louisiana next month at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame ceremonies in Natchitoches.
          He richly deserves it --- as a writer, a photographer, a walking library book of athletics in his community and Louisiana.
      Not only has Buddy done the job well, he's practically done it by himself. And he's done it in a way that is no longer the way sports journalism is done these days. In a business full of egos and abrasiveness and cynicism and sarcasm, Buddy fits none of those categories.
      He's pretty much the same as he was at Ruston High and Louisiana Tech in the 1960s -- dedicated and hard-working and likeable, almost naive-like in his approach to life If he had tough stories to report, he did it, but without making enemies, without tearing down someone or some institution.
      The late Eddie Robinson was quoted in Sports Illustrated as saying Buddy "was like a son to me."
      And Coach Robinson is just one of the many, many coaches and athletes who were
friends of Buddy's. If they came through Ruston and Tech and Grambling, he remembers them -- and he probably has a few stories he can tell (or write) on them.

      In fact, if you know Buddy, you that one of his traits is name-dropping, as in, "I talked to Bert the other day"...."I talked to Scotty," ... "I talked to Shack Harris,"..."I talked to Karl," ..."talked to Doug Williams"...."I talked to Terry."
      And he hasn't slowed down. He remains a prolific writer and worker and a willing one.
      "The thing about it is that I truly still love what I do," he wrote recently in an e-mail. "I still enjoy, like a kid, getting into writing stuff. Sometimes, honestly, I get antsy sleeping at night because I am formulating some lead or angle to a story. I guess, seriously, that's what we all need to try and do sometimes. Makes whatever profession we're in more enjoyable."
     When you're talking about Orville Kince (O.K.) "Buddy" Davis, no doubt he's been in the right profession in the right place.

    NOTE: Bank accounts in Buddy Davis' name have been established at Community Trust Bank, the Bank of Ruston and First National Bank. To donate, tell a bank teller you'd like to donate to Davis' account.


  1. From Thomas Aswell: Simple, not over-stated or hyped (and he would have it no other way); just a
    warm tribute to someone who richly deserves it. Good job, Nico.

  2. From Dave Moormann: My heart and prayers go out to Buddy. He's as fine a person as you'll ever want to meet. Those in North Louisiana know how blessed they've been to have had him in their area when he had the talent to work anywhere in America. Beyond that, though, is his wonderful character. Wishing you well, Buddy!

  3. From Carla Pampe: I'm fortunate to have worked with Buddy at the Leader. He's in my prayers!

  4. From Stacy Cunningham Gilbert: I absolutely consider myself to be in the Buddy Davis fan club. Saying prayers.

  5. From Cheryl Glancy: Mine too. He is not just a great writer, but a great guy!

  6. From T. Scott Boatright (July 13): Another Buddy update ... he's now in room 165 at NLMC -- skilled nursing unit ... Karen and I got there as he was being "evaluated" ... he couldn't move his left arm at all ... but he does have some control of his left leg ... while that was quite enouraging for me, it's still going to be a long haul and he needs help ... ways to do that are being worked out, read Sunday's Ruston Daily Leader for more details.