August 8 – Happy Birthday Jack Davey

The name of today’s Birthday Celebrant is forever enshrined in second place on St. Mary’s Institute’s all-time career scoring list. As a junior, in his first full season of Varsity ball, Jack Davey scored 232 points. He, Dick Vosko and Alan Johnson formed the Gael’s infamous “Terrible Trio” front line that spearheaded that outstanding squad to an 18-3 record. Davey then became a superstar his senior year, pouring in 427 points to average 20.2 points per game. He put together two historic 40-point outbursts that season and led the Gaels to a Parochial League title with a 14-0 league record. SMI also won  that year’s New York State Catholic High School Division One Tournament championship behind Davey’s MVP award-winning effort.

Jack was born and raised on Amsterdam’s West End. As a boy, he used to shoot hoops for hours on end on an outdoor basket behind the old St. Agnello Club on West Main St. Back then, West Main was part of NYS Route 5 and always busy with traffic. To stay in shape, young Davey would race passing cars for a couple of blocks. Dutch Howlan called him “a dynamo, the kind of kid that is always hustling and never has to be told to play hard.”

Davey also happened to be a gifted SMI baseball player to boot. He was a fleet-footed, hard-hitting starting left fielder back when Howlan was still Varsity head coach of the school’s baseball program.

After SMI, he went to Alliance College on a basketball scholarship and then returned to Amsterdam and became a school teacher. He coached baseball at Bishop Scully for a spell as well. He married a St. Mary’s School of Nursing graduate from Long Island named Joanne Nilsen in 1968. Together they would raise sixteen children. The fact that their offspring included some stellar male and female high school athletes surprised none of the old-timers on West Main Street who used to watch that Davey kid race those darn cars back and forth down Route 5.

Jack shares his August 8 birthday with another very talented Amsterdam native who became a teacher.


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