Riverdale News & Stories
Coach Al Davis at the Buzzell Games in 2013. Photo by Robert Kenas '60.
Coach Al Davis, a decorated World War II veteran who began a legendary career at Riverdale in 1953 and worked at the school for most of his life, died early today at his home. He was 94.
Head of School Dominic A.A. Randolph called a special Middle and Upper School assembly this afternoon to announce the news to students and faculty. Here is a video of his remarks. A close friend of Al's, Kent Kildahl, the former head of the Upper School and a member of the English department, also gave a remembrance of Al as did Carol Pouliot, dean of the Class of '21 and a member of the Physical Education/Athletics departments.
Coach Davis was a beloved physical education teacher and coach. In his later years, he served as the school archivist. The Class of 1964 established an annual teaching award in his name and the Al Davis Scholar-Athlete Award is given annually to a male and female athlete. His life story inspired a video made in 2015.
"On this sad day, I thought it appropriate to share with you the words associated with the Al Davis Teaching Award: Al taught us that we are capable of great things but only with our fullest effort; that full effort is a joyous act and transforms failure into a kind of success; that community is a precious thing; that we are all individuals and that the highest act of an individual is to contribute to a team; and that teaching -- and learning -- at its highest level transcends the walls of a classroom and the demands of a curriculum and is finally an act of mutual respect, commitment, and love," Randolph said in a letter to the community.
A memorial service will be held at the school. Remembrances of Al may be shared with Robin Gottlieb, Director of Alumni Affairs and Institutional Engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org.