IREDELL COUNTY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The campus of South Iredell High School has forever changed with the sudden passing of beloved volunteer baseball coach Chris Davis, who died from a medical emergency he suffered while tending to the baseball field Tuesday.
The coach, who has been with the team for the past four years, had a history of medical problems but never let that slow him down from the sport he loved and the players he mentored each day.
“I’ve never met a man like him,” explained South Iredell head baseball coach Jeff Peck.
Peck said he owed his career to Davis. The two grew up together and played the game of baseball throughout their high school careers at Statesville High School.
The coach described him as being his “favorite player” from those days. However, Davis suffered a series of health-related problems that put a lengthy pause on his career.
At the time, Peck also went through his own dilemmas with dropping out of college.
He created a high school reunion to reconnect him and Coach Davis, where the man challenged him to return to school and become a baseball coach.
“He told me that he would get his body back in shape, and he’d come and coach with me,” Peck said.
They both did just that. They coached baseball together at Statesville High before moving to South Iredell High School near Troutman four years ago.
Peck said, “This would’ve been our 13th year together in the same dugout. It’s been extremely tough with that extra burden. I just lost my best friend . . . Coach Davis just had that ability to get the best out of you.”
Players, such as Vikings senior catcher Michael Eichhorn, are left with the message their coach instilled into them each practice; show up and give your all.
“He was the fire,” Eichhorn said. “He brought the energy when we didn’t have it. He came to practice every single day with a smile on his face, even when he didn’t feel like it.”
Coach Davis would do weekly checkups on his players to ensure their grades were steady, their minds were sharp, and they were furthering their abilities as players on the field.
Above all, however, Davis is being remembered for his faith in God. Michael explained, “you never know what you have until it’s gone.
“Every day, I strive to be the type of man he was, the father he was, the disciple he was,” Davis added. “It doesn’t get much better than that.”
The man’s funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at Beulah Baptist Church in Statesville.
The family asks that donations go toward the South Iredell baseball program instead of flowers.
Players say they will wear their baseball jerseys to honor him. School leaders have also begun to explore ways to honor his memory.