Clarkson's Legendary Professor Of Hockey Passes Away
Former Clarkson University Professor, A. George Davis passed away Tuesday. A. George served as official timekeeper and scorer at Clarkson's home hockey games, and was even named the official hockey timekeeper for the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid during the United States' team's famous "Miracle on Ice" when it defeated the Soviet Union to earn the gold medal.
He started as the timekeeper (clock operator), statistician, and announcer in Walker Arena for years. As the Knights moved to Cheel Arena, he remained as the official timekeeper until the mid 2000's. "He was such a tremendous and integral part of Clarkson Hockey and the University....a true giver" said former coach Mark Morris. Current AD Scott Smalling, was just starting his career as Director of Walker Arena in the early 80's when he first started working with A. George, "He was a legend at Clarkson even back then, every game, he was a constant and he did the job that we have 4 people to do now at games."
Steve Yianoukos, retired Clarkson Athletics Director and Assistant AD before that, stated that beyond just his role as an educator, Davis had an impact at Clarkson in developing a complete student. "A. George was committed to three areas of development, the in class education, the out of class recreation and physical development, and the social education of living in a campus environment. He really wanted to help develop the whole person." He was instrumental in Clarkson's recreation programs - helping initiate canoeing, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing programs and securing the necessary equipment. Before the Clarkson Canoe House was built, the Clarkson Canoe program spent several years operating out of George's home on Bay Street. The area around the Canoe House was designated A. George Davis Park in the 1990s.
Combine a math professor with the statistician of an athletic event and you get what the modern game calls "Hockey Analytics". According to Smalling, Professor Davis had done a statistical study of all of college hockey one year to determine the probability of wining based on scoring first, holding the lead, and other variables within the game. "He was giving us information that no one else was even thinking about in the sport".
All those years on the bench, Morris saw many moments where when things got tense, fans screaming, etc and A. George would stay calm and keep the game going. Yet, his influence extended far beyond the scorer's box, "Dean Davis" was a great mentor academically to countless student athletes to wear the Green and Gold. He held them all accountable (in a caring way) no matter the sport or the projected professional status. Former Clarkson and NHL standout, Craig Conroy had Davis for a class and recalled his first day of class freshman year, "He said, Craig, I had your Dad and your Uncle in class years ago....so...you'd better sit up front with me!" Echoing a feeling that many former Golden Knights expressed, Conroy added, "Dean Davis was one of those special people that we were all fortunate enough to meet in our lives at Clarkson."
Davis retired in 1993 after 40 years of outstanding service to Clarkson and its students. In addition to being the only faculty member to be honored three times as Outstanding Faculty Advisor, he served Clarkson as an assistant and associate professor of mathematics, as chairman of the mathematics department, as dean of student affairs, and as associate dean of science. At his retirement, Scott Smalling honored Davis with lifetime season tickets to Clarkson hockey which he used all the way through the 2019 season. "Think of the the players he has seen over the years, between Clarkson greats to end up in the pros or Olympics on both the men's and women's side."
A graduate of Union College, Davis came to Clarkson in 1948 from the University of Massachusetts. He was instrumental in developing the personal computer program at Clarkson, the Educational Resources Center, and The Clarkson School. His work in mathematics stayed in the forefront by his work in the field of computer-assisted mathematics instruction. He further supported Clarkson by serving on the Faculty Senate for several terms, including one year as its Chairman.
"His selfless contributions, support, and friendship were uplifting for countless people over the years, God speed A George." said Morris
Davis was 94. His memorial service will be held once pandemic concerns diminish, on a date to be determined
To learn more about the life of Professor Davis, please read the full obituary in North Country Now