The Standard Journal

Randy Davis, longtime broadcaste­r and community promoter, dies at 74

- By Doug Walker and Severo Avila

Randy Davis, an icon in Rome’s media and sports communitie­s, has passed away.

It’s hard to imagine an important sporting event in Rome that Randy Davis didn’t broadcast. And while his long career in radio broadcasti­ng is what he was best known for, Davis was a beloved member of the Rome community and will be missed by many.

On Friday, Oct. 1, Davis, 74, succumbed to injuries sustained in a recent fall.

His illustriou­s radio career began in his youth and in 1987, Davis purchased WLAQ-AM Rome from Tom Lloyd and had owned it ever since. He served in a myriad of roles in broadcasti­ng, from disc jockey to talk show host to the “Voice of Sports” in Rome.

More recently, Davis was the host of “Later This Morning with Randy Davis,” a daily morning talk show which featured a cross-section of community leaders and influencer­s including Monica Sheppard, Joel Thornton and the Rome News-Tribune’s Severo Avila. He also hosted a high school football scoreboard show on Friday nights in the fall.

Among Davis’ many achievemen­ts was his induction in the Rome Floyd Sports Hall of Fame in 1997 for Meritoriou­s Service. Davis had served as host and emcee for the Hall of Fame banquet for most of the past two decades and was a member of the Hall of Fame selection committee.

Todd Wofford, director of the Rome Floyd Parks and Rec Department recalled that Davis served on the Parks and Rec board for more than 10 years.

“I think the world of Randy and his entire family,” Wofford said. “He witnessed a lot of great athletic events in Rome. He loved Rome and we have lost a true legend.”

His career in broadcasti­ng started at WROM when Charlie Doss needed a playby-play man for the Darlington Tigers.

He was honored by the Associated Press as the top play-by-play announcer and Sportscast­er of the Year in 1969.

Earlier this year, Davis told V3 Magazine that some of his fondest memories were the four consecutiv­e championsh­ips won by the West Rome football team in the 1980s and the back-to-back basketball championsh­ips won by East Rome during that same period of time.

Before he began calling sports on the air, Davis actually played football, baseball, basketball, tennis, ran track, played golf and tennis as a youth. If it was considered a sport, Randy probably tried it at one time or another. If he didn’t actually play it, there’s a good chance he broadcast it.

Davis will be remembered for his leadership role in bringing profession­al baseball to Rome. The first SPLOST package failed but Davis persisted and was successful in helping to convince the community to support the effort to build a stadium the second time around. He told V3 that the St. Louis Cardinals were originally interested in putting a team in Rome because of the city’s proximity to the Budweiser plant in Cartersvil­le. Baseball old timers will also recall that St. Louis was the closest profession­al franchise to the Southeast for decades before the Braves moved to Atlanta from Milwaukee.

Mike Dunn, VP of Florida Operations for the Atlanta Braves, is a former general manager of the Rome Braves and said Davis is the reason the Rome Braves are in Rome.

“I met him and his wife Sandy early on in the stages of possible relocation of the team to Rome,” Dunn said. “Randy worked and pushed for that to happen. As I moved to Rome I spent a lot of time with Randy just talking baseball. We lost a good one.”

Dunn said he’ll remember Davis as a community leader and someone who always looked out for others, ever mindful of how people were doing.

“I’ll smile every time I think of Randy Davis,” he said.

Ronnie Wallace agrees that Davis’ promotion of the community was a major factor in getting a baseball team here.

“I worked with Randy all my adult life in some form or another,” said Ronnie Wallace. “Randy was both a promoter and encourager. He was dearly loved by the community. He was a great part in us recruiting and getting attention from major league baseball to get a team here. He played a very important part in getting us noticed.”

Wallace said he will remember Davis as someone who always had a positive mindset and a “great spirit,” always encouragin­g others.

“He was truly a good guy,” Wallace said. “He loved sports and he loved people even more.”

Bob Williams worked with Davis, calling basketball games from 1978 up until a few years ago. He said Davis told him they have called a total of about 1,500 games together.

“He was always a good broadcaste­r, the best broadcaste­r I’ve ever been around,” Williams said. “We did all the Berry College games, high school games and the Christmas tournament games for all those years. We were very fortunate in all the games we called that we didn’t once step on each other. We just worked well together.”

Various organizati­ons and businesses honored Davis for his support and work over the years. Among those were a Heart of the Community Award and also the Grand Marshal of the Rome Christmas Parade.

Since his fall a week ago, the Davis family has been keeping the community updated through social media. Thousands of friends and community members offered well wishes and prayers, many sharing their experience­s and memories of Davis throughout the years, a testament to how much of an impact he had in Rome and Floyd County.

Davis leaves behind his loving and supportive wife Sandy, his children Matt and Elizabeth, daughter-in-law Tonya, grandson Brody and his beloved dog Wilson.

 ?? Contribute­d ?? Randy Davis, longtime broadcaste­r and community promoter, died Friday afternoon. He was 74.
Contribute­d Randy Davis, longtime broadcaste­r and community promoter, died Friday afternoon. He was 74.

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