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It’s “Money Season”: Davis is leveling up the program  

The SUNY Brockport Cross-country team huddles together during the NCAA Regionals on Nov. 13, 2021. (Photo Credit: Leah Bisgrove)

A program in need of salvation, and a coach with a vision. The beginnings of a match made on the track.  

John “JD” Davis began his coaching career at a small D3 school in Massachusetts but needed a change after three years. Davis moved to New York and coached at Ithaca College for a year, eventually leading some of his male athletes to Nationals.  

After gaining knowledge, experience and success, Davis was ready to need a team to call his family. 

“I remember distinctly sitting at dinner one night, thinking about schools that would probably be looking for a coach and thinking about Brockport. I told myself, if the job opens up, I absolutely want to take it. And then it did, and here we are,” Davis said.  

In summer 2019, Davis was hired at SUNY Brockport. He became the cross-country head coach and the assistant coach for the track and field team, training the long-distance runners.    

“I think when I got hired here, I had a vision of what I hoped this program could be. I really do feel like this is a place where we could build a top five program nationally for track and build the cross-country team into a perennial national qualifier year after year,” Davis said.  

Davis has preached this goal to his athletes and has engrained a vision in them that hard work will lead to victory.  

SUNY Brockport sophomore Jared Smith runs on the cross-country and track and field teams and works to bring this vision to life.  

“We want to be the top contender. We are sick and tired of being the good team on paper, we want to actually carry out what we say we want to be. JD has more than helped us live up to that,” Smith said.  

Davis’s vision for the program connected quickly with his athletes, leading to increasing success.  

“It has been really fun to watch our student athletes buy into that vision and really start to develop and make it come to fruition. It’s really something I want to see through and really make this place a dynasty,” Davis said.  

Davis believes in knowing his athletes on and off the track and has put extra time and dedication into seeing this through.  

Brockport’s cross-country and long-distance track runner Kaylee Hanes appreciates the one-on-ones Davis does biweekly to check in with his athletes.  

“He supports all of his athletes outside of the sport and is really there for us. He is one of our number one supporters,” Hanes said.  

Davis has become a large part of the Brockport community by pushing his athletes and directing them to the bigger picture.  

“He has helped me understand the long process that this sport is. He has helped me stay patient and see things from a bigger perspective. As a person, he helps us see that life is really about making the people around you better and appreciating the little things,” Smith said.  

Davis has done exactly that by making practice a healthy, open, and dedicated space for his athletes.  

SUNY Brockport junior Jonathan Zavala runs on both the cross-country and track and field teams and has progressed his outlook thanks to Davis.  

“I can actually see a future in my athletic life. He has allowed me to really love my sport,” Zavala said.  

Over the years, Davis has developed a mantra with his athletes to get them hyped up before a race or to remind them why they are putting in the work.  

“We developed this saying ‘money season’ over my time here,” Davis said. “It started with Katie Adams who graduated two years ago, but it’s become a pillar of our program. We spend all season training and making deposits, and when it comes time for championships, it’s time to cash in on the deposits. It started as a joke, but it’s become this core to what we are all about.” 

With determined minds, hard work and a hungry program, Davis and his athletes are ready to run up the bank. The cross-country team will be cashing in at the SUNYAC Championships Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022, at SUNY Oswego.   

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