Spartans of UD: Jon Davison

Oct 24, 2018 | University Relations

Spartans of UD highlights what makes University of Dubuque special – the people who live, work, and study on campus. Jon Davison (C’61), senior counsel in the Office of Advancement, has worn numerous hats in his nearly 40 years at UD. Davison served as the head men’s basketball coach for 27 years. He also spent over 20 years as athletic director, 15 years coaching men’s golf, 10 years as men’s tennis coach, eight years as an assistant football coach, four years as head men’s track coach, and one year as head baseball coach. Additionally, he was an associate professor of physical education and department chair.

Spartans of UD - Jon Davison
Jon Davison (C’61)
Senior Counsel – Advancement

1. One of your longest serving roles at the University of Dubuque was head men’s basketball coach, from 1966-93. During that time, you won three Iowa Conference Championships and had four NCAA Division III Tournament appearances. What do you cherish from your time as the head men’s basketball coach?

“I cherish the relationships, because that’s what it’s all about. Not only the relationships between my players and me, but also their relationships with each other. Here’s a perfect example: Fifteen years after my time as head men’s basketball coach, my wife and I decided it was time for reunions. We split up 10 years into three reunions. My first group, we didn’t have a lot of players come back, but the ones who did thought that was a cool idea. So what did they do? Five of them decided the next year they’d have a reunion in Florida. So they did. Bob Finnegan, John Smith, Gary Grimm, Gary Peckham, and Bill Burnette had reunions for two or three years and then Bob Finnegan called me and said, ‘Coach, it’s not a reunion without you.’ This year will be my fifth year attending their reunions. It’s all about relationships. It meant enough to them to hold a reunion amongst themselves because they cared for each other so much and then they allowed me to part of them.”

2. How do you help prepare campus for Homecoming?

“The Office of Advancement is kind of in charge of Homecoming. I support our advancement team. I’m involved in the tour because I go back 100 years. I can talk about the swimming pool we used to have in the basement of McCormick Gymnasium where the wrestling room is now. I can tell them a lot of things about campus. I’m kind of one of the resources for the advancement team.”

3. What is your favorite part of Homecoming?

“My favorite part of Homecoming is seeing the familiar faces of former players, former classmates, and my fraternity brothers.”

4. Jon Davison Court in Stoltz Sports Center is named in your honor. How does it feel to know your name is part of building where students will play basketball for years to come?

“It’s very humbling, because there’s so many players and supporters and family that made it possible. I do have a disappointment. I feel badly that my late wife’s name is not there, and I say that because she was such a part of my life at University of Dubuque. We had teams over to the house for her cooking and parties. She was the best at pasta cooking, especially lasagna and spaghetti. Then, of course, she coached a game and won. She contributed to my decisions, and she contributed to the criticism of my decisions. Since my name is on the court, the best thing I could is put a bench outside the door with her name.”

5. What piece of advice would you share with students?

“I always believed when I was coaching that if I could develop confidence in each player that would be the key to success, which I still believe. If they’re confident, then they can do the skills necessary and work harder and harder and harder to be successful. Confidence is still the key. Work ethic, though, has to come with as well as does passion and love.”