By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 1/27/08
Harry Price, the long-time boys’ lacrosse coach at The Hill School, recalled Ralph “Rip” Davy, III as a “man among boys.”
“Usually in high school you need to have one or two superstars to have a chance,” said Price. “And Rip was our superstar. Everybody knew he’d be the one to take the one big shot. More often than not, he came through in the clutch.”
The lacrosse world continues to mourn the loss of Davy, who died suddenly of an apparent heart attack Jan. 16 at the age of 51 in his home in Wilmington, N.C.
Mr. Davy, a native of Broomall, was an All-American at Hill School in Pottstown under Price and in his senior year, 1974-75, was captain of the football, wrestling and lacrosse teams while also serving as school president. Mr. Davy became one of the first players from the Philadelphia area to excel at the collegiate level and earned All-American honors as a defender at North Carolina (Class of 1979).
He was inducted into the Pennsylvania Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2000.
Price, who served as head coach at The Hill for 27 years, said Mr. Davy first made his mark on the lacrosse field in the 1973 Eastern Pennsylvania championship game against West Chester.
“I can remember fairly vividly that Rip was a sophomore and was on JV that year,” Price recalled. “I brought him up for that game and he was best player we had on the field that day. I should have brought him up well before. He was fantastic, but we lost.”
Price said, however, that Mr. Davy was much more than a great athlete.
“Rip was just such a great guy,” he said. “He was president of the student body, and he was greatly admired by kids and faculty.”
On the field, Price said Mr. Davy exhibited the essence of leadership, strength and tenacity.
“It was almost like having a coach on the field for me,” he said. “He was someone I had great respect for. I trusted his judgment, and he was always a gentleman.
“The other thing about Rip is that he wanted to play the whole game, which you just don’t do at midfield. But he played every second of every game his senior year, which is brutal. We would put him on attack to rest him.”
Mr. Davy, an avid golfer, was a successful real estate developer known for his great wit.
Services were held for Mr. Davy Jan. 21 in Wilmington and also on Saturday at the United Church in Rowayton, Ct. More than 500 people attended each service.
“He was such a loving husband and father and always generous,” said his wife, Margo. “His family came first in his life. He was my rock, and my life companion.
“The thing that certainly endeared him was his attitude about life, and his smile.
“The world lost a winner.”
Formerly of Darien, Conn., Mr. Davy has resided in Wilmington for three years. He is survived by his wife Margo and two sons Will and Brooks; also by his mother Nancy Davy; two brothers, Kirk and Brett (also a lacrosse player at UNC from 1986-89), and a sister Wendy.
After graduating from The Hill School, Mr. Davy went to North Carolina on what Price believes was a partial scholarship. Mr. Davy quickly earned a full scholarship when he was switched to defense.
“They weren’t too sure about him, but it quickly became evident when they switched him to defense that he was that good,” Price said. “He was a big and powerful boy who probably ran a 4.6 in the 40.”
Davy later became an ambassador for the sport of lacrosse. He helped coach club lacrosse in Manchester, England, and later coached the team at Oxford University.
“He was a bright and well-educated young man who was articulate,” Price said. “He was a very good representative for the sport.”
In lieu of flowers, gifts in support of youth athletic programs may be made to Cape Fear Academy, The Rip Davy Memorial Fund, 3900 South College Road, Wilmington, N.C., 28412.