John-Glen Davis hoped more than anything that the news wasn’t true.
Late Saturday evening, Sept. 7, Davis found out that his older brother, Dan, had been in a car accident. Shortly after, John Glen-Davis’ worst fear became a reality.
His brother was dead at the age of 25.
He was killed in a single-car crash that also took the lives of two other Waynesburg residents.
“He was my best friend,” John-Glen Davis said. “I looked up to him in everything I did. He taught me everything in the ways that I was with my family. He taught me everything from my work ethic, from being a good person, being a leader.”
Dan Davis began his college football career more than 350 miles away from home.
After a year at Appalachian State University, Davis returned to where he was born and raised, and through a fun-loving personality, made an impact on the Waynesburg University football program for four years. For two of those years, he was teammates with his younger brother, who came to Waynesburg in the fall of 2015, influenced by Dan already being there.
The impact Dan Davis left on his teammates and close friends will be permanent.
“He was kind of like the man around Waynesburg it seemed like,” former Jackets’ tight end Alec Watts said. “He grew up [in Waynesburg], and the Davis family kind of does a lot for the town of Waynesburg and the schools and stuff. So it seems like everybody kind of knew who he was.”
When Watts was a sophomore, he changed positions and ended up playing behind Dan Davis at tight end. During their three years as teammates, Davis was a mentor to Watts on the field, and off the field, he was a close friend.
“He kind of took me under his wing, honestly when it came to football,” Watts said. “I got moved into his position while he was still playing. He really took it upon himself to teach me everything from the ground up. Football and the position and what I needed to do to be successful. That kind of built a friendship, you know.”
Another close friend of Dan Davis, Christian Breisinger, didn’t have the same football-related connection that Watts did. Briesinger spent some of his time at Waynesburg as a defensive back, so he and Davis didn’t play on the same side of the field. Off the field, however, Breisinger grew close to Davis, and saw him as somebody who respected all types of people.
“He didn’t care what your status was, your background, what you liked what you didn’t like,” Breisigner said. “If you showed respect for Dan he liked you.”
“He would do anything to go out of his way just to do something for somebody, even if he didn’t know them,” John-Glen Davis said. “He wanted everybody to feel like they were on the same page, and he didn’t want anybody to feel like a minority. He accepted anybody. He was very loving and caring in that aspect.”
Those who knew Davis described him as having an easy going, fun-loving personality.
“When he was in a room, he just made it better,” Watts said. “He made it a good vibe.”
“Dan was always a good time,” Breisinger said. “He was always in for having fun. Whatever it may be, he was enjoyable to be around. I’ll miss that.”
Dan’s senior season was cut short due to an injury, but he didn’t let the disappointment of not being able to perform on the field stop him from making an impact on the program, particularly in mentoring the younger players.
One player in particular that Dan developed a connection with was then-freshman running back Chad Walker. In the only season Walker and Dan Davis played together, Davis suffered a torn ACL. Despite the injury, he made it a point to contribute to the program as much as possible.
“Him being a senior, sometimes he would motivate me,” Walker said. “Sometimes I would put it on myself. I’d put a loss or something like that on myself. He was a huge supporter of trying to get this thing turned around. Trying to be a supporter of me and helping me out. Even though he was hurt.”
Watts said he’ll miss Davis being there as somebody to lean on more than anything else.
“He was always there when I needed him,” Watts said. “Somebody to talk to. When I had a question about something, I enjoyed helping him as well. I’m just gonna miss his presence. Just everything about him being around.”
John-Glen Davis said he’ll miss his brother always pushing him to be at his best, and the moments they shared together as not only brothers, but best friends as well.
“I’ll just miss him telling me how proud he was of me.”