No history of athletics at Millsaps College can ever be complete without a full chapter on the impact of Harper Davis, who passed away on Saturday, December 26.
Davis was head football coach at Millsaps for 25 seasons, in which he led the team to an overall record of 138-79-4, including their first Division III playoff in 1975 and their first and only undefeated season in 1980. Under his coaching, Millsaps had 20 winning seasons in his last 21 seasons as head football coach. Davis retired from Millsaps in 1988.
In 2004, the home field of Millsaps football and soccer was renamed as Harper Davis Field.
“Hundreds of young football players came to Millsaps to play under Harper Davis, and they left here as the beneficiaries of his skill, wisdom and high expectations,” said Dr. Robert W. Pearigen, president of Millsaps. “The stories that are shared today by his players will live on for years to come.”
Millsaps Athletic Director Aaron Pelch said the impact of Davis’s program is still felt today at the college.
"The impact that Harper Davis had on Millsaps football and the entire Millsaps community cannot be overstated. I've never met anyone who worked with or played for Harper who doesn't remember him with great fondness and respect. Millsaps football and Harper Davis are synonymous, and his passing is a huge loss for the players he mentored, those he pushed to achieve their potential and the ones he cared for in their toughest personal moments. It is a sad day for the Major faithful."