Sidwell Friends has named Donald Davis its new head football coach. Davis, who recently held the same position at Calvert Hall, is taking over for long time Quaker head coach John Simon.
The Quakers have myriad athletic programs that compete for conference and state championships. Despite recent shortcomings on the gridiron, they have displayed an ability to attract high-end student athletes. Academically, Sidwell is amongst the most prestigious institutions in the DMV, a standard that Davis holds in high regard.
“Not only is Sidwell a tremendous school with elite academics, but they have a tremendous educational mission that interests me,” Daivs said. “Everything from the individual development of students to the students’ in-depth understanding of their place and responsibility in society. All of those things attracted me to the institution itself, and obviously I know what they would like to accomplish with our football program, and that’s exciting to me as well. I look forward to having the opportunity to build here.”
On May 7, it was announced that Davis was resigning from Calvert Hall, a position he’d held for 13 seasons. While leading the Cardinals, he registered 97 victories and ten Turkey Bowl wins — the most in school history. He was named the Maryland Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2010 and the MIAA Coach of the Year in 2018. He helped to build Calvert Hall into a prominent program, which led many to question why he would choose to walk away.
“I’m thankful for my time at Calvert Hall. I consider myself tremendously blessed to have been the shepherd of the program, but Calvert Hall played great football in eras before Donald Davis, and Calvert Hall will play great football after,” Davis said. “That opportunity was tremendous and life altering. Both of my sons were educated there, so it will always hold value for me. This [Sidwell] is a new opportunity for myself and my family. It’s an opportunity to make a difference in a different environment.”
According to Davis, he’s enamored with the Sidwell culture and believes his and their collective goals and values make this position an ideal fit.
“Sidwell is a perfect match for me at this time,” Davis said. “I want to continue to make a difference and be competitive. I believe Sidwell is looking to reinvigorate their football program, so it’s just a match. That’s the best way to put it, it’s a match.”
Quakers football has struggled as of late, posting a mark of 1-8 last year and a combined record of 6-29 over the last four seasons. Davis though, has earned the reputation of being a program builder -- Calvert Hall was 2-9 the season before he took over and Cardinal Gibbons was 1-8 prior to his arrival -- he believes that with the support of the Quakers community, he can accomplish similar results at Sidwell.
“Coach Simon and his staff did a tremendous job over the many years he was the head coach. He has players playing all over the country and even in the NFL, so Sidwell has a proud tradition and history,” Davis said. “The fact that they’ve had a couple difficult years -- it’s my job to come in, assess where we are, and determine what we need to do to make the next climb -- the same things coach Simon would’ve done had he not retired from being the head football coach.
“It’s incumbent upon myself and my staff to come in, assess where we are and look at what we need to do to continue climbing in the MAC, and get ourselves back into the mix of the DCSAA playoffs.”
Davis was a student-athlete at Johns Hopkins University where he earned a B.S. in Sociology. Simon will remain on staff with the Sidwell football program and continue his duties as an assistant athletic director.