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Long Beach Swim Coach Woody Davis Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Boys varsity swim coach Woody Davis (right) gratefully accepted recognition as he reached his 50-year anniversary as a boys swim coach, as head coach John Skudin(left) looked on. (Rosemary Leonetti)
Boys varsity swim coach Woody Davis (right) gratefully accepted recognition as he reached his 50-year anniversary as a boys swim coach, as head coach John Skudin(left) looked on. (Rosemary Leonetti)

Written by Rosemary Leonetti/Syntax

The Long Beach High School swim meet Jan. 24 became a cause for special celebration, as the district honored varsity swimming coach Woody Davis, who started his storied career as a swim coach 50 years ago.

At the conclusion of the meet against South Side, Port Washington and Roslyn, the team surprised Coach Davis with a blanket highlighting his 50 years of service. Assistant Coach John Skudin awarded him with a plaque recognizing him for his devoted service to generations of student-athletes. His wife, Ginny, who has been by his side throughout his career, was presented with flowers. The festivities ended with two cakes, aptly shaped to form the number 50.

 “Not every swimmer won in the water, but swimming for Woody made you a winner," said Coach Skudin, who has worked side by side with Coach Davis for many years. 

Barry Goodman January 29, 2014 at 06:20 AM
Congratulations to Coach Davis The roots of discipline, respect, hard work, a social framework(swim team friends who are my lifelong friends today) were learned here only along with my parents. Woody is/was and will always be a 3rd parent figure in my....our lives. Ginny is the strength behind the man. I appreciated your neighborly friendship in Island Park and your trust over the years as a person and a Chiropractor. Congratulations Coach and Mrs. Davis, and Coach Skudin for keeping it going. Barry Goodman Class of 77 Co Captain Swimming
rich January 29, 2014 at 07:54 AM
A true legend for Long Beach, touching the lives of students, athletes and parents for generations. Thanks Woody
LB surfer January 29, 2014 at 08:38 AM
Thanks Coach, you and Ginny have been a part of our family since the beginning...
Christine McCarthy Guthrie January 29, 2014 at 08:59 AM
A great man, and a great coach. Proud to have swum for him and grateful for all that I learned from him. Congratulations Woody!
LBLifer January 29, 2014 at 09:41 AM
I remember you once told us that "what you learn here will be invaluable at some point in your lives". It couldn't have been more true for myself. You created a second family for us that instilled self respect and value. For me that made all the difference in changing the life paths I choose. To this day when I see any of my old team mates the underlying connection is not so much that we swam for Long Beach, but we swam for Woody! Here's to you Coach. Class of 74-76.
Kevin Heller January 29, 2014 at 11:50 AM
I recall coach Davis as someone that could motivate those swimmers that had real college or even Olympic potential, while also motivating the rest of us 'middle of the pack' swimmers to simply always strive to do our best. I remember coming in something like 15th in 100 Fly in counties and coach David being genuinely happy for me because it was my personal best.
John Carbona January 29, 2014 at 11:02 PM
Congratulations Coach and Mrs. Davis. Johnnie could not have been more accurate when he said, “swimming for Woody made you a winner.” Woody and his wife Ginny epitomized what it meant to be caring and kind educators. Woody was known to be tough but also fair, and surprisingly he was also very warm. Woody and Ginny had the team over to their house every year and showed us a great time, eating, water skiing and just frolicking around in the back bay of Island Park. This man and his dedication has not only made the Long Beach Swim program the envy of many schools for 50 years, his swimmers have gone on to be leaders in their chosen fields of life. I credit Woody with helping me push my boundaries and do better through practice and determination. In my eyes Woody and his coaching skills are right up there with the best coaches ever talked about, Lombardi, Doc Councilman, Landry to name a few. These are great men, that created great athletes that grew into great men to boot. I would only hope that everyone could experience a coach and a man in their life like Coach Davis. Congratulations on 50 years! And Coach Skudin, I know you will takes the reigns and carry the torch for another 50 years! John Carbona Co- Captain 76
Virginia Davis January 29, 2014 at 11:46 PM
Thank you to everyone that made this night so special including John and Diane Skudin, Arnie Epstein for the planning, Judy Williams Salter for a special scrapbook, Mush Masters for a beautiful hand made quilt commemorating the 50 years and all of the swimmers past and present and their parents that made this night so special and were a part of the Long Beach swimming program over the past 50 years. It has been a great 50 years because of all of you. Woody and Ginni Davis Woody and Ginni Davis
BECKY January 30, 2014 at 11:46 AM
....a fine man....a wonderful teacher.....learned a few swim strokes with him and mrs.Quinn....a few of the best teachers LBHS had to offer.....swam in that pool everyday....where else can a kid do that for a gym class....I continue with my laps to this day....30 years later !! WOW.....congrats to you Mr. Davis...many more years of swimming.....hugs.... : )
Larry Moskowitz January 30, 2014 at 02:19 PM
Congrats to the Davis family and mostly thanks for all the lessons learned on that pool deck -- even if some did not become obvious until years later. Larry Moskowitz-- co-captain '83.
mike January 30, 2014 at 08:03 PM
I swam for Woody in his first year 1964, my son swam for him, can't believe he's still coaching. I still swim masters here in southern ca. best wishes mike gallow class of 65
Tara Davis Curley January 31, 2014 at 12:05 AM
Thank you all for sharing your thoughts about my Dad, Coach Davis. It is humbling to hear so many amazing tributes to him. I can say first hand each swimmer has also contributed to who my Dad is today and why he has continued to coach all these years. He always says it's because of the kids. So "kids" thank you for all you've given to our family over the years- I too have fond memories of those swim team parties at our house. :)
Michael Mazor March 20, 2014 at 02:33 PM
Wood Davis, "Please sir can I have another" said Matt Costa and wapp on the rump with a kick board. God I miss those days.... I dove for Woody from 83-85.... Great man...... Thanks for the memories.....

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