Legacy of a Life Well Lived

New training room
Dr. Brack Davis’s Family Gives Generous Donation to Sierra Athletics

At a campus event on October 27, Sierra College unveiled its renovated athletic training room. The training room is dedicated to the late Brack Davis. 

Dr. Davis was an orthopedic surgeon who was the Wolverine sports teams' doctor from 1969 to 1994.

He worked tirelessly and with compassion, taking care of our athletes for 25 years, said President Willy Duncan. He was an inspiration to all of us to this day.

Duncan thanked Dr. Davis's wife Joanne, three children and four grandchildren for their generous gift to the Sierra College Foundation. The donation made it possible to enlarge and remodel the room and purchase equipment.

When I heard about the donation, I was so excited I could barely sleep that night, said Nancy Smith, a certified athletic trainer with Sierra for 29 years. She recalled the low-key and concerned team doctor talking with students. They listened to him, she said. Even when advising they stay out of a big game for the sake of their recovery.

Lined up along one wall of the room are new buffed-out leather-clad treatment tables. Above them is a freshly painted cardinal-red Sierra team sports emblem, 16 feet wide. It's the cherry on top, said Athletic Director Roz Goldenberg. It signifies Wolverine Pride.

In this room over the years, Dr. Davis cared for thousands of Sierra athletes. They can now receive treatment in this larger, modern and highly functional facility, said Goldenberg. Especially important for the health and safety of our athletes, she added, are the new whirlpool baths and more space to rehabilitate athletes after an injury.

The room is used by 300 student-athletes, male and female, on 18 sports teams.

From soccer to water polo, they come to the athletic training room for

  • Assessment
  • Treatment of sprains or pulled muscles
  • Exercise to prevent injuries

About Dr. Davis

Raised in Palo Alto, Davis attended Columbia University then Harvard Medical School. He had just completed his residency at Stanford in 1968 when he joined the medical group Roseville Orthopedic Surgery. At the time, Roseville was in the midst a population boom. 

Soon after, he signed on as our team doctor. He came to the Rocklin Campus surrounded at the time by vacant properties and attended by just 4,000 students. By the time he retired in 1994, some 16,000 were enrolled.

He wanted to make a difference in the life of these kids, said his son Matt. And he really enjoyed being with members of the staff and working with them. He grew especially close to football coaches Homer "Buzz" Ostrom and Rex Chappell. They remembered Davis as an expert at what he did and a guy who was fun to be around.

In 1981 the San Francisco 49ers chose the Rocklin Campus as the new locale for their training camp. Brack Davis so impressed head coach Bill Walsh that for their next 14 summers at Sierra, he made Davis the training camp doctor. He treated and counseled players and consulted on their health and fitness with Walsh, owner Eddie DeBartolo, and the next 49er head coach George Seifert.

The Niners won five Super Bowls during their years training at the college. Davis invited players over to the house.

As a kid, it was unbelievable, his son Matt recalled. These were my heroes walking into my house after practice.

Nearly two decades after retiring as team doctor and from his medical group, Dr. Davis asked Matt in the winter of 2011 to take him hiking on his 80th birthday. They went to Ketchum, Idaho where the family had vacationed over the years.

It was dark at three in the morning and cold at minus six degrees. Wearing snowshoes and using poles, they set off, hiking up Bald Mountain, one arduous step at a time. It took four hours to reach the top where a paraglider pilot was waiting to take Dr. Davis on a flight back down.

Known for his adventurous spirit and hearty sense of humor, Dr. Davis joked in his later years that all he wanted his obituary to say was, Brack Davis died—skis, golf clubs and fishing gear for sale. He passed away in March 2016.

Members of the family who came to the event to honor Dr. Davis were

  • His wife, Joanne Davis
  • Their children Lynda Davis Abrams, Kathryn Davis Van Steyn and Matt Davis
  • Their grandchildren Jacob Van Steyn, Hayden Van Steyn, Eva Davis and Amanda Davis