Tom C. Davidson Scholarship Established at FMU
FLORENCE, S.C. – A group of Francis Marion University graduates and supporters has established the Thomas C. Davidson Scholarship to honor the former staff member and athletic coach. The scholarship was established with an initial gift of $50,000. Additional donors are sought to endow the scholarship in the amount of $200,000.
Davidson, who died in 1996, was a member of the Francis Marion athletic staff from 1972 to 1995.
The scholarship will be awarded to a Pee Dee area resident (or South Carolina resident), who is a member of the Patriot baseball team or is actively involved as a leader in student life programs. Recipients must maintain a 2.0 grade point average, and repeat awards are available.
The group that initiated the scholarship includes Larry Bartol, Mary Kay Belissary, Richard Brewer, Jimmy Brown, Allen Floyd, Billy Hoylen, Wayne Huggins, Tim Norwood, and Spyder Webb. Individuals wishing to support this scholarship may contact the FMU Foundation at 843-661-1481.
Among the many positions “Coach D” held at FMU were assistant dean of students (1972-83), assistant men's basketball coach (1972-74), assistant baseball coach (1972-95), head men's soccer coach (1983-93), coordinator for all athletic recruiting (1972-75), and director of intramurals (1994-95). He also assisted in the area of fund raising for the Patriot athletic program. He served as an adviser to the Entertainment Committee/Programming Board, Inter-Fraternity Council, Student Government Association, and many other organizations.
During his years assisting Gerald Griffin in the Patriot baseball dugout, Francis Marion recorded a 549-323-1 record. While head coach of the soccer program, Davidson compiled a 61-104-12 mark, which at that time was the highest win total for any coach in the history of the soccer program. His 1990 squad went 14-5-0, a season record for victories that stood until 1998.
For his accomplishments, he was inducted into the FMU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.
“Tom always wanted to do things big, and that is how we are hoping to establish this scholarship – as one of the school’s largest,” said Norwood, a 1978 graduate. “Tom was a positive person. I learned from him to be a possibilities thinker, and that has guided my life.
“If you attended Francis Marion, it was hard not to come into contact with Tom. He was interested in students becoming leaders, an aspect of higher education that I feel is sometimes overlooked now. He was a great guy to be around, a lot of fun, and he made you want to strive to be a better person.”
Floyd said, “Tom had an effect on so many people at the school. This scholarship is a way for him to continue to touch people at Francis Marion University.”
Bartol remembered Davidson for experiences off campus too, including “a fishing trip that featured a stop at a small country store and my first-ever tomato sandwich.”
“This scholarship is our way of letting the community know what type of person Tom was, and what he meant to the university.” Norwood added.
“As a coach and administrator, Tom was instrumental in building Francis Marion University both athletically and academically,” said FMU president Fred Carter. “This scholarship is a fitting tribute to his years of service to FMU students and the numerous lives he touched.”