For Davis, athletic roots run deep

Tyler Davis’ father and grandfather were professional athletes.

Playing sports at a high level is a familiar part of junior outside hitter Tyler Davis’ household.

The Kansas City Royals drafted Davis’ father, John, in the seventh round of the 1981 MLB draft. He pitched five seasons with the Royals, Chicago White Sox and San Diego Padres before retiring prior to Tyler’s birth.

During his time in the big leagues, his path crossed with Bo Jackson, one of the few athletes to play multiple professional sports simultaneously.

“I asked my dad about Bo Jackson, ‘Did you ever know him?’” Tyler Davis said. “He told me he shared an apartment with him when they were on the Royals, and I was like, ‘Why did you never tell me this?’”

John Davis was not the first professional athlete in the Davis family.

His father, Millard, played for the NBA’s St. Louis Hawks during the 1957-58 season. Millard Davis was drafted to the army during the Vietnam War and retired from basketball after one season.

The Davis family moved from Louisville, Kentucky to Palm Desert, California when Tyler Davis was in seventh grade. Shortly after, she began playing volleyball after a friend told her to try it.

“No one in my family really knew the game and one of my neighbors just told my dad, ‘My daughter is going to this volleyball camp,’” Tyler Davis said. “My dad was like, ‘Oh, I’ll send Tyler up.’”

Priot to coming to Temple, Tyler Davis played for Xavier College Preparatory High School and traveled 90 miles every day to compete for the 951 Elite Volleyball Club.

“I drove myself to practice,” Tyler Davis said. “It was a three-hour round trip. I would get home at midnight. … It was self-motivation.”

In her first year as an Owl, Tyler Davis played in 22 matches and ranked fifth on the team with 131 kills, averaging 2.22 kills per set. As a sophomore, Tyler Davis played 104 sets and led the team with 318 kills, averaging 3.06 per set.

This season, Tyler Davis ranks second on the team with 243 kills, averaging 2.89 kills per set and hitting 24.8 percent.

John Davis flew from his home in Colorado Springs, Colorado to watch his daughter play college volleyball for the first time when the Owls hosted the Alumni Weekend Tournament  April 25.

“It was unbelievable to see her play and be in the gym,” John Davis said. “I wish I could see her play at some of the other schools during the year.”

John Davis, who received more college basketball scholarship offers than baseball scholarship offers, said Tyler Davis is different from her two brothers, Cole and Austin.

“The passion, the drive, the dedication is something that you are born with,” John Davis said. “You can’t teach it. You can’t coach it. You didn’t have to tell her to leave because practice is soon. She was always ready and always there.”

Tyler Davis’ roommate and teammate, junior outside hitter Caroline Grattan knew her for more than a year before learning her dad played in the MLB.

“I didn’t even realize until my sophomore year when one of the Temple baseball players was talking,” Grattan said. “She said, ‘Yeah, my dad played professional baseball.’”

Grattan said the motivation from an athletic parent is not exlusive to Tyler Davis.

“Genetics wise, we both have talked about this, we both were pushed mentally by our parents to succeed in athletics,” Grattan said. “It’s the young mindset of your dad just pushing you harder that helped her reach this level.”

Connor Northrup can be reached

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