Two first-year students and members of the men’s tennis team are examples of the way scholarships help recruit leading scholar-athletes to Davidson College. Brooks Green ’22 and Sam Kavarana ’22 are the program’s current Jeff Frank Scholarship recipients, and they have already made significant contributions to their team, including Rookie of the Week honors.
Generous donors to the Jeff Frank ’66 Memorial Tennis Scholarship recently brought the fund beyond its $541,000 goal—a benchmark set in honor of Coach Frank’s 541 wins during his tenure at Davidson College. The program, originally a family scholarship started by Andy Sherrill ’62, became a larger effort to celebrate and remember Frank, one of the most successful coaches in the history of Davidson Athletics and the head coach for the men’s tennis program for 34 years.
Gifts made to the scholarship are making a significant difference for the program.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better group of freshmen,” said Men’s Tennis Head Coach Drew Barrett. “Sam and Brooks have had a great start to their Davidson careers and have shown tremendous confidence under pressure and resiliency to bounce back from challenges. This character truly exemplifies what it means to be a Davidson scholar-athlete, and it exemplifies what Jeff Frank always stood for. I expect great things from both of these young men and am truly happy to have them at Davidson as Jeff Frank Scholarship athletes.”
Brooks Green ’22Green, a Mobile, Alabama native, was born with a tennis ball in his hand—or at least hanging above his crib like a mobile. Both parents teach tennis for a living, and his younger brother plays for his high school.
When he was making final decisions about where to go to college, Green’s top four options were Davidson, the University of Alabama, UNC Charlotte and the University of Richmond. So, why Davidson? The perfect blend of athletics and academics and a team that just “felt right.”
“The guys were all great,” said Green. “They were laid back – not crazy intense. I could tell it was rigorous, but everyone told me it pays off. I also knew with the size of Davidson, I would quickly know a lot of people.”
Green, who is considering the biology/pre-med track or possibly political science, also enjoys that the team does everything together from eating and workouts to yoga and visits to the Center for Career Development.
Sam Kavarana ’22Kavarana was born in New York but has called Charleston, S.C. home since 2010. After choosing Davidson over Emory University, he was sure he made the right choice, again citing how well he fit within the team.
“Academics comes first, but tennis is also a high priority, and I have that mix at Davidson,” he said. “I’m able to explore so many options, like the jazz class I took first semester and a writing class about the apocalypse. Right now, I’m in a philosophy class that questions ‘why’ for everything – I leave with my mind twisted up. It’s great.”
Kavarana is balancing the scholar-athlete schedule well. In fact, on days he doesn’t have practice, he says the days feel 35 hours long.
Kavarana hopes to follow in his father’s medical footsteps, possibly into surgery – his dad is a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon and, according to his son, possibly the biggest tennis superfan ever.
“I have shadowed him and his partner, and I may do surgery, but not hearts,” he said. “I’m thinking about ophthalmology.”
About Jeff FrankThe 1966 graduate of Davidson was a four-year member of the tennis squad and coached the freshman team before moving on to the University of Florida as a graduate assistant from the fall of 1966 through December of 1969. The Gators won two SEC championships during Frank’s time at Florida, plus were ranked fifth nationally in 1969. After three years coaching at the Westminster School in Atlanta, he returned to his alma mater to assist Harry Fogleman in the fall of 1972. Shortly thereafter, Fogleman passed away and Frank took over as the interim coach.
Frank quickly made his mark, leading that 1973 squad to a stellar 23-2 mark and a Southern Conference championship while earning the league’s Coach of the Year award for the first of four times. The athletes on the team petitioned the school president, Sam Spencer ’40, to hire Frank permanently for the head coaching job before the league tournament, which Spencer did with pleasure.
Nine times Davidson reached 20 victories in a season under Frank’s watch, including four straight from 1985-88. His 1976 squad posted a 20-6-1 record and was the SoCon regular-season champions. Frank coached three Southern Conference Players of the Year, 18 SoCon individual champions and eight doubles champions before the tournament changed to a team format in 2000. When Davidson rejoined the league in 1993, Frank had seven singles and four doubles teams named all-conference.
Not only did Frank earn the SoCon Coach of the Year four times, he also honored with the Big South Coach of the Year award both seasons Davidson was a member of the league (1991 and 1992). In the Big South, Frank had two all-conference performers in singles play and one all-conference doubles team.
Frank also served as the coach for the USTA junior team at the Italian junior championships in 1981-83. In 1996, Frank was inducted into the North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame, which he called “the highlight of his career. I could not have achieved it without great players over the years, who share the honor with me.”
Danielle Strickland firstname.lastname@example.org