Evolution of Ben Davis sports

A look at school athletics throughout the years


Tre Redeemar

Assistant football coach Justin Faires talks to quarterback Azjai Cooper during the Cathedral game. Faires played on two state championship teams while a student here.


The Ben Davis sports goes far and wide and many of our students, teachers and community has fallen in love with our sports programs.

But, how did it all start and get enriched into what a splendid program it is now?

Many of our alumni and current teachers can remind us on why BD sports today is what is today because they were a part of it.

Many of our teachers have been fans of Ben Davis sports for years. Many of our teachers and staff have seen BD sports grow and develop over the years.

“The character of Ben Davis sports is what makes it special,” former football star and current Ben Davis staffer Chuck Bear said. “The tradition and the pride is something you can’t replace.”

Bear, however, remembers when Ben Davis football wasn’t the feared program it has been for the past 30 years.

“When I was a kid Ben Davis football wasn’t the program everyone feared,” said Bear, who played on the first BD state football championship team in 1987. “That started in the mid 1980s and has developed since then.”

But Bear says the pride has always been there.

“The school spirit, community focus and community outreach has always been there,” Bear said.

Another constant for BD sports is the impact it has on students.

“Sports are hugely important because it gives kids a chance to learn life skills such as discipline, respect andloyalty,” Englsih teacher and assistant football coach Justin Faires said. “It helps them stay focused academically and keeps them plugged into the community.”

Faires grew up with Ben Davis football and was a star here in the 1990s. He has seen the program change over time but has also seen one constant.

“We have always been a tight sports family,” Faires said. “What the kids are going through might change over the years, but we have always been as tight group.”

Ben Davis ranks third in the state in the number of overall state championships. Football has the most with seven but both girls basketball and boys track have won state titles in recent years.

The patience and determination that BD sports requires also has been a constant. That character the school has had over the years is key to the successes on and off the playing field.

Part of that character can be traced to the players who have stayed around and who share memories.

“Winning the 1988 football state championship my senior year was something I will always remember,” PreCalculus teacher Demetrius Dowler said.

“The 2008 regional victory over Warren Central 42-23 is one of my favorite memories,” Farris said.

Bear has enjoyed staying close to the program. He can be seen serving BBQ sandwiches in the south end zone prior to games and he misses few contests.

“The program has grown a lot,” Bear said. “We had maybe 110 guys on all the teams and now it is closer to 175 or 200 on the roster. We are definitely faster and stronger now then in my day, which changes things a lot.

The tradition and pride of Ben Davis sports hasn’t changed through time. The excellence Ben Davis sports had in the past is unprecedented and the pride can be daily in the staff who were a part of that.

So when you think of Ben Davis sports think of the many years of hard work and dedication those before us have put in.

“It is great seeing the pride kids still have in wearing the purple,” Bear said. “That will never change.”