Lookin' from San Marcos' hills to Atlanta's competitions ...

Proud Papa of United States swim team member, eight track and field competitors bring summer '96 Olympics closer to campus

By Cynthia Coy
Star Staff

Michael Davis has much to be thankful for.

Davis serves as the SWT executive director for development, has a loving wife and family and is considered a supportive father by his children.

As Davis sits in his large office on the ninth floor of J.C. Kellam, a glow of satisfaction and pride radiates from his face. He is a proud papa. His eldest child, Josh, has just been selected to serve on the U.S. Olympic Swim Team.

"Even when he was in high school, I never imagined Josh going to the Olympics," Davis said. "When I found out he made it, there wasn't a button left on my shirt."

Davis said that his son endured workouts twice a day and was one of the top-ranked swimmers in Texas in high school.

"It is satisfying to know that all his talent, heart, and hard work has paid off," Davis said.

Josh, who is 23, swam at the University of Texas in Austin for four years. He has qualified to compete in the 800-meter relay as well as the 400-meter relay when he competes in the Olympics July 20, 21, and 23.

Although Josh has a lot to be proud of, Davis said that his twin sons Sam and Will, both SWT junior mass communication majors, keep the Olympian's head from swelling too big.

Josh is not the only Olympic hopeful SWT can watch for this summer. There are several track and field men and women who have their eyes set on the Olympic prize.

SWT Track and Field Head Coach Doug Erickson has many athletes to boast about. Erickson, who replaced his predecessor Jerry Clayton two years ago, talked about twelve Olympic hopefuls.

Eight of the twelve are hoping to compete in the Olympics representing their native countries of Sweden, Jamaica, and Paraguay, in events ranging from discus to the decathlon.

Erickson has an outstanding coaching record which he attributes to his athletes.

"SWT has a history of outstanding track and field performers, and going into the 1996 Olympiad, that tradition continues with hopes of many current or former Bobcats directed towards the Atlanta games," Erickson said.

"As an institution, SWT is very fortunate to have such outstanding student athletes represent the university and the San Marcos community at both the national and international levels."

Charles Austin is most likely going to compete in the high jump for the Atlanta games. Austin, an international competitor, placed eighth in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, with a jump of 7'6''. As a former SWT athlete, he was a four-time All-American winner in the high jump.

Inez Turner, depending on her health and athletic condition, will be competing for her native country Jamaica in the Olympic games.

Turner has qualified for the 800-meter run and the 400-meter relay. She is the sister of Janice Turner, 22-year-old exercise and sports science major, who will be going to the Olympic trials to compete in the 1500-meter run.

Edgar Baumann is also hoping to compete for his native country Paraguay in the javelin, provided he stays healthy. Baumann, along with Austin and Turner, are considered post-graduate athletes because they have completed their eligibility for competing at SWT.

However, they continue to train for their Olympic dreams under Coach Erickson.

Erickson believes that SWT should be really proud of the athletic assets it has. Not only are there three definite contenders, but eleven others have qualified for the Olympic trials.

"Our alumni, faculty, staff, students, and members of the local community should take pride in knowing that a number of these Bobcats have a realistic shot of competing in the games with Charles Austin and Inez Turner leading the way for medal positions," Erickson said.

To see these Olympic hopefuls in action, Erickson invites all of SWT to come out to the Southwest Texas Invitational Outdoor Track Meet, which will be at Bobcat Stadium April 20.

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