Updated: Jun 6
The Tar Heel family tragically lost one of its own on Thursday afternoon when Tommy Davis lost his life in a motorcycle accident. Davis was just 37 years old.
Davis was with the Tar Heels from 2002-05, putting together a productive career along the defensive career. Davis started 32 games for the Tar Heels in his time on campus, finishing his career with 154 career tackles, 21.0 tackles for a loss and 11.5 sacks. In his final two years on campus, Davis started every game for the Tar Heels, leading the team in tackles for loss in each of those seasons before graduating and pursuing an NFL career. Davis went undrafted, but spent time with the New Orleans Saints, New York Giants and Washington Redskins from 2007 to 2008. A few years after his NFL career ended, he would return to Chapel Hill to serve as a graduate assistant on Everett Withers staff in 2011 and Larry Fedora’s staff in 2012, before heading to Saint Joseph’s College in Indiana as the defensive line coach for the 2013 season. He also served as a defensive line coach at Newberry College before heading into a career in car sales while staying in the Charlotte area.
We reached out to some of Davis’ former, as we thought they would best be able to tell his story. Here are some of the memories that we received from his former teammates.
Former OT Wyatt Hicks- "TD was a shining example of a leader in the locker room, on the field, and in the classroom. He was a teammate that led by example and a person of high character. I was a younger player so I was not as close with Tommy as others but this tragic news is hard to hear. The Carolina Family mourns."
Former LB Melik Brown- "Tommy was a great dude and teammate."
Former WR Mike Mason- "One thing that stood out to me about Tommy was his leadership and how guys responded to him. He led by actions as well as maturity."
Former CB Quinton Person- "Tommy was one of the first people I met on campus while participating in the bridge program the summer of 03. He called me little man but I never took it personal. He was a mentor to not only the guys on the defensive line but all of us. He is definitely one of the reasons I felt the responsibility to take young players under my wing when I became an upperclassmen. I say that to say this: I'm 35 years old these things happened 17 years ago and will stick with me forever. Wealth is not the material items nor the possessions we obtain but the lasting impact we have on others during our time here and when we leave this earth. Tommy was wealthy beyond measure because of his lasting impact on others. Rest easy big guy. We love you!"
Former QB Jared Hall- "Tommy was extremely friendly. A true friend to everyone. He was one of those guys you could depend on if you asked for his help."
Former DL Shelton Bynum- "One thing I remember most about Tommy was his willingness to help young players on and off the field. He was extremely selfless. He’d go out of his way to help and offer mentorship. I can remember in 2007 when I was invited to camp with the NY Giants while he was there, I had family I wanted to see and I mentioned it in one of our conversations. The next off day we had, he picked me and my roommate up and took us around NY city and to see my family without me having to ask. He was that type of guy. He will be missed."
Former DE Jocques Dumas- "I met Tommy Davis shortly after my high school graduation. Our first day on UNC Chapel Hill's campus was filled with running to and fro. Not on the football field, but focused on preparing for an education. From the campus bookstore buying class materials and computers to orientations, we were together. We were prepared to get a jump start on our education. It must have been at least 95° that day, but all we could think of was this new chapter of our lives and all it would offer us. From that day on there weren't too many days that we were apart. Getting up for early morning workouts before class or our ritual lunches at Sutton's Drug store followed up by study hall, we were inseparable. Tommy was always a happy soul with good tithing on his lips. We grew together, always pushing each other, whether it was in the weight room or the classroom. Tommy brought laughter and joy into every room. To say he'll be missed is an understatement."
Former K Connor Barth- "Whenever I think of Tommy I just see that smile he always had on his face! Always laughing and just happy to be around his teammates and family! It literally feels like yesterday when I saw him on the sidelines of a game last year with his family and we gave each other a big hug! He was an amazing teammate and even better person! Prayers to his family and all his friends! 🙏🏻"
Former K Dan Orner- "I think the biggest thing I can remember was the guy just had such an infectious positive personality and smile . There would be times at practice and in games if I was standing on the sideline and we were taking a break he would come and lean on my shoulder and ask me if we could switch positions on a regular basis. I’d be like Tommy If I was as big as you I could hit a FG a mile, he would say if I was as small as you those OL couldn’t grab me."
Former WR Bosley Allen- "Tommy was a standup guy. Dedicated to his craft and the positive growth of individuals he encountered."
Former LB Clay Roberson- "Tommy always showed up when needed on and off the field, to stand by Tommy was a sense of peace, and his laugh made you want to laugh. I’m truly going to miss him........ 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾"
Former DS/LB Warren Green- "Tommy was a very genuine friend and team mate. I remember him as a quiet leader who led by example and was always there for his team. He was also a great mentor for young players entering the arena of division one college football. Just overall great person with outstanding character. He will be missed by many."
Former DE Terry Hunter- "I remember meeting Tommy at a team football camp in Willamston, NC. I believe the year was '99 or 2000. Throughout the camp he consistently challenge me in every drill. I remember him telling me, "If you want to be the best you have to work harder than me lil fella." From that day forward I tried to achieve that goal. Tommy was a great man. Back in college he always gave me his opinion whether I wanted to hear it or not. Men like him are very rare and I'm sure his family appreciated every moment with him. I'd like for them to know that I'm sorry for their loss and they have my deepest sympathy."
Former DE Brian Rackley- "The majority of my time with Tommy was at UNC. He was a great leader on and off the field. He had a personality and smile that could light up the room and get everyones attention. He always had the best interest of others that where apart of his life. He will truly be missed by the UNC football family. Pray God be with his family and friends through this difficult time."
Former FB James Gibson- "Tommy was a great competitor. While we played together many Saturdays, some of my greatest memories were the battles we had in practice making each other better ball players, & eventually better men. We had a lot of common friends that weren’t athletes & one thing that always stuck out was that everyone that really got to know Tommy seemed to share a love for him! He was a special guy!"
Former DT Kentwan Balmer-