Davison Praises Those Involved
Matt Davison praised Auburn area volunteers who made it possible to start the BackPack program in the Auburn Public Schools Wednesday night, Aug. 22.
“You need leadership in your community who is willing to give the time and effort to make it happen,” Davison said at the Calvert Elementary School gymnasium.
The Tecumseh native and former Husker student-athlete spoke at the kickoff of the BackPack program. Through his Creating Captains program, Davison contributed $5,000 to start the Auburn program.
He said the BackPack program has received good community support and hoped it will thrive in Auburn.
“Hopefully, kids can focus on what they need to learn. We want to give every Nebraska kid the opportunity to excel in whatever they want to do. No child should have to go hungry,” Davison said.
In the past three years, Creating Captains has raised funds to help officials of The Food Bank of Lincoln and Food Bank For the Heartland as well as putting money back into communities.
Recognized Those Involved With Auburn Program
Bill Bohlken, co-chair of the Auburn BackPack program, recognized Sharon Pollard, Calvert Elementary School principal and Margaret Hoffmeyer, liaison coordinator with Food Bank of Lincoln officials and contact person for the BackPack program. Both were instrumental in getting things going for the program. Others who were involved with the program the past few months were also recognized.
“We’ve had excellent leadership. We’ve had a lot of people share their time, talent and financial support,” Bohlken said.
Creating Captains contributed $20,000 to start or assist with BackPack programs throughout Southeast Nebraska, said John Mabry, Food Bank of Lincoln development director.
“It’s neat to see how this community has rallied around this project. What Creating Captains is doing for communities is remarkable. They helped start the program in Tecumseh,” Mabry said.
The first distribution in the Auburn Public Schools BackPack program is Friday, Aug. 31, after school. It will continue each week throughout the 2012-2013 school year.
Recalls Memories of Playing
In High School and College
Davison recalled playing baseball and basketball in Auburn. He said he had known Chad and Chris Kelsay, Auburn High School graduates and future Husker teammates from high school. Davison recalled when he first arrived on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus in May 1997. He joined a Husker team with such standouts as Grant Wistrom, Jason Peter, Scott Frost and Ahman Green. When Davison moved into the varsity locker room that August, his locker was next to Quint Hogrefe, Auburn High School graduate.
While on his first road trip as a Husker to Seattle, Davison recalled sitting between Hogrefe and Chad Kelsay on the charter plane. Entering the game, Nebraska was ranked seventh and Washington was ranked second.
“I asked about the process of being on the road. I asked Chad if he thought we’re going to win. He said we’re going to win every game at Nebraska. That gave me confidence as a freshman going on the road for the first time. It changed my attitude about being at Nebraska,” he said.
Leadership and Team Effort Contributed to Husker Success
Davison said Coach Tom Osborne made everyone on the team believe they were part of the team.
“We could do things we didn’t imagine we could do,” he recalled.
While at Nebraska, Davison said he knew he had the opportunity to become the best athlete he could be if he was willing to put in the hard work.
Team effort contributed to the Huskers’ success while Davison was at Nebraska, he recalled. Nebraska won two Big 12 championships and one national championship. Since 1970, Nebraska has won more games than any other football program.
“The leadership at the top was unmatched. The leadership in the locker room was great,” Davison said.
He recalled that while Tommie Frazier and Scott Frost, who quarterbacked the Huskers to three national championships from 1994-97, were never named team captains, they were the first ones at practice and film watching sessions and the last to leave.
“They influenced all around them in a positive way. They set the example of hard work for the rest of us,” Davison said.
Need to Do the Right Things On and Off the Field
Another factor contributing to the Huskers’ success was the athletes doing the right things both on and off the field, he said.
“We did a good job of governing ourselves. We held each other accountable for our actions on and off the field. The athletes had the opportunity to decide what is accepted behavior and what is not. They had the opportunity to influence all socially in a positive way,” Davison said.
“The way we prepared for games separated Nebraska from other schools. That includes recruiting and offseason workouts,” he said.
Student-Athletes Learned Life Lessons
At Nebraska, Davison said the student-athletes are challenged to become involved in charity work and giving back to the community.
He said he has often thought of the influence Coach Tom Osborne had on himself and his Husker teammates.
“The perspective Coach Osborne gave us allowed us to excel. I realized there was a much bigger opportunity in front of me after I graduated. I learned life lessons I took with me when I left campus. They will always stay with me,” Davison said.
Started Creating Captains After Youth Football Camp
He said he was inspired to start Creating Captains after being asked to conduct a football camp for 100 high school boys in Pennsylvania in 2008.
”I taught what I learned from Coach Osborne about character, being a leader in your school and community and dealing with peer pressure. I want to do a lot to prevent bullying. I don’t like bullying,” Davison said.
Addresses Bulldog Student-Athletes Who Attended
He told Auburn Bulldog student athletes who attended only a few plays will decide who wins a game. Student-athletes should use self evaluation, such as did you do all you could to prepare yourself for the big moments in the games. Nervousness comes from not being prepared, Davison said.
“You will all face big decisions. You need to make decisions now how you will handle big decisions in the game and in life,” he said.
Regardless of whether it is junior high, high school, small college, Bowl Championship Series or the NFL, football is a tough game for tough boys and men, Davison said.
He said he still follows the Husker football team despite playing his last game more than a decade ago.
“The Big Ten is a physical conference. It demands you be tough. You need to put in the hard work to give you the opportunity to win,” Davison said.
While he has had a lot of experiences in his life, Davison said the best year of his life was his senior year at Tecumseh High School, 1996-97.
“I was fortunate. I had a lot of fun. I urge you to take on a leadership role in school and look upon it as an opportunity,” he said to the student-athletes.