|Year of Graduation:||1978-1981|
2010 Maryville College Wall of Fame inductee Ed Davalos came to Maryville College by way of Rockaway, New Jersey. Mars Hill High school was the foundation of MC future wrestling standouts Bob Valentine, Wall of Fame member Wayne Dunn, and this 124-150 pound dynamo grappler. It was a big change after growing up 32 miles outside New York City, but Maryville would be the best place to meet his needs in the classroom and on the wrestling mat.
Scots Head Wrestling Coach Don Elia assembled one the strongest wrestling squads in MC history as Davalos began his career in the Orange and Garnet. Surrounded and challenged by a strong New Jersey based squad, Davalos worked hard daily with teammates John LaCava, Rich Ramos, Rich Holland, and hometown friends Valentine and Dunn. The Scots did not wrestle these days according to NCAA Division III guidelines. Elia’s Scots were challenged to qualify for regionals and nationals by winning MidSouth and SEIWA qualifiers. These non-scholarship wrestlers had to face the best from the University of Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia Tech, Clemson, MTSU, Appalachian State and UT-Chattanooga.
Davalo’s first match representing Maryville set the tone for his outstanding career. Coach Elia recalls this story and routinely told his past wrestlers of Ed’s beginnings on the mat as a life lesson.
Elis recalls, “During our first dual meet against Appalachian State Ed drew a returning All-American for his first career match. The quick and tactical Davalos struggled and lost by seven points to the scholarship grappler.” Expecting to console the freshman, Coach Elia pulled Davalos aside prepared to make the rookie feel better. Davalos exclaimed to his coach, “This was the most fun I have had in years…he was great and I can’t wait to wrestle him again.” This was Ed’s philosophy. He wanted to stretch himself, learn, and get better daily. He did just that! Davalos finished his rookie season placing third in the Mid South tournament that year.
At the conclusion of his freshman season, Davalos had helped the Scots earn a No. 18 national ranking.
As a sophomore, Davalos remembers going to Wheaton, Illinois for the NCAA Nationals. He fondly remembers teammate John LaCava in a sweat suit in the van ride all the way to Chicago. His mother and siblings made the trip from Jersey in a snow storm and watched Ed wrestle for one match before he was eliminated. He will always remember his family’s dedication to come and watch him during that trip.
Davalos’ junior season saw his mentor take the Head Coaching position at Carson Newman College. As numerous friends decided to become Eagles down the road, Ed followed and wrestled for Coach Elia.
Simply put, Davalos missed Maryville and its challenges. After one semester and an undefeated season for the Eagles, Ed returned to the Orange and Garnet.
The lack of NCAA Division III competition combined with the emphasis on Title IX was beginning to cause hurdles for the wrestling program. Only five wrestlers, Davalos, Greg Hosler, John LaCava, Dino Thornton, and Ron Cuneo represented the Scots during the winter. Davalos captained the squad and earned the Old Dominion Athletic Championship at the 150 pound classification. His talents were recognized by the league when he was named the Most Valuable ODAC tournament wrestler following his season.
The directors decided to discontinue the program. With no coach, no schedule, and a standout wrestler entering his campaign, Davalos embarked on one of the most unique and truly Maryville College experiences that no other student-athlete wearing the orange and garnet had ever accomplished.
Davalos petitioned MC directors for the permission to represent Maryville as an individual at MidSouth at Georgia Tech and SEIWA qualifiers. He trained himself. He used his resources and was allowed to work out at Carson Newman with his old coach and few of his Carson Newman buddies. Ed secured the MidSouth Championship and place third at the Southeastern qualifier. This ODAC Individual Champion, Mideast Regional Champion, earned his way…all by himself….to the NCAA Nationals and became an All-American.
In competing in the NCAA Division III Championships at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT it was the first time Ed’s father had ever seen him wrestle in college. Without a coach, Ed’s brother Frank sat in the coaches’ corner while Davalos almost pinned his No.1 seeded opponent.
Teammate John LaCava gave his reflection on Davalos’ determination. “Although Ed was 2-3 weight classes above me, we wrestled daily and he pushed me to make me better…He beat the fool out of me daily, but it made me much better.”
“He paid a great deal of attention to being technically sound and detailed with a strong foundation and the keen ability to execute any move he had practiced. Our team was filled with great athletes that just pushed each other to excel on and off the mat.”
Coach Elia is proud of the strides Ed made as a true student-athlete. “Maryville was the perfect pace to allow Ed to grow as a person. I am proud of the development he showed as a wrestler, but when he received his degree I constantly reflect on his personal hard work and perseverance to achieve the goals he set for himself. I am proud of all the things Ed has accomplished.”
After graduating Maryville with a degree in Business Administration, Davalos attended graduate school at ETSU where he assisted the wrestling program.
Ed has been working in the wireless technology field for the past 25 years and today is the director of product management at AT&T.
Ladies and gentlemen, a persistent warrior on the MC wrestling mat and Maryville’s last varsity wrestling representative at NCAA post-season competition. I proudly present to you 2010 Maryville College Wall of Fame Inductee, Ed Davalos.