Blue Devil Athletic History

What is the name of the school song and when was it written?  Hail to the Red and Blue, 1922

Our school colors, the red and the blue, were decided in 1893 by Vic Littig, and were based on the crimson red of Harvard and the blue of Yale.

Before the Blue Devils became the official mascot of DHS some of the other names given to the sports teams were the following: Moon Men, Red and Blue, Hilltoppers, and Imps.

Did you know that there was once a rifle range located in the high school where students could practice their shooting skills for the Boys and Girls Rifle Club?  The range was located in the dungeon where the pool was eventually built.

Overall Davenport/Central has won more State Championships than any other school in the State of Iowa.

Davenport/Central alums have to their credit the following accomplishments:  MLB All-Star; MLB World Series Champion; NFL All-Pro; NFL Super Bowl Champion; U.S. Summer Olympian; NCAA Champions in football and wrestling; and PGA U.S. Open Golf Champion.

Davenport/Central Coaches in the Iowa High School Coaches Hall of Fame:  Mike Dardis, Ira Dunsworth, Jesse Day, Don Grensing, Jim Fox, Jack Leabo, Anton "Butch" Stolfa, and Paul Moon.

Davenport/Central ranks second all-time with 11 State Championships in baseball (includes spring and summer). State runner-ups a total of 8 times.

Davenport/Central has 12 spring and 12 summer state tournament appearances. Davenport/Central won back-to-back Spring Championships 2 times and back-to-back-to-back 1 time.

State of Iowa Baseball Hall of Fame Coaches/Players from Davenport/Central include: Bill Freese (589 career wins), Jack Leabo, Gene Baker, Dick Hoeskema, Dave Hoeskema, Tom Mullen, and Gene Makeever.

Former Davenport/Central athletes to become professional baseball players include:

Gene Baker was the first black player on the Chicago Cubs' Major League roster. He was the first black man to manage an affiliated team in the Minor Leagues. And, for two innings in September 1963, he was the second black manager in the Major Leagues.  By the time Baker, then 29, was activated and made his debut on Sept. 20th, he was shifted to second base, where he and Banks became the first black double-play combination in the Major Leagues. The pair, also roommates, was nicknamed "Bingo and Bango." Gene won the 1960 World Series with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Tom Mullen recorded the 2nd most strikeouts in a game (State Tournament game) with 22.  He recorded 176 strikeouts for the season.  He also has 13 strikeouts in a State Championship game (15 is most all-time).  He holds the record for the most strikeouts in a State Tournament.

John Young is one of 11 pitchers to throw a one-hitter in a State Championship game.

Vince Jackson batted .591 during in a single season.

Davenport native Gene Baker did something no African-American had done
before him: he managed a minor league baseball team.

State Championships - 9

Davenport Central holds the record for the most victories at the State Basketball Tournament at 51. 
The Blue Devils also hold the record for the most State Championships at 9. Davenport High School played in six consecutive Iowa state championship games.

Davenport/Central has appeared in the State Basketball Tournament 23 times.  Hall of Fame Coach Paul Moon led the Blue Devils to the tournament 16 times and won 7 championships.  From 1951-1953 DC won 60 straight games.

1942 basketball team







Pictured: Gene Baker (fourth person back on left), Jack Spencer (#26), Dick Meier (#30)

Jack Spencer became the first athlete to be 4-time basketball letterman at Davenport/Central.  He was also All Big Ten in basketball and baseball at Iowa.

Davenport Alum Carl Widseth (Spook) holds University of Tennessee record for attempted free throws - 848 in 88 games. Allan Houston ranks No. 2 with 767 in 128 games - 40 more than Widseth played. Widseth sank 288 in 24 games his senior season and 225 in 21 games as a sophomore. He scored 47 points at Auburn in 1956 and 17 were foul shots (before the advent of the three point line).  “The night he got 47 against Auburn was probably the best any Tennessee player ever played," Retired Knoxville Journal sportswriter and sports editor Ben Byrd said. "He beat Auburn virtually by himself, and Auburn had a great team. Nobody had ever come close to scoring that many points in a game for UT before that.”  "(UT Coach) Lowery always said Spook (Widseth) was best player he ever recruited."  Widseth averaged 22 points in six games against Adolph Rupp's famed Kentucky Wildcat teams

Davenport alum Frank Sebolt appeared in two Final Fours with the University of Iowa in 1956 and 1957.

State of Iowa Basketball Hall of Fame Players & Coaches from Davenport/Central include:

NBA Player:

Boys Cross Country

State Championships – 9
Davenport Central owns 9 football State Championships* (Current playoff format started in 1972).  The Blue Devils ended the season undefeated, with 1 loss or ranked #1 27 times.

Elmer LaydenElmer Layden
Former Davenport/Central All-Staters who became NCAA Division I Consensus First Team All-Americans

1924: Elmer Layden, Notre Dame, RB (pictured) one of the famed Four Horsemen. Later Notre Dame Football coach going 47-13-3.  NFL Commissioner for 4 years.

1940: George “Sonny” Franck, Minnesota (3rd in Heisman voting won by Tom Harmon). NCAA National Champions. Played professionally for the New York Giants

Former Davenport/Central athletes that later became NFL/AFL Players include:

Jerry HillebrandRoger and JamieJulian VanderveldeAustin Howard


Boys Golf

Blue Devil alum Jack Fleck won the 1955 U.S. Open. Fleck won an 18-hole playoff by three strokes over his idol, Ben Hogan, at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.[4] Fleck's first round deficit of nine strokes (behind Tommy Bolt), was the largest overcome by a U.S. Open winner.  He won 2 more PGA Tour events and won the 1979 PGA Seniors' Championship just prior to the formation of the Senior PGA Tour.  In 1960 Jack lost a PGA Tour playoff to Arnold Palmer.  Fleck was inducted into the Iowa Golf Hall of Fame in 1990.

Boys Swimming

Boys Soccer:

Boys Tennis

Track and Field:

Boys Wrestling:

Simon RobertsSimon Roberts (pictured at right) became the first black athlete to become a State of Iowa Wrestling Champion. While at the University of Iowa he was the first black wrestler to win an NCAA title. A year later he became the first black Big Ten Wrestling Champion. Simon Roberts continued to make history after graduating from Iowa. He became the first black coach of any sport at any high school in the Quad Cities when he took the wrestling coach position at Alleman High School.  Simon then went on to become the first black to hold elective office in his hometown of Davenport.

Jim Leach, 1960 State Champion served 30 years in the United States House of Representatives. He co-sponsored Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act in 1999, a landmark bill relating to the banking industry.

Girls Swimming:

Girls Track & Field State Champions - 2

Girls Volleyball