Athens Bible coach April Davis enjoys being surrounded by family at practice.

By Justin Graves


ATHENS – The first time April Davis was around high school volleyball, she was the ball girl for her sister’s team at Athens Bible in 1981. Davis was in the second grade then and that was the first year the Trojans fielded a volleyball team.

Davis went on to have a solid volleyball career at Athens Bible and is now the No. 3 ranked Trojans head coach. Davis’ star player – Abbie Melvin – is her niece and her ball girl is none other than her four-year old daughter McKenzie Davis. She also has two nieces – MaKayla Melvin and Mallory Bauer – on Athens Bible’s junior varsity team and her sister-in-law – Mary Ellen Colman – transferred from Athens this year.

With so much of Davis’ family involved in Athens Bible volleyball, it’s hard to not keep the family tradition intact.

“I’m surrounded by family,” Davis said. “That can be good and bad, but it’s mostly good. I grew up around volleyball and I love it. That’s kind of the way the rest of these girls are. It’s our life and it’s made us very close.”

Like Davis was her sister’s ball girl, Melvin was her aunt’s ball girl at Athens Bible. Always being around older girls, Melvin picked up the game at an early age and now has blossomed into one of the best players in Limestone County. Melvin gives all the credit to her coach and aunt.

“April (Davis) really pushes me hard,” she said. “But it has made me a whole lot better as a player. There’s no way I would be where I’m at now if it wasn’t for her.”

Davis believes the competitive environment Melvin grew up in rubbed off on her. She believes that sitting through state tournaments and being part of timeouts during big matches helped her niece understand what it takes to be successful and hopes the same thing rubs off on the others.

“Abbie (Melvin) is a very special player,” Davis said. “She been around successful teams and knows what it takes to win. Hopefully the same thing will happen to McKenzie (Davis).”

The four-year old already looks up to her older cousin and understands some of the basic fundamentals of the game. In fact, McKenzie already has her future planned.

“I’m going to play volleyball here and I’m going to be good,” McKenzie Davis said. “And when I play volleyball, Abbie (Melvin) is going to be my coach.”

Davis and Melvin both could see that happening in the future, but right now they are more worried about this season.

“We’ve got a really good team this year,” Melvin said. “So far, we’ve done pretty good, but we can play better. I think we’ve got a team capable of making it to the state tournament this year.”

Davis believes her niece is right.

“This year I think everything is lining up for us,” Davis said. “I believe we have a really good shot this year.”

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