BATESVILLE, Ark. – When Ricky Davis enrolled in Arkansas College in 1976, he never imagined that 31 years later he would join the Board of Trustees of what had by then become Lyon College. He had grown up in Evening Shade, but settled in Heber Springs after graduating in 1980.
Although he had planned to teach, he became the manager of that city's Sonic Drive-In and stuck with it, becoming a franchise owner in 1994. Now the owner of 23 Sonic Drive-In restaurants in central and eastern Arkansas, along with other business interests, his Heber Springs location and the St. Louis Street store in Batesville are high volume producers.
As his business success has burgeoned, he has not forgotten his alma mater. In addition to serving on the board, he has taken a special interest in Lyon athletics. Most recently, he and his family obtained Sonic corporate support of the baseball program, purchasing the new electronic scoreboard at Scots Field. They also donated six picnic tables and shade umbrellas so fans could more easily enjoy eating while they watched Scots baseball.
Davis was not an athlete at Arkansas College but said he always wanted to support the athletic programs where he attended college.
"Ricky has always been a friend of Lyon athletics and approached me one day, asking what are some of our needs of our programs," said Lyon Director of Athletics Kevin Jenkins. "We had been talking about purchasing a new scoreboard prior to his inquiry, so he and I talked about it and Ricky was generous enough to make it all happen."
Jenkins said it is people like Davis that help the Lyon programs provide some of the best playing venues throughout the American Midwest Conference.
"You can't put a dollar figure on the contribution of this nature to Lyon College," Jenkins added. "The addition of the scoreboard, along with the tables and umbrellas to our outfield decks, has added much more than an aesthetic value to the facility. It completes the game day experience for our fans when they come out to watch our team play.
"We're excited to partner with Ricky and his family and appreciate what they are giving back to Lyon. It will be enjoyed by athletes and fans for years to come."
On hand for the dedication of the scoreboard was Ricky's son, Scott Davis, his wife April, and their children, Hayden and Hunter. Hayden and Hunter also were recognized and threw out the ceremonial first pitches at Lyon's games on Saturday against Park University.