In Memorium

Educational Services and Programs honors

the passing of McKinley "Deacon" Davis

August 3, 1932 to March 20, 2003

The ESP community will be forever grateful for his contributions

McKinley "Deacon" Davis, was born in Freeport Illinois. He graduated from Freeport Senior High School where he was a player on the 1951 State Championship basketball team. In that same year, he was recognized as a member of the All-State Basketball team.

Front row, left to right: Thomas Williams, Eugene Schmidt, Harlan Fritz, McKinley (Deacon) Davis, Ben Dorsey. Second row: Manager William Trunk, Eugene Ingold, Carl Caim, Jim Hill, Coach Harry Kinert, William Spahn, Roger Meads, Manager Douglas Smith.

From there, Deacon went to the University of Iowa where he graduated in 1955. While at Iowa, he was named to the 2nd Team All-Amiercan and 1st Team in the All Big Ten Conference.

deacon as trotter

From 1955 to 1957, Deacon was a member of the Harlem Globetrotters. In those years, he travelled around the country with the team, studying the condition of American high schools in his down time.  It was in these years, while continuing his education that his vision developed for what would one day become the CHANCE program.  

In 1968, NIU President Rhoten Smith hired Deacon as the Director of Special Programs and founder of the CHANCE program. Deacon stayed in that role until 1978 when he became the Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at NIU.  Click here to read the text of the press release from July 1968 regarding the founding of the program from the Rockford Morning Star. 

From 1983 until his death in 2003, Deacon worked at Primerica Financial Services/Travelers Group as a National Sales Director for the firm.

In January 2004, NIU President John Peters re-dedicated the CHANCE program as "The McKinley 'Deacon' Davis CHANCE Program."