Elmira, NY and Ernie Davis are intrinsically-linked now and forever. While he wasn't born there, Ernie made his name in the southern Upstate town, which put him in the sights of Ben Schwartzwalder and Syracuse University...the rest is history. Ernie is buried in Elmira and a local group of students keep a watchful eye over his gravestone to make sure it's well kept. Years later, he's still a major part of the town.
Recently, the town's two secondary schools, Elmira Free Academy and Elmira Southside High School, merged their athletics programs. There was no way either school was going to just accept the other one's nickname (Blue Devils & Green Hornets, respectively). So, they put it to a vote to decide the new school sports nickname.
And so, I give you the Elmira Express.
The Express, of course, refers to Davis, not the movie about his life but the running back who starred at Elmira Free Academy and then Syracuse University, eventually becoming the first black player to win the Heisman Trophy.
"It’s not only a symbol of a great person who did great things in our community and went on to stardom, it’s also a reminder of what put Elmira on the map back then," Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter told Elmira’s Star-Gazette.
Next up for the school system, figuring out a logo and a mascot. I say just go with a massive Ernie Davis costume holding a Heisman Trophy, but that's me.
Note: Gregg M. makes a great point...how bout being the guy to wear #44 on the Express? Big shoes or BIG SHOES?