Alumni in the News

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Davis Larry

Alumnus Larry Davis (BS Biochemistry ’77, MS Biological Chemistry ’79) was recently featured in Los Angeles Times article about the UCLA “Frisbee Cheer” he created.

Davis received his B.S. in Chemistry in 1977, went on to receive his M.S. in Biological Chemistry in 1979, and later his law degree. An unofficial UCLA Bruins alumni cheerleader, Davis first introduced the cheer at the UCLA-Washington Huskies game in 1978. His nickname “Frisbee” dates from his undergraduate days when he would bring along a Frisbee when he had to wait in long lines for student tickets.

The Frisbee cheer begins with one Bruins fan yelling the question, “Is this a basketball?” after which the rest of the fans answer in unison, “Yes, that’s a basketball”. The chant continues with a series of questions naming the court along with the winning and losing team. The chant ends with the entire student section clapping at an increasing rate as they chant, “U-C-L-A.  UCLA.  Fight!  Fight!  Fight!”. 

Davis is an attorney living in Los Angeles.

Excerpt from Los Angeles Times (by Ben Bolch): 

The creator of UCLA’s iconic Frisbee Cheer fondly remembers when he did it his way

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Larry “Frisbee” Davis, who as a student created an iconic UCLA sports cheer 40 years ago, is seen at his home in Porter Ranch. Davis doesn’t care for the way the cheer is performed nowadays. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Davis was the one trying to reach his fellow students when he started the cheer as a UCLA undergraduate majoring in biochemistry. Interest in the school’s basketball team had waned a bit in the two years after legendary coach John Wooden retired, with attendance at Pauley Pavilion dipping about 1,000 fans per game from Wooden’s final season in 1974-75. Davis got the idea while watching Pepperdine water polo players perform a similar cheer in support of their school’s volleyball team during a match against UCLA. He later learned it had been performed previously at a Pepperdine swim meet, where a student stood up and asked, “Are those the starting blocks? Is that a diving board?” Davis did something that made the cheer entirely his own. He copyrighted it. The unveiling of the cheer at Pauley Pavilion during the 1976-77 season was modest, Davis starting with a small group of classmates before it quickly mushroomed to the entire student section. Davis was soon given access to the court, allowing him to engage the whole crowd.

“Every once in a while,” Davis said, “I was able to get the alumni into it and that made it really fun when you could get 10,000 or 12,000 people doing it.” Davis took his cheer to football and baseball games as well as track meets. He made use of various props, dressing in a robe and wheeling a 5-foot-tall oil derrick into Pauley Pavilion for a game against the rival Trojans during the 1979-80 season after the shah of Iran had given millions of dollars to USC. Bruins star David Greenwood later told Davis that it was the first time he had ever stopped warming up before a game to watch a cheer. Read the full article here.