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My Flyer Family: Team players

My Flyer Family: Team players

Ava Larkin '27 June 05, 2024

Legacy is a word I hear all the time in the Frericks Center. It echoes off the walls as we practice in that hot gym. As we see the All-Americans whose portraits hang in the rafters and see the little girls cheering us on in the stands, we don’t need to be reminded that we play for the women who built our volleyball program and the girls who will don these jerseys years after we’ve hung up our court shoes and stowed away our knee pads. 

Ava Larkin '27 (center) and her sister grew up attending UD basketball games with their father, Chad Larkin '00.


I understood my place in the long line of Flyers before I even stepped foot on campus, but I didn’t quite understand the weight of this legacy until I was finally immersed in it.
Growing up in Arizona with two UD alumni as parents, red and blue was all around the house and heavily influenced my wardrobe.

My parents, Chad Larkin ’00 and Susan Mignerey Larkin ’00, could not have had a more perfect UD love story. The golfer and the sorority girl met in the elevator during first-year move-in at Marycrest and began hanging out with mutual friends. Junior year they started dating and the two were engaged six months after graduation.

Ava's parents, Chad Larkin ’00 and Susan Mignerey Larkin ’00.


Mom grew up in Georgia, but Dad grew up in Dayton and had always been familiar with UD. His father, Jim Larkin ’72, had been a member of the UD basketball team. Although he blew out his knee his freshman year and was no longer healthy to compete, grandpa stayed on the team as a manager for the rest of his four years. He even went on to become a grad assistant and eventually an assistant coach under Coach Don Donoher.

Grandpa was very involved in UD Athletics. On top of basketball, he also coached the tennis and golf teams as they were starting up. Being this involved is what led him to meet my grandma, Stephanie Larkin, who worked as an administrative assistant in UD Athletics. Grandma and Grandpa are still connected to UD Athletics; Grandpa even goes to basketball practices two to three times a week with his coaching buddies from back in the day.

Jim Larkin ’72 when he played for the Dayton Flyers men's basketball team.


When it was finally time to look at colleges during my junior year of high school, I had only one school in mind. It was actually the only school I applied to. I knew I had to be a Flyer from hearing all the stories of my parents’ glory days in the student neighborhood. Hanging out with friends on the weekends, attending basketball games at UD Arena and hitting every possible spot on Brown Street all fit within this perfect UD experience I had envisioned since I was little, holding Grandpa’s hand on walks through Frericks and up to the chapel.

My dad had once told me a story about his house that has since been torn down to build Caldwell Apartments. The wall of the bathroom had gotten smashed in. They saw this broken wall as an opportunity to create a yearbook of sorts. So, after he and his housemates had all signed it, they asked every person who came over to sign the ruptured wall. This charming anecdote was my first real glimpse into student life and the “community” I longed to be a part of.

I don’t plan on vandalizing any school property like my father did, but I hope to carry on my family’s Flyer legacy and have a little fun along the way.

As told to Alayna Yates '23

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