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Legendary Sooners QB Davis killed in plane crash

The SportsXchange

Former Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Steve Davis was killed in an airplane crash in South Bend, Ind. on Sunday night.

Davis, who led the Sooners to national titles in 1974 and 1975, was one of two men who were killed when the small plane they were on that had departed from Tulsa, Okla. went down with reported electrical problems as it attempted to land in South Bend. Two other passengers on board were injured and were listed in fair condition at South Bend Memorial Hospital.

"The University of Oklahoma is deeply saddened by the passing of Steve Davis," Oklahoma University director of athletics Joe Castiglione said in a statement. "We extend our sympathies to Steve's family and others whose lives he touched. He was a great champion and someone who set a wonderful example for others. We will miss him very much."

Davis, 60, started for Oklahoma from 1973-75 for former coach Barry Switzer and was 32-1-1 during his career. He later spent 18 years as a college football announcer.

"This is a tragic loss," said Switzer. "Steve was a tremendous role model for student-athletes everywhere. He was a good student and a fantastic person. He was a minister who traveled across the country inspiring thousands with his message, his words and his lifestyle."

Davis wasn't highly recruited, but was still offered a scholarship by Leon Cross, who recruited the area for the Sooners. Davis arrived on campus eighth on the depth chart, but took over the starting job just two years later and went on to win 28 consecutive games including the two national titles.

"We weren't necessarily sure what position he'd play, so we took him as an athlete," said Switzer. "The first time I saw him play was in a freshman game I distinctly recall walking down to the field after the game and telling Galen Hall, 'this kid is a talented quarterback.'

"Steve was surrounded by great talent on those teams, but he was truly an exceptional leader. I was proud of him. The entire state of Oklahoma was proud of him. We still are."

Davis went on to be a regular at speaking engagements, often using the university's plane.

However, he also endured through several personal issues, including a divorce from his first wife and grappling with his brother's battle with Lou Gehrig's Disease.

In 2007, Davis told of the death of his brother in 1993: "What changed my life was seeing his courage. It's given me a resolve to be more passionate about the very opportunities that I've been given. Passion can empower you. Passion can change your life."
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