Sooners Mourn the Passing of Steve Davis
Steve Davis compiled a 32-1-1 record as the Sooners’ starting quarterback.
The University of Oklahoma was saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Davis, who compiled a 32-1-1 record as the Sooners’ starting quarterback. The Sallisaw, Okla., native guided OU to national championships under head coach Barry Switzer in both 1974 and 1975. The Sooners also won three straight Big 8 titles with Davis at quarterback from 1973-75.
“The University of Oklahoma is deeply saddened by the passing of Steve Davis,” said OU vice president for intercollegiate athletics and director of athletics, Joe Castiglione. “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.”
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops also expressed his gratitude for Davis’ many contributions to the legacy of the football program at the University of Oklahoma.
“On behalf of the Oklahoma Football family, we share the sorrow of Sooners everywhere who are mourning the loss of Steve Davis and extend our prayers to Steve’s family and many friends,” said Stoops. “Steve gracefully carried the hopes and dreams of an entire state on his shoulders as he quarterbacked the University of Oklahoma to back-to-back national championships. While his record of accomplishment on the field will long be remembered, I will always appreciate the personal support and encouragement that Steve provided to me and our student-athletes. He was a man of exceptional character who will be deeply missed.”
Davis’ tenure as Oklahoma’s starting quarterback, the only contests that the Sooners didn’t win were a 20-14 setback at No. 9 Colorado in 1972 and a 7-7 tie at No. 1 in 1973. Oklahoma won a pair of bowl games during Davis’ time at OU. The Sooners claimed a 14-0 win over No. 5 Penn State in the Sugar Bowl following the 1972 campaign. Davis was the Offensive Most Valuable Player of the 1976 Orange Bowl as the Sooners registered a 14-6 win over Michigan to capture the 1975 national championship with an 11-1 record. During the 1974 campaign, the Sooners led the nation in scoring, averaging 43 points per game as OU finished the season as the only undefeated team in the country at 11-0.
“This is a tragic loss,” said former OU head coach Barry 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.
“Steve wasn’t highly-regarded when we recruited him,” he continued. “We weren’t necessarily sure what position he’d play, so we took him as an athlete. 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.’
“Back then I think we had 250 kids on the roster, and I believe Steve started out about eighth on the depth chart,” Switzer concluded. “Of course, we all know that he went on to post a 32-1-1 record and help us win two national championships. 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.”