- DAVIS, AL
- DAVIS, AL (1929– ), principal owner and president of the Oakland Raiders football team, member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Born in Brockton, Massachusetts, Davis grew up in Brooklyn and graduated from Syracuse University in 1950, where he played football, basketball, and baseball. Davis was then named line coach at Adelphi College at age 21. He subsequently went into the U.S. Army, where he was assigned as head football coach at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. Davis joined the staff of the NFL Baltimore Colts as a scout in 1954, and then served as line coach and chief recruiter at The Citadel in 1955–56. Afterwards he spent three years at the University of Southern California. Davis was then hired in 1960 by sid gillman as an offensive coach for the Los Angeles Chargers in the newly formed American Football League. In 1963, Davis was hired by the Oakland Raiders to be the team's head coach and general manager, after the team had only won three of their previous 28 games. Davis led the Raiders his first season to a 10–4–0 record, and was named AFL Coach of the Year by AP, UPI, Sports Illustrated, the Sporting News, and his fellow coaches. The nine-win turnaround from the previous season remains the greatest such accomplishment in pro football history. Davis coached three seasons for a 23–16–3 record, and was then named commissioner of the AFL in April 1966. Though Davis was acclaimed as an instrumental figure in the historic merger between the NFL and AFL, he was personally against it. Davis stepped down as commissioner two months later when Pete Rozelle was chosen to be commissioner of the new league, returning to the Raiders as general manager and principal owner. Known for his dark glasses, slicked-back hair, Brooklyn accent, and ferocious competitiveness, Davis was regarded as a maverick owner. He moved the Raider franchise to Los Angeles in 1982 against the NFL's objections, winning the battle in Federal District Court, and then moved the team back to Oakland in 1995. Davis' Raiders played in five Super Bowls, winning in 1977, 1981, and 1984, with the team having the best record in pro sports from 1963 to 1991. It was a reflection of his often-quoted motto: "Just win, baby." Davis was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992, the fourth Jew selected after sid luckman , sid gillman , and ron mix , later joined by marv levy and benny friedman . (Elli Wohlgelernter (2nd ed.)
Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.