QB Steve Davis Killed as Plane Crashes into South Bend Homes

Image: QB Steve Davis Killed as Plane Crashes into South Bend Homes 1976 photo of Univ. of Oklahoma quarterback Steven Davis giving the "Number 1" sign in Miami Beach, after the Associated Press named the Sooners as national champions for the 2nd year in a row.

Monday, 18 Mar 2013 02:35 PM

By Jerry Shaw

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Steve Davis, who led the Oklahoma Sooners to two national championships in the 1970s, establishing one of the best records as quarterback in sports history, died in a Sunday plane crash in South Bend, Ind. He was 60.

Davis and the pilot, Wesley Caves, 58, also of Tulsa, were killed in the afternoon crash near the regional airport close to Notre Dame University. The plane had touched down at the airport, but went back up as Caves reported electrical problems. The plane crashed into three homes. Two other passengers in the plane and a woman in a house were injured.

Davis, a pilot himself since high school, had developed a friendship with Caves over the years. After flying to San Antonio, Texas, last week, he had been invited by Caves to go to Indiana, Davis' friend Jean Barrett told the Chicago Tribune.

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"He had invited Steve to come and go with him yesterday, as copilot," said Barrett, who played football at the University of Tulsa before joining the NFL and became friends with Davis in college.

Davis had dreamed of playing for the Sooners as a child growing up in Sallisaw, Okla. Years later he revealed how he had tucked away a photograph of his Sooner idol, Bobby Warmack, and he wrote the word, “WHEN?” with a black magic marker, waiting for his chance on the gridiron.

Davis started with Oklahoma on the first game of the 1973 season. His mother wrote on the same photograph, “TONIGHT.”

Davis later recalled how he almost left the Sooners lineup before the 1973 season because he was competing against seven other quarterbacks vying for the position. He turned his doubts into dedication and landed the job that would make him one of the greatest quarterbacks in Oklahoma history.

Davis guided the Sooners to national championships in 1974 and 1974, starting in every game under head coach Barry Switzer’s first three seasons. He garnered an incredible 32-1-1 record, leading the Sooners to an 11-0 season in 1974 and 11-1 in 1075.

In his book, “The Die-Hard Fan’s Guide to Sooner Football,” Davis said he “will never get over the fact that I was an Oklahoma quarterback,” or the fact that “I only lost one game.”

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Davis loved living for the game, saying that’s what he lived for. “I was an excitable player, but I think I played within myself,” he said


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