Steve Davis led Oklahoma to the 1974 and 1975 national championships as its quarterback.
Davis started at Oklahoma from 1973-75, which also happened to be Barry Switzer's first three seasons as head coach.
His second career start — a 7-7 tie at USC — and a stunning 23-3 home loss to Kansas two years later were the only blemishes on Davis' incredible 32-1-1 career record.
After his playing career ended, he spent 18 years as a college football broadcaster.
I grew up in Sallisaw, but my seventh-grade year, my family moved to Broken Arrow. We arrived late in the summer ... football was sixth- or seventh-hour in the curriculum, and when I enrolled, football was full.
I was stuck in a music class with 24 girls. I was the only guy in that class. I would be in this music class, and the windows would be open because it was August, and you could hear the guys outside playing football, and I'm in this music class.
We only stayed in Broken Arrow for one year and moved back to Sallisaw, but I'll never forget how I really wanted to be in that environment.
It was early on in my career that I dreamed about playing at the University of Oklahoma. I was about an eighth-grader or ninth-grader, and OU was recruiting a guy that was two or three grades older than me named Bill Orendorff. He ended up going to OU.
When they recruited, they'd give you these wonderful big, full-color brochures. Bill gave me one of the brochures, and on the back of this brochure was a picture of the Sooner offensive huddle. It was a shot into the huddle, and there was Bobby Warmack, who was my idol. He had that eye-black, and the double chin strap and the towel out of the front of his pants.
I took that picture, and I took a big, black magic marker and wrote “WHEN?” I hid it under my top dresser drawer in my bedroom, under my underwear. It stayed there forever. I never shared it with anyone; nobody knew about it.
Sometime later, my mother found that picture. Just before the Baylor game my sophomore year — my first start — my mom wrote on it, “TONIGHT.”
One of the first times I went to OU for a game was the 1967 Kansas game. Bobby Warmack hit Steve Zabel for a touchdown deep in the fourth quarter. I was sitting in the north end zone, and literally sat down and tears came to my face because I thought, ‘I'm gonna be here someday.'
In 1971, my freshman year, they recruited eight quarterbacks. Freshmen still weren't eligible for varsity then. The first day of practice, they told us, ‘You're gonna go in and see the depth chart. Don't read too much into it.'
I went into the dressing room, and I'm the eighth quarterback. Larry McBroom became one of my good friends, but he was No. 7, and he was hurt. He'd just had shoulder surgery. He couldn't even practice.
I told my dad that night, ‘Well, the good news is, I'll be moving up on that depth chart pretty soon. I know it.'
The things that football teaches, you can never learn in a classroom or any other environment. Teamwork, cooperation, setting goals, dedication, perseverance. They are lessons that will stick with you forever and ever. They will come back and serve you well in business, in life, in marriage. In virtually every aspect of your life.
Through the middle of my senior season, we struggled offensively, I struggled because I was trying to force the ball to Joe Washington. I felt the pressure of trying to get the ball into Joe's hands. He was our big hitter. He was a guy that could make big plays.
Defenses were recognizing that they didn't want Joe Washington carrying the ball, and they did everything they possibly could to take the pitch opportunity away from us. They wanted either the fullback or the quarterback to beat them. It created a pressure environment where I think I played my poorest football over a very short stretch of games.
The Kansas loss was absolutely the lowest, poorest performance of my career at Oklahoma.
I contemplated going to Switzer and telling him to take me out of the ballgame because I was so defeated.
People said, ‘Steve, the boos weren't that bad.' Well, it was bad enough for my parents to hear it. It was bad enough for the entire team to hear it. It was very painful, and I remember shaking my fist at them. It was a defiant moment on my part, but it was also a defining moment for our team and for me personally.
We made a conscientious effort that for the rest of the way, we were playing for us. We're not going to be defined by the people that were the boo birds, and the people who were sitting up there judging us. We were going to create our own destiny.
The Kansas loss was one of the greatest lessons that athletics ever gave me.