A map of Oklahoma hung in Steve Davis' room in Norman.
A pin marked every city the Sooners quarterback had traveled to in the state.
“I bet there were over 100 pins on that wall, at least,” former teammate Randy Hughes remembered Monday, a day after Davis and another Tulsa man were killed in a plane crash in South Bend, Ind. “He spoke all over the state.”
During his days as the Sooners' quarterback, Davis traveled around the state—mostly by plane—sharing his Christian faith with sermons and speeches.
Before Tim Tebow turned kneeling prayers in the end zone into a verb (Tebowing), before Landry Jones looked beyond life as the Sooner quarterback to the ministry, there was Steve Davis.
Davis had a nearly flawless record, suffering just one loss and one tie to go with 32 wins. Friends and former teammates remembered Davis on Monday just as much for his faith and the way he carried himself off the field as his exploits on it.
Less than two weeks before the Sooners opened the 1975 season—Davis' senior year—against Oregon, Davis traveled to Lubbock, Texas, to speak at a Billy Graham Crusade.
“If my prayer life today was what it was eight years ago, I'd be praying something like this,” Davis told the capacity crowd. “Thank you Lord for saving my soul, thank you Lord for making me whole, thank you Lord for letting me be, Oklahoma's quarterback of the wishbone-T.
“There's more to prayer than that — praying for people's needs. Jesus was a master at meeting people's needs and I wanted that in my life.”
The speech left quite an impression.
“If you want to know Steve Davis, watch that testimony,” Sooners teammate Jimmy Littrell said. “It was very inspirational for a 20-, 21-year-old kid to say the things he said.
“It's pretty amazing to me.”
Oklahoma's 1975 media guide laid out a typical week of travel for Davis, a licensed Baptist preacher, during the winter.
On Sunday, he spoke in Wynnewood, followed by Monday and Tuesday events in Chickasha. Thursday, he spoke in Lincoln, Neb., then in New Orleans on Friday and Coalgate, Okla., on Saturday.
“I just see the good that results in it for all of the young people,” Davis told The Oklahoman's Ray Soldan.
Former teammate Joe Washington had grown closer to Davis over the past year or so after not being in contact much since they were teammates.
“From the moment he was born, he was destined to be an ordained minister and a Sooner,” Joe Washington said. “The only two songs he knew when he got here were ‘Amazing Grace' and ‘Boomer Sooner.'”
About a month before he spoke in Lubbock, Davis officiated the funeral of his high school coach at Sallisaw, Perry F. Lattimore.
“He said that was one of the hardest things he ever went through,” Lattimore's widow, Margaret Lattimore-Kenyon, said. “My husband mentioned that if something should happen, he wanted Steve to do the funeral.
“He was very, very valuable to all of us because he was just like family.”
Davis also co-officiated the wedding of Sooners' All-American guard John Roush.
Roush grew up Catholic in Colorado and hadn't experienced being around an Evangelical Christian.
“He was confronting everyone about the resurrected, living Christ,” Roush said. “I didn't know what that was but it affected me. I ended up giving my testimony. I never thought I'd wind up talking at the Baptist Student Union but he brought that out.”
Davis didn't, though, come off as looking down on anyone when he shared his beliefs, though, Washington said.
“He had an unbelievable faith but he didn't push it on anybody,” Washington said. “But he was always ready to spread the word when he needed to or when he had to.”
Mike Baldwin contributed to this story.