Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame: August 1, 1992
Class of 1992
Team, League Administrator
(Wittenberg College, Syracuse)
1963-1965 Oakland Raiders, 1966 American Football League, 1966-2011 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders
Born July 4, 1929, in Brockton, Massachusetts
The younger of Louis and Rose Davis' two sons, Al was born on July 4, 1929, in Brockton, Mass. The family moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., where Al's father became a prosperous clothing manufacturer. Both parents were strict disciplinarians. "If you came home from a game and had lost or played badly, there was just no room for it," older brother Jerry said. "Second place was nowhere."
At Erasmus Hall High School, Davis was a reserve on the basketball team. After one semester at Wittenberg College in Ohio, he transferred to Syracuse, where he waited on tables in the cafeteria. In athletics, he was cut from the varsity football team and ended up playing jayvee football and basketball.
Davis became a regular at Syracuse's varsity football practices, taking notes on every detail until the head coach discovered him and ordered him removed.
After graduating with a degree in English in 1950, Davis sought a football coaching position at Adelphi College in New York. Told by the head coach that there wasn't an opening, Davis took his case to the school president and emerged with an assistant's job. He parlayed that into the head-coaching job at Ft. Belvoir, Va., while serving in the Army. Davis then spent a year as a scout for the Baltimore Colts before returning to college football, as an assistant at The Citadel and then Southern California. In 1960, the Los Angeles Chargers hired him to work under offensive mastermind Sid Gillman as an offensive ends coach.
Al Davis is the only person to have served pro football in such varied capacities as (1) a player personnel assistant, (2) an assistant coach, (3) a head coach, (4) a general manager, (5) a league commissioner and (6) the principal owner and chief executive officer of an NFL team.
The longtime owner of the Oakland Raiders compiled an exceptional record since his first venture into the pro football world as player personnel man with the 1954 Baltimore Colts. Six years later, he made a permanent move to pro football as the ends coach for the American Football League's Los Angeles Chargers in their inaugural season.
In 1963, at the age of 33, he became the head coach and general manager of the Raiders, a team that had a miserable 9-33-0 record in its first three years. Davis led the 1963 Raiders to a 10-4 record and won unanimous AFL Coach of the Year acclaim.
After three years in which he compiled a 23-16-3 coaching record, he was named the AFL Commissioner in April 1966. Within eight weeks, the AFL and NFL announced a merger ending the costly inter-league war. Davis then returned to Oakland as managing general partner.
Born July 4, 1929, in Brockton, Massachusetts, Davis grew up in Brooklyn and first attended Wittenberg College and then Syracuse University where he was graduated with a degree in English. He immediately embarked on a coaching career first as the line coach at Adelphi College in 1950 and 1951 and then as the head coach of the U.S. Army team at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia in 1952 and 1953. After a year in Baltimore, he served as line coach and chief recruiter for The Citadel and then moved to the University of Southern California as line coach in 1957, 1958, and 1959.
Former Raiders owner
general manager, commissioner, team owner/chief executive officer
As AFL commissioner, forced quick merger with NFL, 1966
Davis-led Raiders had best record in pro sports, 1963-1991
Won Super Bowls XI, XV, XVIII
AFL Coach of the Year, 1963
Only person to serve in pros as personnel assistant, scout, assistant coach, head coach,
Has been chosen by a record eight Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees to present them at the Canton, Ohio ceremony