Al Davis Biography

Allen “Al” Davis, the legendary American football executive and coach, left an indelible mark on the sport. As the principal owner and general manager of the Oakland Raiders, he transformed a struggling franchise into a powerhouse through his innovative coaching strategies. Known for his brash actions and unwavering demand for victory, Davis took players who were considered outcasts and turned them into champions. He was a trailblazer in promoting equality, hiring minority coaches and becoming the first NFL owner to appoint an African-American head coach and a female chief executive. Davis’s legacy as a maverick and rebel will forever be remembered in the annals of football history.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: Allen Davis
  • Died At Age: 82
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Carol Davis
    • Father: Louis Davis
    • Mother: Rose Davis
    • Children: Mark Davis
  • Coaches
  • Sports Administrators
  • Died on: October 8, 2011
  • Place of Death: Oakland, California, United States
  • Cause of Death: Congestive Heart Failure
  • U.S. State: Massachusetts
  • More Facts
  • Education: Syracuse University

Childhood & Early Life

Allen Davis was born on July 4, 1929 in Brockton, Massachusetts, to Louis Davis and Rose. He had a younger brother Jerry. The family moved to Brooklyn in 1934. Davis attended Erasmus Hall High School and was a reserve in the school team. He picked up coaching techniques from Coach Al Badain. Davis graduated from high school in 1947 and enrolled at Wittenberg College in Ohio. However, he transferred to Syracuse University. While unsuccessful in his efforts to join the men’s basketball team, Davis became interested in football strategy.


Upon graduation in 1950 with a B.A in English, Davis sought a position on a college football coaching staff while pursuing a master’s degree. He was appointed coach at Adelphi University, Long Island. In 1952, he was inducted into the Army and became a coach for the football squad at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. After his discharge from the Army in 1954, Davis worked as a freelance scout for the Baltimore Colts of the NFL. He also worked as an assistant coach for The Citadel and the University of Southern California. Davis was eventually hired as the backfield coach for the Los Angeles Chargers of the AFL.

After the 1962 season, Davis was hired as the head coach and general manager of the Oakland Raiders. At 33, he became the youngest person in professional football history to hold the position. Davis implemented an aggressive offensive strategy called the “vertical game” and led the Raiders to their first winning record in franchise history. In 1966, he was named the American Football League Commissioner but resigned when the leagues announced their merger. Davis returned to the Oakland Raiders as a partner and head of football operations. Under his leadership, the Raiders became one of the most successful franchises in the NFL.

Major Achievements

With Davis as owner-manager, the Raiders won 13 division championships, one AFL championship, and three Super Bowls from 1967 to 1985. Davis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992 and received the NFL Players Association’s Retired Players Award of Excellence. He was also inducted into the NFL Alumni’s “Order of the Leather Helmet” in 1998.

Personal Life & Legacy

Davis died of heart failure on October 8, 2011. He was survived by his wife, Carol, and their only child, Mark, who became the Raiders’ managing general partner. Mark holds the majority of the team with his mother. Davis was known for his aggressive attitude and generosity in helping former players in need.

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