Al Davis Oakland Raiders
"I always wanted to take an organization and make it the best in sports. I admired the New York Yankees of George Weiss for their power, intimidation, fear, and big people. I admired the Brooklyn Dodgers under Branch Rickey for their speed and player development. I felt there was no reason the two approaches couldn’t be combined into one powerful organization.”
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.