Funeral Set for Former OU Quarterback Killed in Jet Crash
The funeral for former Oklahoma quarterback and Sallisaw native Steve Davis will be held at 1 p.m., Monday, March 25 at First Baptist Church in Tulsa, according to an obituary.
Monday’s service will be followed by a private graveside service.
Davis, 60, was killed when a small plane he traveling in crashed into a neighborhood in South Bend, Indiana Sunday (March 17).
Wesley Caves, 58, of Tulsa, was also killed. Funeral plans for Caves are pending. Jim Rogers and Christopher Evans, two other men aboard the small jet, were hospitalized with injuries.
The Hawker Beechcraft 390 was attempting to land at the South Bend Regional Airport when the pilot radioed for help, saying he was experiencing technical issues. The plane was attempting to circle back around to the city’s regional airport after a failed landing attempt when it crashed into a row of single-story homes Sunday afternoon.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.
Davis was well-known in eastern Oklahoma as a football legend.
“He’s one of our forefathers of our football family,” said Craig Benson, Sallisaw High School football coach. “So to lose him is a tragic loss for our family.”
Benson remembers watching Davis play when they were young.
“He was my idol,” he said. “He was a guy I looked up to.”
The football field at Sallisaw High School is named after the late Coach Perry Lattimore. His wife, Margaret, remains close to the Davis family.
“I knew Steve from the time he had a pacifier in his mouth,” she said.
She says Davis always frequently visited their home even after he went on to play at OU.
“And they would sit for hours, he and the coach, and talk about football,” she said.
Coach Lattimore even offered advice to Davis when he was redshirted during his sophomore season.
“He said, ‘Son, I cannot foresee the future,’ but he said, ‘Great athletes are challenged by tough times,’” said Margaret. “He said, ‘And you have been challenged. Now you go back to OU and you show them what you’re made out of.’”
Davis’ memory will live on in their community.
“Steve has been an inspiration to a lot of young, young, athletes growing up,” Margaret said. “He was their hero. As of yesterday, he became a legend.”
And future football players at Sallisaw High School will be influenced by Davis thanks to a motto he told Benson years ago.
“’Dream your dreams,’ and I still use that phrase with our players today,” Benson said.
Sallisaw High School plans to honor the local football legend at a game this fall.
Davis was the Sooners’ quarterback from 1972 to 1976 and was named the Offensive MVP for the 1976 Orange Bowl when the Sooners won their 5th national championship.
Davis led the Sooners to a 32-1-1 record as the team’s starting quarterback. Oklahoma won the national championship in 1974 and 1975, with Davis at the helm.
Davis went on to become a commentator for CBS Sports college football in the 1980s.