He finished fifth in the 1984 Heisman trophy voting while at Texas Christian University, and spent nine years as an NFL running back. But when Bishop Dunne Catholic School athletic director and head football coach KENNETH DAVIS looks back on his success, he is most proud of his high school days as a Temple Wildcat. Davis helped lead the team to its first-ever state championship in 1979, and the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame will honor him this month as an inductee.
How did you react to the Hall of Fame news?
I was very surprised. When the gentleman from the Hall of Fame first told me, I really couldn’t talk to him — I had tears well up in my eyes — and he told me he’d call me back later when I got myself together.
When did you play for the Temple Wildcats?
I graduated from Temple High School in 1981. I was a three-year starter for them — three years on defense and two on offense.
Did you know then that you would climb to such great heights?
I think a lot of people always told me I had the opportunity to go on, but it’s something that you just don’t know — if you prepare for it and work for it, it’s something that’s in your hands.
You rushed for 1,611 yards in one season at TCU, and held on to that school record until Ladanian Tomlinson rushed for 1,850 in 1999. Was it bittersweet to come that close to the final Heisman selection?
I was very, very excited and very happy at what I accomplished in college. Those were great days, great times and incredible memories.
And you went on to play professional football?
I got drafted by Green Bay in 1986, their first pick in the second round, and played three years in Green Bay and six years in Buffalo. I played in four AFC championships, and every year I played for Buffalo, we were in the playoffs. I have six conference titles and four AFC championships [from four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in 1990-93].
That’s pretty impressive.
For a little bitty guy from a small town, it is.
Do you have a moment that stands out from your NFL years?
I would have to think that some of my greater memories were my high school days. It was a dream come true. One day I was at home, a junior in high school, and we were in the dining room, and my dad said to me, ‘I would like to see you play one down in the NFL,’ and I ended up playing nine years. And my mom said, ‘I would like to see you graduate college.’ I was able to accomplish both things in my life.
And both resulted from your high school football career.
Without a doubt. I think I probably had the greatest high school coach [Bob McQueen, Texas High School Football Hall of Fame Class of 2006], and a tremendous community and tremendous teammates. Blue-front white-back pants, and walk in that stadium and hear the crowd go on … 48 minutes to play, a lifetime to remember — that’s such a true statement.