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Army Legend, Heisman Trophy Winner Davis Dies
LA QUINTA, Calif. (March 9) - Glenn Davis, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1946 and helped lead Army to three national championships, died Wednesday. He was 80.
Davis died of complications from prostate cancer at his home in La Quinta, located about 110 miles east of Los Angeles, said his son, Ralph Davis.
Glenn Davis will be buried at West Point, near his former coach, Col. Earl "Red" Blaik, according to his son.
Davis starred as a halfback for Army when it won national titles in 1944 and 1945. The Cadets and Notre Dame played to a scoreless tie in 1946, and split the national championship.
Davis teamed with fullback Felix "Doc" Blanchard as one of the most heralded backfields in the history of college football. He was known as "Mr. Outside" to Blanchard's "Mr. Inside."
Davis scored 59 touchdowns and gained 4,129 yards in rushing and receiving in his college career.
He still holds NCAA records for most yards gained per play in one season, averaging 11.5 yards per carry in 1945; 8.3 career yards per carry; and he and Blanchard share the record for most touchdowns (97) and points (585) scored by teammates in a career.
In 1946, Davis won the Heisman and was voted male athlete of the year by The Associated Press.
"He was one of the best," said former Army guard Joe Steffy, who played with Davis in 1945 and 1946. "He left an impression. The first time I met him, I was in awe. What he meant to the military academy and the game of college football needs no explanation."
In 1944, after a famous season-ending win over Navy, Gen. Douglas MacArthur even took time out from his war duties to send this wire: "The greatest of all Army teams ... We have stopped the war to celebrate your magnificent success. MacArthur."
A telephone call to Blanchard's home near San Antonio, Texas, was answered by his granddaughter, who said he had already gone to bed. Blanchard won the Heisman in 1945.
After serving his military obligation, Davis joined the Los Angeles Rams, playing on the team that won the 1951 NFL championship before a knee injury cut his career short in 1952.
Renowned for his lightning speed, Davis was coming off a record-breaking career at Bonita High School in LaVerne, Calif., where he scored an amazing 256 points during his senior year, when he was persuaded to play for Army in 1943.
The 5-9, 170-pounder became an instant star. Davis scored his first Army touchdown on a 4-yard run in a 27-0 season-opening win over Villanova, threw a touchdown pass in a 42-0 win over Colgate, ran 82 yards for a score in a 52-0 shellacking of Columbia, and returned a kick 75 yards for a touchdown in a 39-7 victory over Yale.
"He was the fastest man in football," Steffy said. "He was a great athlete, believe me."
Davis and Blanchard were national sports heroes, appearing on the cover of Time magazine in November 1945. Despite the accolades, Davis over the years showed a certain modesty about his prowess.
"I wasn't the kind of guy who liked to pick the newspaper up to find out how I was doing. I just did my thing the best I could," Davis told the AP in 1995.
"We played offense and defense and it wasn't an individual accomplishment. We all won or lost together," he said in 1999.
Davis, who also lettered in baseball, track and basketball, visited West Point for the final time in October to be inducted into Army's Sports Hall of Fame.
Born in Claremont, Davis attended college with his late twin brother, Ralph, and later worked as a special events director for the Los Angeles Times for nearly 30 years after leaving football. Several years ago, he donated his Heisman to his high school.
Besides his son, Davis is survived by his third wife, Yvonne Ameche Davis, and a stepson, John S. Slack III from his second marriage. Davis' first marriage to Oscar-nominated actress Terry Moore ended in divorce after 14 months.
Davis, who also briefly dated Elizabeth Taylor, met Yvonne at the 1996 Heisman dinner. She was previously married to 1954 Heisman winner Alan Ameche of Wisconsin.
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Another piece of history gone. He was a football legend. RIP Mr. Outside.
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