O.K. "Buddy" Davis
The Louisiana Tech Athletics Hall of Famer, Louisiana Sports Hall of Famer and former Distinguished Alum of the College of Liberal Arts earns the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Football Writers Association of America.
Hometown: Ruston, (Ruston High '64)
Now resides in: Ruston, LA
Degree: Journalism '69
What have you enjoyed most about your career? The advantage of having done it for so long (sports editor of The Ruston Daily Leader for 50ish years) is that I've made so many friends and been able to cover so man outstanding athletes and coaches and teams. I covered and went to school with (Terry) Bradshaw. Then Bert Jones. You got Doug Williams. Karl Malone. You can go down the line for a long time. The years go by but I'm still writing about them and formed lasting friendships.
What's your career highlight? That's tough because every day is a highlight around here. (The late LSHOF writer) Jerry Byrd Sr. used to tell me, 'Buddy, if I could have one job besides mine, I'd have yours because of what and who you've been able to cover.' At the time you're covering these things and people and writing, you don't realize that all of this is happening. You're just doing your job and moving on to the next thing. Eddie Robinson's grandson spent an hour with me Wednesday. He said, 'Buddy, who do you have in your address book?' The first name I called up was George Steinbrenner. Scotty Robertson. I still have my old buddy Tommy Spinks in here. But then you go on to Bradshaw, Bert, Dub (Jones), Karl, Archie Manning…It's crazy.
What was the most difficult part of being a one-man sports staff at a paper that comes out six days out of seven? That I would find myself being twisted in two or three different ways. Can I cover everything and do it right? Having grown up in a military family, with my dad in the Air Force, I'd always learned to be punctual and get things done. So I tried to do everything, which is impossible. Let's say Tech and Grambling are playing at the same time. Or different high schools are. Well, I'd worry myself to death about whether I could cover it all in the right way and give everyone their proper due.
The first story you wrote for money: I called up The Sporting News and told them about a blonde-headed guy from Louisiana Tech who was a pretty good quarterback – 'and how about I write a story on it?' The gentleman I talked to was Lowell Reienbaugh; he said go ahead and do it, so that story on Terry Bradshaw was the first one. I got the check and kept it for two or three years. It was probably $50, max. But that was a big deal. And the first time I got one from Sports Illustrated, that's when I really freaked out; it said "Times Incorporated" on it.
What was the key to your getting started? I was blessed to be raised by two very good parents who encouraged me to do something in life that I love to do.
What was your reaction to your most recent well-deserved honor, being named the recipient of the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award by the FWAA? If I have looked at (FWAA executive director) Steve Richardson's email about notifying me of this Lifetime Achievement Award, I have looked at it seemingly 10 times over. I am thinking, 'They had to type in the wrong name some way.' Just too difficult to comprehend, but suffice it to say I am extremely honored and humbled. As long as I can remember, back during my days as a young sports scribe coming out of Louisiana Tech University's journalism department, I've been sending in my FWAA dues, reading the Fifth Down, voting on All-American teams, looking forward to receiving my directory and keeping up with my fellow members. Hard to believe that the years since I mailed in that first membership dues have sprinted by faster than Lamar Jackson making it to the end zone again. I extend a heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the FWAA and all who were responsible for making this honor possible.