The legend has retired
THE UNIVERSITY said goodbye to Darrel "Mouse" Davis for the second time this past June. The former 1970s head football coach had served as offensive coordinator under good friend Jerry Glanville since 2007.
Davis, an ageless 76, made a difference these past two years. He helped the Vikings lead the nation in passing and give top performances in scoring and total offense. But his impact as coach between 1975 and 1980 is the stuff of legend.
Davis first came to the University after coaching for almost 20 years at Portland-area high schools. The Vikings gave him the opportunity to perfect the pass-oriented run-and-shoot offense, a style developed by an Ohio coach but made famous by Davis.
"This was my first chance to test the offense at the college level. At every level the defense gets more sophisticated," says Davis. "This was a step up in the defenses we faced and it helped me strengthen my offensive approach."
Davis arrived at PSU at a time of crisis, he recalls. "They were talking about discontinuing football. They (then-president Joseph Blumel) kept the program, and we led the nation in total offense for the next five years. It put us on the map and really confirmed my confidence in the offense."
UNDER DAVIS, the PSU program went 42-24 over six seasons, averaged 38 points and nearly 500 yards of offense per game. PSU led the nation in scoring three times, and the unique passing game made stars out of quarterbacks June Jones, who played with and coached the NFL Atlanta Falcons, and Neil Lomax, NFL all-star with the St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals.
Although his career has taken him to the NFL, Canadian Football League, now defunct USFL, Arena Football League, and the WLAF, Davis still remembers such PSU highlights as the 105 points scored against Delaware State—a team which sent three players to the NFL—in a game where Lomax only played two quarters.
Under Davis' direction, the Vikings set 20 NCAA Division 1-AA offensive records and were the NCAA's all-time point producers in 1980, scoring 541 points in 11 games and averaging 49.2 points per game, 434.9 yards passing, and 504.3 yards of total offense.
"I coached some great kids," says Davis. "They'll come up to me today and say, 'Remember me? I played for you in such and such.' That's the reward for a coaching career. Of course, they're all in their 50s now, and I'll think, did that old guy really play football?" says Davis with his legendary loud laugh, which still can be heard from one end of the football field to the other.
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