An African-American honors student who became a star on the 1971 high school football team mythologized in the movie “Remember the Titans,” Davis earned his place as a starter more through hard work than talent.
But what a starter. Davis earned spots on the all-city, all-district and all-regional teams. Every night before a game, teammates say, he prayed that nobody he covered would catch a touchdown pass. Only one guy ever did.
Davis won an academic scholarship to Duke University, then walked onto the football field and nabbed a full athletic scholarship.
Not that his life was charmed. Davis grew up in a housing project with two parents working for minimum wage, so he started taking jobs at age 12.
Besides work and football, Davis earned an MBA and went on to join the company that became GlaxoSmith Kline. By the time he died this summer at age 51, Davis had risen to finance manager in the genetics research division.
He strove for every bit of his success.
“If he didn’t know something, he found out,” says high school and college teammate Earl Cook. “If he was behind, he caught up. And if he was ahead, he pulled up people behind him.”
—Adapted from “Lee Roy Davis, 51; Player on 1971 Titans Team,” Patricia Sullivan, The Washington Post.