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Al Davis of Oakland Raiders Named AFL Coach of the Year

Dec. 18, 1963 - Al Davis, a dynamic young man who lifted the Oakland Raiders from the cellar to a pennant-contending role in one year, has been named Coach of the Year in the American Football League by a panel of 24 sportswriters and sportscasters for The Associated Press. Davis, 34, moved to Oakland and a sorry situation last Jan. 19 after spending three years as an assistant to Sid Gillman, San Diego coach. Taking over as both coach and general manager, Davis quickly signed Art Powell, a top pass receiver who had played out his option with the old New York Titans. Under Davis, the Oakland club made a dramatic recovery from a sorry 1-13 season in 1962. Last year’s team had lost 13 in a row until it beat Boston in its finale. Going into the final week of the 1963 season, the Raiders (9-4) still had a chance to tie San Diego for the Western Division championship. “I think the most important thing was the receptiveness of the players to our approach to football,” said Davis. “Our approach was a dedication to the desire to build an image we all would be proud of on and off the field. We had a lot of players who decided they had the same goal in mind.” In addition to the acquisition of Powell, Davis switched Bo Roberson, the Olympic broad jump silver medalist, from running back to flanker. He lured defensive back Joe Krakeski out of retirement and helped quarterback Tom Flores find his way back after missing a season due to a lung infection. “After we won our first two, we lost four in a row,” said Davis. “They were all close games. The one thing we never did was panic. We just had to keep going because we would improve as we get to know each other and the system. We think we’ll improve with experience in 1964. Being together a year, knowing each other better, intelligence, confidence will help.”



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