William E. Davis

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William E. Davis
Sport(s) Football
Biographical details
Born (1929-02-15) February 15, 1929 (age 88)
Playing career
1950 Colorado
Position(s) Halfback
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1962 Colorado (interim HC)
Head coaching record
Overall 2–8

William Eugene "Bud" Davis (born February 15, 1929)[1] is a former university president, Democratic politician, and head football coach. He was an interim head football coach for the Colorado Buffaloes for the 1962 season. He was later the President of Idaho State University and the University of New Mexico,[2] and Chancellor of the Oregon University System and Louisiana State University.

Davis is best known in Colorado for writing the book Glory Colorado! A history of the University of Colorado, 1858-1963, which was also his doctoral thesis and nearly 800 pages as a publication. As a sitting university president, he ran for the U.S. Senate in Idaho in 1972.

Early career[edit]

Davis graduated from Loveland High School in 1947 and enrolled at the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) to stay close to home and near his high school sweetheart, Pollyanne Peterson. As a freshman, he declared he wanted "to be the world's greatest football coach"[3] and chose a physical education major and English minor. He was a reserve football player on the varsity team. After graduating in 1951, he remained at the University as assistant to the dean of men. He resigned the position to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps.[3] The spring of his senior year he married Peterson.

In 1960, Davis completed his master's degree in education administration at the Colorado State College of Education in Greeley and became CU's alumni director while working on his doctoral degree in education.[4] After Sonny Grandelius left Colorado with NCAA sanctions, Davis was hired to be the football team's interim head coach on March 27, 1962.[5][6][7][8] He had no collegiate coaching experience, just five years as a high school head coach.[6][7]

The Buffaloes had just one win entering the finale at home on November 24, but pulled off an inspired 34–10 upset of heavily-favored Air Force at Folsom Field to finish at 2–8, the worst record in the program's 72-year history.[8][9][10][11] The eight-month Bud Davis era at Boulder ended that day with his post-game resignation.[10] In early 1963, Oklahoma assistant Eddie Crowder was hired on January 2,[8][12][13] awarded a five-year contract at $15,000 per year.[12]

Head coaching record[edit]

Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Colorado Buffaloes (Big Eight Conference) (1962)
1962 Colorado 2–8 1–6 7th
Colorado: 2–8 1–6
Total: 2–8

Glory Colorado![edit]

While working on his doctoral degree and coaching the football team Davis was writing his thesis. He received special permission from the doctoral thesis committee to bypass the standard format and write the historical narrative book about the history of the University of Colorado at Boulder until that point.[3] The name was chosen because the school song of the same name; which is set to the music of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and he felt captured the school spirit.[3] He acquired the bulk of information for the book from student published and local city newspapers. It was published by Fred Pruitt, founder of Pruitt Press Inc., who was also a journalism professor, in 1965 and offered to print it at no cost. The book has been called the "primary historical reference for the University" (of Colorado at Boulder).[3] The book is no longer in print and was sold canvas bound for $8. an index to supplement the text was later published and distributed by the Associated Alumni.


After receiving his doctoral degree in 1963, Davis left CU to become executive assistant to the president for student affairs at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. In 1972, while president at Idaho State in Pocatello, Davis won the Democratic nomination for the open U.S. Senate seat in Idaho.[14][15] He was defeated in the general election by Republican Congressman Jim McClure.[16][17]

United States Senate elections in Idaho (Class II): Results 1972
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
  1972   William E. "Bud" Davis 140,913 45.5% Jim McClure 161,804 52.3% Jean L. Stafford American 6,885 2.2%


He was the President of Idaho State University (1965–75) and University of New Mexico (1975–82),[2][19] Chancellor of the Oregon University System (1982–89) and Louisiana State University (1989–96). He has published other works, including Miracle on the Mesa / A History of the University of New Mexico, 1889–2003.[20] He currently is on the board of directors for Sunrise Bank of Albuquerque since 2005.[21]

Glory Colorado! Volume 2[edit]

Davis was commissioned by CU to write Volume 2 in 1999. It would cover the period from 1963 (the end of the first book) to 2000. Davis wrote the book pro bono writing a majority of the book in the summer of 1999 while on break from Louisiana State University.

Awards and honors[edit]


  • "Universities perform miracles. They change lives. The University of Colorado made it possible for me to have a life of wild adventure."[3]


  1. ^ Davis, William E. (William Eugene), 1929- entry at Library of Congress
  2. ^ a b Stahlberg, Mark (March 13, 1982). "Davis accepts state chancellor's job". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). p. 1A. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Allison Groff (1999-07-29). "Alum Bud Davis takes on Glory Colorado! Vol. 2". CU.edu. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  4. ^ "CU Distinguished Alumni by Category". Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  5. ^ "Alumni leader new Colorado football coach". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. March 28, 1962. p. 8. 
  6. ^ a b "Davis named grid coach at Colorado". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. March 28, 1962. p. 2B. 
  7. ^ a b Meakins, Gene (March 28, 1962). "Colorado coach seeks team support". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). UPI. p. B7. 
  8. ^ a b c "Colorado Football Media Guide" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  9. ^ "Colorado stuns Air Force, 34-10". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. November 25, 1962. p. 9. 
  10. ^ a b "Davis resignation told following win". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. November 25, 1962. p. 6B. 
  11. ^ "Plati-'tudes". CUBuffs.com. 2003-09-18. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  12. ^ a b "Crowder signs 5-year Colorado U. grid pact". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). UPI. January 2, 1963. p. 6B. 
  13. ^ "Crowder names 3 assistants". Deseret News. (Salt Lake City, Utah). UPI. January 4, 1963. p. B7. 
  14. ^ "McClure, Davis are rival Senate nominees". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. August 9, 1972. p. 1. 
  15. ^ "Bud Davis for Senate". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). advertisement. November 5, 1972. p. 2. 
  16. ^ "Ref Notes Data". University of Toronto Data Library Service. 2001-07-10. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  17. ^ "Congressional winners heading to D.C. soon". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Associated Press. November 9, 1972. p. 1. 
  18. ^ "Office of the Clerk: Election statistics". United States House of Representatives. Retrieved March 22, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Former Idaho State president accepts job in Oregon system". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. March 14, 1982. p. 4B. 
  20. ^ "UNMPress Spring 06 Calatlog" (PDF). UNMPress.com. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  21. ^ Steven A. Marcum (2005). "2005 Annual Report" (PDF). CapitalBanCorp.com. Retrieved 2007-01-09. 
  22. ^ "Davis Field". Idaho State University athletics. Retrieved April 1, 2013. 
Academic offices
Preceded by
Donald E. Walker
President of Idaho State University
Succeeded by
Charles Kegel
Preceded by
Ferrel Heady
President of University of New Mexico
Succeeded by
John Perovich
Preceded by
E. Grady Bogue
Chancellor of Louisiana State University
Succeeded by
William L. Jenkins
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ralph R. Harding
Democratic Party nominee, United States Senator (Class 2) from Idaho
1972 (lost)
Succeeded by
Dwight Jensen