At Sam Houston, Davis was three-year starter, two-time All-Southland selection, conference defensive player of the year and a I-AA All-American. Davis went on to a seven-year career with the Dallas Cowboys. Four of those seasons he spent as a captain play special teams and safety. In 2002, Davis suited up for the Dallas Cowboys, fulfilling half of his promise. On Friday afternoon at Johnson Coliseum, 21 years after leaving Italy, Davis walked across the stage and received his degree. That part came true for Davis. After going undrafted in the 2002 NFL draft, Davis signed with the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent. He fought through getting cut four times that first year, to eventually earn a spot as a starting safety and was voted team captain his final four seasons in Dallas. Davis has stayed active supporting the Bearkats, attending games regularly, including getting out on the road in North Dakota last season. But he said being a graduate now adds a little something extra to calling himself a Bearkat. “For me to be here today, knowing that I fulfilled that promise, means so much,” Davis said. “She said, Keith, son, that’s beautiful and I want you to go to the NFL,” Davis said of that day sitting out on the porch. “But I want you to graduate more than anything, she said. I want you to get your degree and that will make me happier than anything.” But that was only part of the promise to his mother. “Sitting on the porch that summer before going to Sam Houston State, I told my mom I was going to make it,” Davis said. “I told her I was going to make it to the NFL and take care of her.” “That was a big motivation for me,” Davis said about getting his degree before his son Shawn. “I have talked to my kids about the importance of finishing what you start. I had tried a few times before to finish my degree, and didn’t follow through. So getting it before him was a big motivation for me as well.” After his football career was done, Davis has seen his oldest son get a football scholarship at Texas Tech and will get his degree next week. Courtesy: Sam Houston State AthleticsHUNTSVILLE, Texas – When Keith Davis left Italy, Texas to start school and play football for Sam Houston he made a promise to his mom he would play in the NFL. She asked for one more promise – to get his degree. So when Davis walked across the stage and was greeted by university president Dana Hoyt, confirming his completion of his Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, it was understandable the grin was a bit bigger than most. “I’ve always been a Bearkat, but now being alumni it adds a little more meaning,” he said. “Before this, yeah, I was a Bearkat, but I just played football here. Now that I do have my degree it feels even better and I’m proud to say I’m a Sam Houston State alum.”
“The Southland Conference is thrilled to partner with Van Wagner, and we enthusiastically look forward to working with Mike Palisi and the Van Wagner executive team on developing a successfully beneficial relationship for many years to come,” said Southland Commissioner Tom Burnett. “Further, we greatly appreciate the diligent and professional work of Dan Gale of Leona Marketing Group, that represented the Southland in expertly evaluating the marketplace on our behalf and guiding us to this point.” About Southland ConferenceFounded in 1963, the Southland Conference sponsors 19 Division I sports, including FCS football, and serves more than 4,200 student-athletes at its 13 member institutions in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. The membership of the Southland encompasses nearly 140,000 current students and an alumni base of 800,000. The collective group of athletic programs serves a local population base of nearly 14 million people, and the league boasts six television markets in the Top 100 of the U.S., including Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, New Orleans and Little Rock. The Southland Conference is located in Frisco, Texas, one of America’s fastest-growing cities and recently named by Money Magazine as the No. 1 Place to Live in the U.S. Sports organizations affiliated with the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and Major League Soccer are also headquartered in Frisco. Each January, the Southland annually serves as the host conference for the NCAA Division I Football Championship Game. NEW YORK – The Southland Conference has agreed to a multi-year marketing and sponsorship sales agreement with Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment. As the Conference’s exclusive agent, Van Wagner will negotiate and manage select multimedia rights beginning July 1st, as well as serve as the conference’s corporate sponsorship representative. Since 2014, Van Wagner has become a leader in college sports marketing and was developed to represent the sponsorship or multimedia rights for multiple schools and athletic conferences, including the America East Conference, Big South Conference, Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, Colonial Athletic Association, Western Athletic Conference, and the West Coast Conference, as well as Arizona State National Sales, Canisius College, East Tennessee State University, Furman University, Florida International University, Georgia State University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Liberty University, Longwood University, Loyola University Maryland, Loyola Marymount University, Niagara University, Pepperdine University, Samford University, University of San Francisco, Rider University, Siena College, Saint Joseph’s University, Saint Peter’s University, Santa Clara University, Stony Brook University, The University of Texas at El Paso, Towson University, Valparaiso University and The College of William & Mary. The Southland Conference, headquartered in Frisco, Texas, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013 and sponsors 19 championship sports at the NCAA Division I level. Its members hail from Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas and include Abilene Christian University, University of Central Arkansas, Houston Baptist University, University of the Incarnate Word, Lamar University, McNeese State University, University of New Orleans, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Sam Houston State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, Stephen F. Austin State University and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. “Van Wagner is excited to work with the Southland Conference, with nearly 60 years of history, to build a sponsorship and marketing program that works to the benefit of all Southland stakeholders including its 13 member institutions and their student-athletes, fans and greater communities,” said Van Wagner Executive Vice President Mike Palisi. “We look forward to working with Commissioner Tom Burnett, who has led the Southland Conference with distinction for the better part of two decades, and Senior Associate Commissioner Jenny McGhee on building a dynamic sponsorship program that is reflective of the mission and collective value of its member institutions.” Together with Southland Conference leadership, Van Wagner will enhance the fan experience at Conference events while working toward a year-round brand presence for sponsors, member institutions and their student-athletes and fans through sponsorship sales, promotions, event production, and marketing initiatives.