Oakland Raiders principal owner Al Davis passed away Saturday, the team announced. He was 82.
Davis helped shape the NFL as we know it today, playing an integral role in the AFL-NFL merger in 1970. A versatile talent, he goes down in history as the only person to work as a personnel assistant, scout, assistant coach, head coach, commissioner, general manager and team owner/CEO.
“He was an iconic figure in the history of professional football and built a truly legendary franchise with the Raiders,” said USC coach Lane Kiffin, who served as the Raiders coach from 2007-to-2008, in a statement.
Davis also served as an offensive line coach at USC from 1957-to-1959.
Moreover, Davis built the Raiders into the international brand it is today. Under his guidance, the Raiders won three Super Bowls and five AFC titles.
Although he served as an assistant for the Trojans, his most recent connection to USC is Kiffin, whom he hired in 2007 as the youngest head coach in franchise history. Davis fired Kiffin after 20 games, calling the coach a “flat-out liar” in a press conference where he explained his decision.
Despite the ugly divorce, Kiffin spoke highly of Davis on Saturday.
“I was very saddened this morning to learn of the passing of Al Davis,” Kiffin said. “I consider myself fortunate to have known him and to have been a part of that Raiders history. Even though our relationship did not end the way I would have liked, I have nothing but the greatest respect for Mr. Davis and I truly appreciate the opportunity he afforded me and so many young coaches, players and staff.”