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Ernie Davis, the 1961 Heisman winner from Syracuse, died of leukemia at age 23. SI writer William Nack looked at the life of Davis 26 years later.
COACH Ben Schwartzwalder recruited Davis tirelessly, with the help of [Jim] Brown. Says Brown, "Ernie made it beautiful for that era of championship guys. Dynamite dudes, black guys, came to Syracuse after Ernie. Floyd Little and Jim Nance and others. It was fantastic. They could go there without losing their dignity. I was fighting every day at Syracuse to hold on to my dignity. I broke through, but Ernie created the new era. Ernie was Ben's man. Schwartzwalder loved him." They all did, from the moment he hit campus and first suited up for freshman football. In all his 25 years as a college coach, Schwartzwalder says, he never met another player like him. "Ernie was just like a puppy dog, friendly and warm and kind," he says. "He had that spontaneous goodness about him. He radiated enthusiasm."
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Simon Bruty (Bolt)
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