About the Author
Author, K. Coralee Burch, Syracuse U. '64, also Ph. D., published extensively articles for magazines. While working on an article celebrating the Ernie Davis and the Heisman Trophy, she made a lifelong commitment to tell Ernie's entire story. She is an artist, writer, college professor and owner of a winery. The following is part of her introduction to the book about Ernie: We were terribly proud of our high school, EFA, Elmira Free Academy. We knew from the beginning we were really special, but it was Ernie Davis who brought it home to us. I was of the class of 1960 and Ernie was of the class of 1958. His was the only class that didn't have a Burch in it the year I was a freshman. My sisters and I always attracted a crowd that year, three girls in high school all together, freshman, sophomore and senior. The boys (and girls) knew they could come to our house and always find a welcome, not just from us, but from our Mom and Dad who had brought us up with as much love and as little prejudice as was possible in that post World War II era. My older sister and brother were both married with children at that time. My sophomore year I made cheerleader, the year that Ernie led EFA to the state basketball championship. When I went to practice in our small school gymnasium, Ernie was always there, before all the others, shooting baskets. He would call me over and teach me to shoot baskets. There was no one in that school or that city who did not believe that Ernie was their special friend just as I had. And it was this quality about Ernie, not the fact that he was one of the greatest athletes to live, nor the fact that he was the first Black to win the Heisman Trophy, nor the sad fact that he died shortly afterward of acute leukemia, that he remained in the hearts and minds of all who had had that one moment of contact with him. That moment left a burning vibrant impression, bringing tears to their eyes 10 years after his death of 1963. I was at Syracuse University the year Ernie died. He was on campus just weeks before his death and still took the time to single people out and make them feel special.