Keith Davis

It takes drive and determination to reach the top of professional sports. That lesson is something former Bearkat football player Keith Davis knows all about. As part of the 2001 Southland Conference Champion football team, Davis earned All-Southland honors and All-American honors as a safety for Sam Houston State University, before becoming a Dallas Cowboy from 2002 to 2008.

It has been 17 years since Davis’ time on the football field as a Bearkat, and yet, he has tackled another obstacle. Davis recently walked across the stage of the Johnson Coliseum and received his Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology.

I always tell my kids to finish what they start.“So I would feel like a hypocrite if I didn’t come back and finish what I started back in 1997.

— Keith Davis

Davis’ walk across the stage also fulfilled an important promise to his mother from years ago.

“I always said I was going to make it to the NFL and take care of her,” he said. “But she always pushed me further and told me ‘If that is your goal that is great, but I don’t care if you make it the NFL or not. I really want you to graduate from college.’ So this feels even sweeter to keep that promise.”

While he has always been a proud Bearkat, Davis explained that becoming a graduate only added to his love for SHSU.

“I have always been a Bearkat through and through and claimed Sam Houston State, but now I truly feel like a part of the alumni,” Davis said.

Davis was able to complete his degree online; an option that was important for his unique situation. After suffering concussions and having nerve damage still in his knee today, being able to take classes at his own pace was a significant help.

“To be in the comfort of my own home was huge for me, where I don’t have to sit down for long periods of time which is hard for me from my playing days,” Davis said. “I am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to take classes online and to finish up.”

Davis encourages others to always finish what you start, saying it is hard to replace that satisfying feeling of fulfilling a promise to his mother.

“At the end of the day, I would encourage everybody to go back and get their degree because it’s a wonderful feeling to finish and accomplish what you set out to do from the beginning,” Davis said. “For me to be here today, to know that I fulfilled the promise that I owed my mother, that is special.

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