Originally created 10/16/00

Owner of Raiders to speak



Eccentric Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, the man who drafted punter Ray Guy in 1973, will help honor Guy as the keynote speaker for the inaugural Augusta Sports Gala scheduled Dec. 12 at the Radisson Riverfront Hotel.

Much of that evening will be devoted to presenting the Ray Guy Award, given to college football's top punter and named in honor of the Thomson native.

The Greater Augusta Sports Council, creators and handlers of the award, will make the announcement formal at a 4 p.m. news conference today.

"This is a major coup to secure Mr. Davis as a speaker during the season," said Tammy Stout, the Council's executive director. "He normally does not make any appearances once the football season begins.

"But because of his loyalty to Ray, we're thankful he's decided to make an exception to his own rule."

Davis's relationship with Guy dates to 1973, when Davis chose the punter in the first round of that year's draft. Guy played 13 years in silver and black, helping the Raiders to three Super Bowl titles.

Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992, Davis's affiliation with the Raiders began in 1963, when he joined the fledgling AFL franchise as its coach. He briefly became AFL commissioner in 1966 and helped merge the league with its NFL rival.

Davis, 71, is the NFL's longest tenured owner.

The Ray Guy Award is in its first year, and the winner will be determined by a vote of football writers, coaches and professional punters. A watch list of 35 punters has been compiled, and that list will by whittled down to 10 semifinalists by Nov. 8. The three finalists will be announced Nov. 28.

Individual and group banquet tickets will be available to the public around Nov. 1, Stout said. Those wanting to make early reservations may contact the Sports Council's office at 722-8326.

Reach Rick Dorsey at (706) 823-3219.