A Halo for a Helmet, the official family approved biography of Ernie Davis.
Ernie Davis was more than a sports figure or icon; he was one of the most inspirational athletes to live, but unfortunately died at the young age of 23. Ernie, a star of Syracuse football in the late 50s and early 60s went on to be the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy.
K Coralee Burch, Ph. D. S.U. ’64 is his official family appointed biographer. She wrote a film on Ernie’s life that was never produced and a book “A Halo for a Helmet” that was published in 2008 after over 35 years of interviews with Ernie’s teammates, friends, family and others. This is the ultimate story of Ernie’s life by his high school and college classmate, Coralee.
Coralee’s original goal was to try to understand how a person could arrive at the excellence, ethical stature, and admiration that followed Ernie from his high school years on. It was clear it required more than simply athletic prowess.
The book brings out the racial atmosphere of that period along with the human but outstanding character of this young man. When Ernie was graduating from high school, it was said that the students so admired and loved him, they would have picked up the high school and moved it across the street to his home, if he so desired.
Ben Schwartzwalder cried after showing films of Ernie’s achievements to Coralee, saying, “…now he wears a Halo for a Helmet”, the title she then chose for his story. Art Modell, turned in his chair and pointed to a picture of Ernie on the wall behind him in the Cleveland Stadium and told Coralee that whenever he confronted problems that seemed too difficult, he simply turned and asked himself what Ernie would have done in that case.
The movie “The Express” has brought Ernie back into the limelight, the book, “A Halo for a Helmet” tells his entire story from birth to death, with details found nowhere else. Ernie’s story is a story of an era that documents the struggles of the period and shows how one young man found a way to meet every obstacle with valor: even his death.
“A Halo for a Helmet” can be found on Amazon and is available for Kindle and soon for Nook or ordered from the author’s email; firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. K. Coralee Burch is also available for booksignings, lectures, or inspirational school talks.