FRED PAUL DAVIS “Coach Davis”, a longtime wrestling coach, passed away Friday, July 24th, 2020. He was 86.

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Fred was born in Waldo, Arkansas February 16th, 1934 to Fred Paul Davis and Emma Lucille Wyman.

Fred was a three-time All-American at Oklahoma A&M from 1954-56. In addition, he captured the Individual NCAA Wrestling Championship in 1955, second place in 1956, and fourth place in 1954.

After he closed out his successful collegiate career, he started teaching which was a real passion and love of Fred’s and at a young age he helped open McLain High School in Tulsa and started the wrestling program.

In 1964, Fred left his home state of Oklahoma to assume the head coaching position at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He spent 20 years at the helm of the Cougar wrestling program where he coached 18 All-Americans and 59 Western Athletic Conference champions. BYU claimed the conference championship in 15 of his 20 seasons, and it finished runner-up four times.

BYU had its best finish in program history in 1973 when Fred guided the Cougars to fourth place at the NCAA Championships. He was honored as the NCAA Coach of the Year for his efforts. That same year he served as president of the National Wrestling Coaches Association.

BYU finished sixth in 1978, its only other top-10 finish in school history. Fred resigned from the helm of the BYU program in 1984 so that he could return to Tulsa and spend time with his aging mother.

He returned to teaching and took over the wrestling program at Bishop Kelley High School in 1984. Fred coached five state champions during his tenure at Bishop Kelley and led the Red Comets to a state runner-up finish in 1986. Fred retired from coaching and teaching in 1999.

In 2003 he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Fred was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Eva, Greta and Libby; and stepdaughter, Desiree. Fred is survived by his wife Deon of 36 years. Children, Tannaca (Monte) Wright, DaNette (Lynn) Aziere and Fred P. (Nicole) Davis III. Stepchildren, Sandy, Bobbi, Jenny and Mandy. Sister, Sue Berg, Grandchildren, Fred, Cole, ReAnnon, Kelly, Corby, Casey, Shane, Zack, Dovey, Daphne, Daniel, Dunkin, Emily, Lindsay, Isaac and Samuel.

Fred will be remembered for his kind and patient ways, his contagious laugh, funny expressions and stories, his tenacity, for being the person who looked out for others first, fairness, love for westerns, big heart, strong voice, work ethic, love for his family and friends, class, incredible tan, sweet tooth, long bike rides and drives, gratitude for big and small things, perfect lawn, ability to see potential in people who didn't see it in themselves - and for positively impacting so many lives.

Life Story Info


Fred Davis

Post Date

Jul 26, 2020

Personal Info


Waldo, Arkansas, United States


Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States



Worked For

  • Brigham Young University


  • Bachelor's
    Oklahoma State University Main Campus
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NEXT Tammy LaNay Fullmer Tammy LaNay Fullmer


He was a great man, he was a great coach. Many lessons learned from him. My condolences to the family.

Henry Williams , West Jordan, UT, US Aug 17, 2020

He was a great coach and mentor - on and off the mat.


I was Fred's assistant at Bishop Kelly 85-86. He was a great mentor to a young coach. A good friend, and wonderful man. Thank you Fred for everything. We all are better for knowing Coach Fred Davis.

Bobby Toma Jul 27, 2020

Coach Davis

Thanks for the memories from Oklahoma, Utah and back. Your ski lessons at Sundance with 4 of us all over the mountain was a testament to your patience and teaching abilities. 😃 We all survived and learned to love skiing because of you.

RIP Big Fred.

Edwinna Allen Jul 27, 2020

It is with the utmost respect, appreciation, and love that I wish the most well-deserved farewell to a great man that touched my life in such a positive and inspirational way. His leadership, his strength, his empathy, his fairness, and above all else, his friendship, are qualities that I have always treasured and strived to emulate. He is gone from this earth but his spirit lives on in so many of us that have had the fortune to have known him. My deepest condolences to all of his loved ones.

Efraim Escalante , Parker, CO, US Jul 27, 2020

Coach Davis was a remarkable mentor and man. I wrote to thank him after graduating from BYU in 1967 as one of the ten most admired and respected people I had ever known. He helped me immensely in attaining my goals as a wrestler and in life afterwards. I will never forget his great personality, morality and spirit.

Steve Epperson , St. Austell, Cornwall, England, GB Jul 27, 2020

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family during this most difficult time.


Dear Fred and family, so sorry for your loss. .sounds like your Dad was a lot like you. He seems like a remarkable man. I know you are proud of his outstanding legacy. He lived a long productive life. One that you can be proud of. May God grant unto you and your family his Peace as you move beyond this and carry on his Good Name. I sure love your family❤️

Jan Peers , Spanish Fork, UT, US Jul 27, 2020

I have many memories of Big Fred in my teenage years. He was smart, calm, had a simple but strong ethic and was supportive of his kids. Lots of love to the Davis family.

Mike & Turi Perry , Bluffdale , UT, US Jul 26, 2020

I remember one time that Fred did not like something I had done and he told me about it in a very calm voice, I apologized and he never mentioned it again. It was as though it had never happened. What a great man! He shall be missed by all who knew him. RIP, Fred. You and your family are in my prayers.

Christine Worthy , Tulsa, OK, US Jul 26, 2020

To all those qualities add humility. I’ve known Fred 35+ years and did not realize all these honors. Speaks volumes of who he was.

Joe Frisbee Jul 26, 2020

Such a great man, I remember his smile and gentle ways. RIP ❤️

Gigi Jul 26, 2020

My husband I graduated from BKHS in 1991 and had four wonderful years there and way too many detentions and KPs with Mr. Davis. His sayings, catchphrases, and patient smile were and are legendary. He truly did see the best in people. We are thankful to have known him and the mere mention of his name puts smiles on our faces. We are sorry for the great loss and will keep you in our prayers.

Mary Forness Miller & Casey Miller Jul 26, 2020

What a wonderful Legacy and love of sports may you continue to fulfill all your dreams in heaven as your love ones remember you forever more

Myrta and John Beaman , Saratoga Sorings , UT, US Jul 26, 2020

Most influential person on my wrestling and professional life. I coached wrestling 34 years and used many techniques and philosophy that Fred used. On Fred's 1st team at BYU. Darrel Henry, Mike Hart, Mike Young, Bob Christianson, Dan Groski, Mac Motokawa,Monte Jones, Dennis Harendeen, Wyles,?

Verl Miller , LaGrande, OR, US Jul 27, 2020