Tribute to a Trailblazer On and Off the Field

Naming the Carrier Dome football field “Ernie Davis Legends Field” was the inspiration of SU parents Sam and Carol Nappi, who stepped forward with the idea and the gift as a way to honor one of Syracuse University’s most inspirational icons.

“Ernie Davis broke racial barriers in college football by becoming the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy,” explains Sam Nappi. “His honor led the way for equality in what previously seemed to be a racially biased sport.”

This tribute to the 1961 Heisman Trophy winner came a year after he was immortalized in the Universal Pictures feature film, The Express, which premiered in Syracuse. “It is our hope,” Nappi says, “that Ernie Davis Legends Field will remind people of the courage, athleticism, honor, dignity, and grace of a man and his teammates who gave their all to make this world a better place.”