Jon Kingdon was hired as an intern in 1978 and worked in various capacities. After spending 1979 as head coach Tom Flores’ administrative assistant, Kingdon moved full time to the Raiders personnel department, beginning in an administrative role and then as a college scout. He eventually became the team’s Director of College Scouting in 1993. Al Davis valued Kingdon’s opinion and would ask for his feedback on matters that had the potential to alter the Raiders’ fortunes for years to come. It was not uncommon for Davis to call Kingdon at home at all hours with any number of questions about the upcoming NFL draft and issues ranging from who he should hire as his head coach, the movement of the franchise, how he should handle various player issues, who would be the first player taken in the WNBA draft and alerting him to the upcoming Jewish holidays. Kingdon earned a Bachelor's Degree in English from Oberlin College, where he played tight end for the football team and was sports editor of the college newspaper. He later attended the University of Massachusetts, from which he earned a Master's Degree in Sports Administration.
During his more than four decades in professional football, Bruce Kebric worked as an assistant general manager, director of player personnel, director of college and pro scouting, assistant director of player personnel and national scout. His player selections and recommendations played an integral role in the teams he worked for appearing in three Super Bowls and seven American Football Conference championship games.
Kebric’s final NFL position was with the Oakland Raiders, where he spent 31 years assisting Pro Football Hall of Famer Al Davis not only in the player personnel realm but with coaching hires. He also worked closely with another NFL Hall of Fame selection, Sid Gillman, at the San Diego Chargers, Houston Oilers and the Oklahoma Outlaws of the United States Football League. Gillman is considered the architect of the modern passing game, and he also was the person who gave Davis his first professional football coaching job.
Prior to his NFL entry, Kebric was the assistant sports information director at Stanford University, where he had the opportunity to work with and learn from future NFL head coaches Bill Walsh, Dick Vermeil, John Ralston, Mike White and Rod Rust.
In 1969, Kebric was selected as a research fellow at the NASA-Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, Texas, where he witnessed NASA’s first moon landing at the Mission Control Center. His NASA research culminated in a publication entitled “Continuing Education at the NASA Manned Space Center.”
Kebric additionally has written extensively for newspapers and magazines and has covered sporting events such as the Super Bowl, the Rose Bowl, the World Series, the NCAA basketball championships and the second Sonny Liston-Floyd Patterson heavyweight championship fight.
He received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Stanford University, where he was a member of the basketball team, and a master’s degree in Public Administration from San Diego State.
From 1997-2010, Steve Corkran covered the Raiders on a year-round basis for the Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune and San Jose Mercury News. He also covered the Raiders on an occasional basis before and after he became the beat writer. During that time, he gleaned insight into how owner Al Davis presided over the Raiders and what made the iconic sports figure revered by some and reviled by others.
At one point, Corkran approached Davis about an interview for a season preview. Davis politely declined, saying that, “I don’t think people care what I have to say.” He ended the conversation by saying he might tell his story one day, and asked Corkran if he would be interested in writing that book. Both knew each other well enough to realize that Davis had no intention of participating in an all-encompassing book. From that point, Corkran worked toward finding a way to tell Davis’ story in as complete a manner as possible. Teaming with Jon Kingdon and Bruce Kebric made that a reality.
Corkran’s first enduring memory of Al Davis and the Raiders came in 1972, when Terry Bradshaw and Franco Harris teamed up for an improbable throw, catch-and-run play that resulted in a 60-yard, game-deciding touchdown in an AFC Playoff Game against the Raiders that kick-started the Steelers dynastic run of four Super Bowl wins in six seasons. Davis and the Raiders became must-see TV. Six years later, he attended the game where Raiders safety Jack Tatum delivered a hit on Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley that resulted in Stingley being paralyzed from the neck down.
During his professional career: Corkran covered more than 400 NFL games, including four Super Bowls and the Tuck Rule Game; visited Jon Gruden’s childhood home in South Bend, Ind., as part of his research for a profile on the Raiders dynamic coach; sat near the overhead projector that Al Davis used to outline the reasons for why he fired head coach Lane Kiffin; and witnessed countless other seminal moments during the Raiders second stint in Oakland. Much of what was watched and learned along the way is reflected in the reporting, detail and writing featured in this book.
Steve worked at the Contra Costa Times/OaklandTribune/San Jose Mercury News for over 23 years. During that time, Steve covered everything from prep sports to Super Bowls and U.S. Open golfing championships. Mainly, he covered the NFL from 1995-present, with most of that time spent as a beat writer for the Oakland Raiders.
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