Former Air Force QB Dowis dies in car accident
DENVER — Weighing just 153 pounds, former Air Force option quarterback Dee Dowis wasn’t the most intimidating presence. That is, until he got the ball in his hands.
Dowis, who finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1989, died in a car accident outside Atlanta on Monday morning, police in Gwinnett County, Georgia, confirmed. He was 48.
As a lanky sophomore in 1987, Dowis began running coach Fisher DeBerry’s triple-option offense. He was an instant hit.
Dowis graduated as the academy’s career leading rusher and had the highest finish ever for an Air Force player in the Heisman voting. During that ‘89 season, Dowis rushed for 1,286 yards and 18 touchdowns while throwing for 1,285 yards and seven touchdowns. He led the Falcons to an 8-4-1 record and an appearance in the Liberty Bowl.
“Pound for pound, without a doubt, the greatest, most gifted and talented player to maybe ever play the college game,” DeBerry said in a phone interview Tuesday. “He proved you don’t have to be a physical giant to be a quarterback in the tripleoption offense.”
As a tribute to Dowis, the Falcons rush-ordered helmet decals for their season opener Saturday against Abilene Christian. Other honors are in the works, too.
According to a news release from the Gwinnett County police, Dowis was going south in the northbound lanes of I-85 early Monday when he pulled his 2014 BMW into the center median. As he backed up, Dowis was hit in the driver’s side door by a 2015 Subaru driven by a 22-year-old from North Carolina. The other driver was transported to a nearby hospital.
The police said Dowis wasn’t wearing a seat belt and died at the scene.
“It is still not clear what caused Dowis to travel down the interstate in the wrong direction. Speed does not appear to be a contributing factor,” the release said.