Willsey in 1965
September 30, 1928|
|Died||November 4, 2013
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1956||Washington Huskies (assistant)|
|1960–61||St. Louis Cardinals (DC/Co-HC)|
|1963||Washington Redskins (DC)|
|1973–77||St. Louis Cardinals (DC)|
|1978||Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders (DB)|
|1979–87||Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders (RB)|
|1988||Los Angeles Cobras|
|1991||London Monarchs (defensive)|
|Head coaching record|
Ray Willsey (September 30, 1928 – November 4, 2013) was the head football coach at the University of California from 1964 to 1971. During his tenure he compiled a 40–42–1 record. He was inducted into the Orange County Sports Hall of Fame in 1993.
Early life and playing career
Willsey was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, and played defensive back and quarterback at Tustin High School and Santa Ana College. He played for the California Golden Bears, helping the Bears win 26-0 against Stanford in 1952. He graduated from the University of California in 1953 with a degree in business. He played for three years for the Edmonton Eskimos in Canada, but his playing career was ended by an elbow injury. He was a member of the Edmonton teams that won the 42nd Grey Cup and 43rd Grey Cup.
His first assistant coaching job was at the age of 28 with the Washington Huskies under head coach Darrell Royal. He followed Royal to the University of Texas in 1957. His first NFL position was at defensive coordinator with the Saint Louis Cardinals in 1961, where he went 2–0 as co-head coach. Willsey coached the California Golden Bears from 1964 to 1971. His 1968 team finished 7–3–1, recording three shutout victories and holding eight of 12 opponents to 12 points or less, earning its defensive unit the nickname "The Bear Minimum." In 1971, Willsey resigned from Cal, and in 1973, he rejoined the Cardinals as defensive coordinator under head coach Don Coryell. He moved to the Oakland Raiders in 1977 as backfield coach. With the Raiders, Willsey coached on Super Bowl-winning teams in 1980 (Super Bowl XV) and 1983 (Super Bowl XVIII).
In 1988, he served as head coach of the Los Angeles Cobras during that team's only year of existence in the Arena Football League, in which his team compiled a 5–6–1 record. He was defensive coach of the London Monarchs when they won the World League title in 1991, and he became their head coach for the 1992 season. He was defensive coordinator for the Scottish Claymores in the mid-90s, and became director of personnel for NFL Europe in 1996. He was awarded the Glenn T. Seaborg Award in 2002, an annual honor given by Cal's football alumni association to a former Cal football player for his career accomplishments.
Willsey died on November 4, 2013 at the age of 85.
Head coaching record
|California Golden Bears (Pacific-8 Conference) (1964–1971)|
|#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.
|League||Team||Year||Regular season||Post season|
|Won||Lost||Ties||Win %||Finish||Won||Lost||Win %||Result|
|AFL||LA||1988||5||6||1||.458||4th Place||0||1||.000||Lost to Chicago Bruisers|
- Sargis, Joe (19 January 1972). "After Eight Seasons .Ray Willsey Quits Cal; White Considers 2 Jobs .". Ellensburg Daily Record. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
- Boyles, Bob; Paul Guido (2008). "California". The USA Today College Football Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Modern Reference to America's Most Colorful Sport, 1953-Present. Skyhorse Publishing Inc. ISBN 1-60239-331-1.
- Weyler, John (4 December 1993). "Willsey Traces His Roots of Success to Old Coach". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
- "Ray Willsey to Receive Glenn Seaborg Award". CalBears.com. 27 September 2002. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
- "Ray Willsey, Cal football coach in the 1960s, dies at 85". The Los Angeles Times. November 11, 2013.
- "Ray Willsey Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- White, Lonnie (17 March 1988). "Ray Willsey Will Coach L.A.'s Cobras". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
- Newswire (10 January 1992). "Names in the News". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
- Davidson, Mike (22 June 1996). "Keller spreads gridiron gospel". Daily Herald. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
- "NFL Europa history". NFL. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
- Bush, David (25 December 2004). "'Bear Minimum' was one tough act". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
- Faraudo, Jeff (November 6, 2013). "Former Cal coach Willsey dies at 85". Retrieved November 6, 2013.