Sept. 27, 2002
BERKELEY - Ray Willsey, a former Cal football player and head coach whose distinguished coaching career has spanned six decades on both the college and professional levels, has been named the 2002 recipient of the Glenn T. Seaborg Award. The award, named after former Cal chancellor and 1959 Nobel Prize-winning scientist and given to a former Cal football player for his career accomplishments, is presented annually by the Sons of California, Cal's football alumni association.
Willsey, who has coached in the National Football League, Canadian Football League, NFL Europe/World League and Arena Football League during his long career, was presented the award at the Sons of California annual barbecue on campus earlier today. He will also be honored on the Memorial Stadium field prior to this afternoon's Cal-Washington State game.
While at Cal, Willsey lettered twice as a quarterback and defensive back on Pappy Waldorf's 1951 and 1952 teams. He sparked the Bears to a 26-0 victory over Stanford in 1952, propelling Cal to a 7-3 record and the biggest Big Game victory margin in 30 years. Willsey graduated from California with a business degree in 1953, and went on to play two years with the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL before beginning a storied coaching career that has numbered almost 50 years.
He initially served as an assistant coach under Darrell Royal at both Washington and Texas. Then in 1964, Willsey became the first Cal alumnus to be named the Golden Bears' head football coach in 38 years. Coaching during the '60's at the University of California, he is credited with preserving the tradition of the program under a tumultuous period of the school's history.
Since then, he has held assistant coaching positions with the St. Louis Cardinals and Oakland Raiders in the NFL, head coaching posts in the Arena Football League and NFL Europe, and has served as a football consultant in the NFL. During his career, Willsey has been associated with two Super Bowl championships, two Grey Cup titles and three NFL Europe/World League crowns.
Established in 1995, the Seaborg Award has been presented to eight recipients. Past winners include: