The Oakland Raiders mourn the passing this week of Ray Willsey, who served as an assistant coach for the Silver and Black from 1978-87.
Willsey began his Raiders coaching career as an assistant on John Madden's staff in 1978, then served under Tom Flores the next nine years. During his time with the Raiders, the Silver and Black went 92-60 in the regular season with captured two World Championships of Professional Football with victories over Philadelphia in Super Bowl XV and over Washington in Super Bowl VXIII.
"Ray was the consummate pro and he became a very dear friend," said Tom Flores of Willsey, who coached the Raider running backs on Flores' staff through 1987. "He was very loyal, very professional and will be remembered as a classy guy. The players responded to him and respected him and played that way."
Prior to joining the Raiders, Willsey was head coach at his alma mater, Cal, from 1964-71. He played defensive back and quarterback at Cal under legendary coach Pappy Waldorf in the early 1950s and played three years for the Canadian Football League's Edmonton Eskimos.
Willsey also coached under famed Darrell Royal at both the University of Washington and Texas. He also was an assistant with the Washington Redskins and St. Louis Cardinals and was head coach in the Arena Football League for the Los Angeles Cobras as well as in the World League for the London Monarchs. He was a defensive coach for the Monarchs squad that won the league title in 1991 and became their head coach the following year. He was also defensive coordinator for the World League's Scottish Claymores and became personnel director for NFL Europe in 1996.
Willsey, who was born in Regina, Saskatchewan and raised in Southern California where he played defensive back and quarterback a at Tustin High and Santa Ana College, was inducted into the Orange County Sports Hall of Fame in 1993.