Ray Willsey, 85, who coached football at UC Berkeley amid campus unrest in the late 1960s and went on to be an assistant coach for the Los Angeles
, died Nov. 4 at his home in Hailey, Idaho, said his daughter LeAnn Willsey Fairfield. The cause was not given.
Willsey, who played defensive back and quarterback at UC Berkeley, coached his alma mater for eight seasons, and on a few occasions was exposed to tear gas used by police to break up nearby protests, his daughter said.
"Being able to keep the football program going during such a tumultuous time was a source of pride for him," she said. "Recruiting was really tough. He would sit in the living room with parents and they would switch on the nightly news when he was trying to convince them to let him take their son."
The '68 team posted three shutout victories and held eight of 12 opponents to 12 points or less, its defensive unit earning the nickname "The Bear Minimum." Willsey resigned after the 1971 season, finishing with a 40-42-1 record.
From 1978 to 1987, he was an assistant for the Raiders, part of Super Bowl victories in Oakland and Los Angeles. He had previously served as an
He also coached the Los Angeles Cobras of the Arena Football League for the 1988 season and later worked for teams in the World Football League, including the London Monarchs and the Scottish Claymores.
Born Sept. 30, 1928, in Regina, Canada, Willsey moved from Saskatchewan to Southern California with his family and played football at Tustin High School and Santa Ana College before transferring to UC Berkeley. He led the Golden
He played for Edmonton of the Canadian Football League for three seasons and had coaching jobs at the University of Washington and the University of Texas before taking UC Berkeley's top spot in 1964.
Willsey, who also lived in Palm Desert, was inducted into the Orange County Sports Hall of Fame in 1993.
-- Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports