Card: ProSet 1991
Acquired: In person, Dallas Cowboys Training Camp 1990
So Josh and I by the time the Raiders came to town were quite adept at finding ways to get autographs and Willie Gault is a great example of this. We had heard rumors while at camp that the Raiders stayed at a hotel just across the highway from St. Edwards. (Right across the highway meant a 45 minute walk.) Josh and I had a choice: Keep the primo spot in autograph alley and get some autographs from Cowboys and Raiders, or take a dice roll on the Raiders hotel and rake it in. We took a shot at the latter and started walking. Josh and I would arrive a few minutes before the bus would and stood out front salivating to get signatures. The streamliner pulled into the parking lot, but instead of pulling around front- it passed us to go to the back. In a panic, we started chasing the bus like little kids after school trying to get to the ice cream man. I managed to pull in front of the group surprisingly keeping up with the bus. Players looked out the tinted windows with amazement – pointed and laughed. When they pulled around back they dropped the players off at a shed in the parking lot to change. Willie didn’t bother. He got off the bus and walked straight up to me and proclaimed,”Wow man! We kept telling the bus driver to go faster and almost got it up to 30 before you started falling behind! You looked like a full on sprinter at the Olympics, with arms up and everything!” He signed our cards with a beaming smile and humorous zeal and truly this is one of my favorite football memories of all time.
A track and field speedster beast that (NFL teams tried to duplicate the luck the Cowboys had with Bob Hayes-) the closest anybody got over the last 30 years was Willie Gault. In 1980 during the height of the Cold War, the United States boycotted the Olympics being hosted by the USSR. Instead the USA Olympic Committee decided to hold their own ‘Boycott Olympics’ in Philadelphia. Willie Gault would win a Gold in the 100 M and a Bronze 4×100 M relay. He would also win at the Helsinki Championships for hurdling (Bronze) and the 4×100 again (Gold). Drafted in the first round of the 1983 draft by the Chicago Bears, Willie would primarily be utilized to stretch defenses with his incredible speed. In 1985, he would be a part of the “Super Bowl Shuffle” helping the team dominate the New England Patriots winning SuperBowl XX with 129 yards on 4 catches. After a successful career with the Bears, averaging a breathtaking 19.8 yards on 184 catches, Willie would be traded to the Los Angeles Raiders and Al Davis who loves that speed. Gault would have perhaps his best seasons there, averaging over 24.5 yards a catch his first two seasons in LA, and a career high 985 yards in 1990.
In 1993, Willie would retire and pursue his dream of acting. As of 2010 he’s been in 31 different productions both TV and film, and also been a producer and even a costume designer. Recently he also appeared in the 25th anniversary of the “Super Bowl Shuffle” hosted by Boost Mobile on the most recent SuperBowl half-time show. He remains incredibly in shape and has set numerous records at the Masters athletics championship.
G/Gs 170/141 Rec 333 Yds 6635 Avg 19.9 Td 44 Lg 87T