Dave Wilcox, a Hall of Fame linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, died Wednesday. He was 80 years previous.
A 2000 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, Wilcox spent his total 11-year profession with the 49ers, who inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2009. He was chosen to seven Pro Bowls, was a two-time All-Pro and the proprietor of one of many best nicknames in sports activities historical past.
“While Dave Wilcox was nicknamed ‘The Intimidator’ for his aggressive type of play, he was a form, humble and gracious man in all different features of life,” Hall of Fame president Jim Porter stated. “He reworked the skin linebacker place — one of many many feats that earned him a ceaselessly house in Canton.
“Our ideas and prayers are with Dave’s spouse, Merle, and their total household. We will protect his legacy for generations to come back.”
An Oregon native, Wilcox was a two-way participant on a Ducks group that additionally featured future Cowboys Hall of Fame cornerback Mel Renfro and future Pro Bowl quarterback Bob Berry. The trio helped the Ducks seize the 1963 Sun Bowl whereas permitting a median of simply 13.9 factors per sport.
In 1964, Wilcox adopted in his older brother’s footsteps by being an NFL Draft decide (John Wilcox was chosen by the eventual world champion Eagles within the seventh spherical of the 1960 NFL Draft). Wilcox made eight begins throughout his rookie season earlier than turning into a full-time starter for the rest of his profession. Starting in 1968, he was named to 6 consecutive Pro Bowls whereas turning into one of many NFL’s greatest linebackers.
“What I do greatest is just not let folks block me,” Wilcox as soon as stated. “I simply hate to be blocked.”
While turning into one of many NFL’s most adorned gamers, Wilcox helped flip the 49ers from one of many league’s worst groups to one in every of its greatest. After profitable simply 4 video games throughout his rookie season, Wilcox helped lead the 49ers to a few consecutive division titles from 1970-72. The 49ers went to consecutive NFC Championship video games in 1970-71 solely to fall to Tom Landry’s Cowboys in each contests.
Wilcox’s son, Justin Wilcox, is at present California’s head coach. The Golden Bears have earned two top-25 nationwide finishes below Wilcox, who grew to become the college’s head coach in 2017.
“We are so pleased with our son,” Wilcox stated on the time of Justin’s hiring. “We taught our children at an early should you begin one thing, you end it and evidently he is not completed but. But I did all the time need to know why within the heck he needed to be a coach and have 18- and 19-year-olds decide whether or not you had a job or not.”
Wilcox’s remark relating to his son’s chosen career is one instance of his humorousness. Another instance is Wilcox’s story involving fellow former Bears Hall of Fame operating again Gale Sayers. During a 2020 interview with NBC Sports, Wilcox stated that he approached Sayers on the 1966 Pro Bowl a 12 months after Sayers scored a file six touchdowns towards his 49ers.
“Gale, my identify’s Dave Wilcox, with the 49ers,” Wilcox stated. “I simply needed to fulfill you and see what you appeared like up shut.”
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