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Willie Evans (1937-2017)


Willie Evans didn't play much football before arriving at Buffalo, but he took to it fast. A 6-foot, 182-pound halfback, Evans rushed for 1,559 yards in three seasons, averaging a school-record 6.36 yards per carry. But it was what happened to him in 1958, his junior year, that has lived on. The Bulls received an invitation to the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, but when Evans and end Mike Wilson were barred from playing because of their race, the team voted to reject the bid. "[They] were the real heroes," Evans said to The Buffalo News in 2011. "It was not an easy thing to do." Evans was drafted by the Bills, and later named the director of physical education for the city school system. He died in Buffalo on Jan. 4 from injuries related to a fall. He was 79.