FANDOM


Willie Irvin
Date of birth: (1930-01-03)January 3, 1930
Place of birth: St. Augustine, FL
Career information
Position(s): Defensive Back
College: Florida A&M
NFL Draft: 1953 / Round: 15 / Pick: 178
Organizations
 As player:
1953 Philadelphia Eagles
Playing stats at NFL.com

Willie James Irvin (born January 3, 1930 in St. Augustine, Florida) was an American football defensive back in the National Football League for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Prior to the NFL, in 1949 Willie Irvin attended Florida A& M University (then known as Florida A & M College) on a football scholarship where he was coached by the legendary Jake "The Snake" Gaither, one of the most winning coaches in the history of college football.

Coach Gaither was known for not playing freshmen, however, during his freshman year Willie Irvin was sent into a game to replace an injured end by Assistant Coach Hansel "Tootie" Tookes. Known by the nickname "Big Train", on his first play, Willie Irvin made an interception, ran 55 yards to score a touchdown and was a starter for that time on. In 1995, Wilie Irvin was inducted into FAMU's Sports Hall of Fame for football.

Although he attended FAMU on a football scholarship, Willie Irvin also played on the basketball team. He and three teammates Thomas "Butch" Hogan, Charles "Trick Shot" White, and John "Turk" Culyer made FAMU history by defeating Alabama State in the 1952 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Tournament. Due to FAMU players having fouled out, Willie Irvin (who had four personal fouls himself) and his three teammates played for more than 13 minutes with only four men on the court. After playing into double overtime, the four-man team defeated Alabama State 71-67. Willie Irvin and his three teammates were inducted into FAMU's Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 as the "Famed Final Four of 1952," at which time Jake Gaither stated that "this was the greatest display of determination by any Rattlers squad."

For his athletic achievements, Willie Irvin was also inducted into the Palm Beach County, Florida Sports Hall of Fame.

Upon graduating from FAMU in 1953, Willie Irvin was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles where he played as a defensive back until he was drafted by the Army.

After being honorably discharged from the Army, Willie Irvin got his master's degree and became a coach, teacher and eventually a career school administrator, retiring from the school system after 34 years.

Today, Willie Irvin enjoys being retired and spending time with his two daughters and granddaughter in South Florida.


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.