Where Are You Now?- Billy Wells

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Where Are You Now?- Billy Wells

Postby Rosso60 » Thu Sep 23, 2004 5:23 am

When I looked up that Esky/East game on microfilm, I flew by it at first-and it brought me to the next date -Sep 10 1978. Came right to this article. What were the chances of finding this?

WHERE ARE YOU NOW? Billy Wells
Green Bay Press Gazette Sun Sep 10 1978

Billy Wells began his football career as a seventh grader in Menominee, Mich. and ended it after retiring from the Boston Patriots of the American Football League in 1960. In those 17 years he never played anywhere but right halfback. At Menominee, the 5 foot 9, 165- pounder led the Maroons to two mythical Upper Peninsula championships and an overall three year record of 19-4-1. Although official statistics weren't kept, Wells was renowned as a dazzling broken field runner who could score from anywhere on the field. In 1951 Wells began his varsity career at Michigan State College, now Michigan State University. He started in both his junior and senior years as the Spartans compiled a three year 27-1 record. Wells gained 1,293 yards rushing in his career for a 5.4 average and was also a dangerous pass receiver and punt returner. MSC defeated UCLA 28-20 on Jan 1, 1954 in the Rose Bowl. UCLA led 14-7 at halftime. But Wells sparked two third-quarter touchdown drives and scored another on a 62-yard punt return. He gained 80 yards in 14 carries, scored two touchdowns, and was named "Player of the Day." A fourth-round draft choice of the Washington Redskins, Wells led the team in rushing as a rookie before he began a two-year service hitch. He later played with the Washington Redskins in 1956, the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1957 (team's top rusher), the Philadelphia Eagles in 1958 and the Patriots in 1960. He finished his pro career with 1,384 yards rushing for a 3.8 average.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

(Wells writes)

"We had kind of a dynasty in Menominee. We won 9 out of 10 U.P. titles during that time. I think more than anything I was a cutback runner, meaning I could go against the grain. I primarily went around left end, because I was a left hander, and this cutting back was kind of instinctive. I had probably seven or eight touchdowns over 40 yards my senior year, that kind of thing. My biggest thrills at Michigan State were my first and last games. The first was in 1951. We were playing at Ohio State and the Vic Janowicz team, down two touchdowns, and I was thrown in with 5 minutes left. We scored twice to beat them. The last game, of course, was the Rose Bowl. My senior year had been a complete bummer. I was hurt four or five games with a bad ankle, plus I got pneumonia at Ohio State. And we lost to Purdue 6-0, which turned out to be our only loss in three years. It was our first year in the Big 10. I was so disappointed, but then came the Rose Bowl. Three or four nights before the game Bob Hope had his annual show at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. I had talked to Fred Stabley (the MSC publicist) the year before. I said that if we ever got to California, I wanted a date with Debbie Reynolds. Well, unbeknowst to me they set it up. I was talking to Hope on stage, and all of a sudden Debbie Reynolds burst out on stage. I practically had apoplexy. Here's this gal, who I had been sort of thinking someday I might meet. So all of a sudden one of our halfbacks, Jimmie Ellis--Diamond Jim they called him-- and the two of us are dancing a little soft-shoe. After the game Debbie and I went out. We went to Ciro's, and there it didn't cost me anything because I was with a star. But then we went to Moulin Rouge. I had $90 in my pocket, and we blew it in a half-hour. Now I call Debbie the perennial Girl Scout. The next day I flew to New York and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show with the top players from the other bowl games."

Then this article reads:

Well, 46, had several acting roles in Hollywood following his football days, including episodes of Alfred Hitchcock and Manhunt. He later worked as a sportscaster in Chicago and as a producer of movie shorts. He also organized a band, called Billy and His Bachelors, which he still leads on weekend appearances "from San Diego to San Francisco." He now works full-time as a field supervisor for a security guard company in California. He makes his home in Manhattan Beach, a Los Angeles suburb.
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P.S.

Postby Rosso60 » Thu Sep 23, 2004 5:35 am

By the way- right next to this article were some high school and college scores- some of interest:

Carroll 6, U-W Oshkosh 3
Northwood, Mich 21, Michigan Tech 10
Cent Michigan 41, Kent State 0
Ferris State 10, St. Joesph, Ind 10

At the high school level

Shawano 20, Schofield 0
(Shawano hardly wins these days, they're here in the Bay Conference. These programs are like night and day now)

And for the Kingsford faithful.....

Milwaukee South 49, Milwaukee West 7 :)
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U.P. Pro's

Postby FireDanFlynn » Fri Sep 24, 2004 6:29 am

Good stuff Rosso! I love that old stuff. I had never heard of Billy Wells. Thanks for the story. Here a pic of his 1958 Topps football card when he was with the Steelers. The photo shows him in his Redskins uniform.
Image
Last edited by FireDanFlynn on Fri Sep 24, 2004 6:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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“Football competition involves a matching of wits between coaching staffs as
well as the "battle" that takes place on the field.” – Jerry Cvengros
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delete

Postby FireDanFlynn » Fri Sep 24, 2004 8:50 am

Moved to a new thread.
Image
“Football competition involves a matching of wits between coaching staffs as
well as the "battle" that takes place on the field.” – Jerry Cvengros
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