(Born December 1, 1937) -- Willie Evans played all sorts of games over the years in an outstanding athletic career. Yet he’s best remembered for a game he didn’t play.
Evans was born in Buffalo and graduated from Emerson High School. After missing out on a track scholarship to Purdue because of an injury, Evans landed at the University of Buffalo.
He was part of a UB football team in 1958 that won the Lambert Cup as the best small-college team in the East. The Bulls were invited to the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Fla.
Correction - only the white players were invited to Orlando. Evans and the other African Americans on the roster were told to stay home. So the rest of the team voted to stay home with them.
Evans taught in the Buffalo public schools for more than 30 years, and is still active in UB’s alumni. Fifty years after the original snub, the ‘58 Bulls team was honored everywhere from Buffalo to Orlando. Evans was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.
--- Budd Bailey