FAMU Legend Remembered 50 Years After Fatal Crash

"Flashy, improvised runs marked his NFL career. He lit up dull games and brought the crowd to its feet."

Those words are from Sports Illustrated's Paul Zimmerman about Chicago Bears running back Willie Galimore who was featured on Sports Illustrated's cover in the team's 1963 title year.

Bears owner and coach George Halas drafted and signed Galimore based on a jockey's tip.

"We were all excited for the $5000 dollar bonus," said Willie's widow Audrey Galimore. "$5000, that was the bonus, that was a lot of money back then," she said.

Before his career with the Bears, Galimore starred at Florida A&M.

He's the only four time All American football player in Rattler history and the fieldhouse at Bragg Stadium bares his name."

Galimore won a national title in 1954 playing for legendary Coach Jake Gaither.

He's still FAMU's all-time rushing leader with 3592 yards.

"He'd give you a real joy to see the guy run you're trying to block for him and you wanted to see him run," said Galimore's teammate Bob Lang.

In 1964. during the height of the civil rights movement, Galimore on his own, registered at the all white Ponce DeLeon Motor Lodge in his hometown of St. Augustine.

Two weeks later, tragedy struck.

Galimore and teammate Bo Farrington were killed in a car crash near the Bear's training camp in Indiana.

Audrey Galimore was so distraught, she wouldn't tell her three young children about their father's death.

"It hurt so bad, I don't think I wanted to hurt them because they were very close," she said.

Galimore's number has been retired by both FAMU and the Bears.

He's buried at Tallahassee's Greenwood Cemetery.

Galimore is also a member of the college football hall of fame.

His son Ron was the first black member of the U.S. men's gymnastics team.

However Ron missed the Olympics because of the 1980 boycott of the Moscow games.


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