HONOREES

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Willie Davis

The first defensive lineman to combine size with devastating speed, Willie Davis made his mark as a stalwart on the dominant Packers’ teams of the 1960s.

Willie Davis loved football and was a star at Booker T. Washington High School in Texarkana, Arkansas. While playing, he never told his mother that he was on the football team until his third week of his season when he came home late from a game. Little did they know his football career would lead him to great success.

It was a hard career start for Davis. A two-year stint in the Army and the Cleveland Browns’ indecision on where to best utilize Willie’s vast talents were the main culprits. A trade in 1960 to the Green Bay Packers, then considered to be the Siberia of pro sports, did little to inspire Davis. In fact, he briefly considered quitting.

Vince Lombardi, however, had different plans. He recognized immediately that Davis’ catlike speed and agility would be best utilized as a defensive lineman. Thus began one of the greatest careers ever at that position. Five straight Pro Bowl years, 21 fumble recoveries, 162 straight games played, and 5 NFL championships are testaments to Davis’ dominance. Willie, however, was ever-cognizant of the fleeting nature of a professional football career.

Mr. Davis’s professional career spans diverse businesses and award winning athletics. He is currently president and owner of All Pro Broadcasting, Inc., which operates radio stations in California and Wisconsin. He spent 27 years in the beer/wine beverage distribution industry, serving in various management positions, including 18 years as owner and president of West Coast Beverage Company. Mr. Davis serves on the Boards of Sara Lee Corporation, K-Mart, Dow Chemical Company, MGM Grand Inc., Alliance Bank, WICOR Inc., Johnson Controls Inc., Strong Fund, and Rally’s Inc. He holds an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.