Perhaps no Cal football coach faced greater challenges than Ray Willsey, who has died at the age of 85 at his home in Hailey, Idaho.

Willsey coached his alma mater for eight seasons through the late 1960s, when Cal made headlines across the country for campus unrest.

"He loved his Cal days," daughter LeeAnn Willsey Fairfield said. "Those are his fondest memories."

But it wasn't easy for Willsey, who played quarterback and defensive back for Cal coach Pappy Waldorf in 1951 and '52 and coached the Bears from 1964-71.

Willsey sometimes came home after practice having been exposed to tear gas that police used against protesters, his daughter recalled.

"Being able to keep the football program going during such a tumultuous time was a source of pride for him," she said. "Recruiting was really tough. He would sit in the living room with parents and they would switch on the nightly news when he was trying to convince them to let him take their son."

Willsey guided the Bears to a record of 40-42-1, including 7-3-1 in 1968 during the height of the student-protest era.

Willsey also spent seven seasons as an assistant coach with the Raiders, winning a Super Bowl in Oakland and Los Angeles.

A memorial service is being planned for Berkeley sometime in the spring, his daughter said.

  • A spokesman for the UC Berkeley police department said the investigation into a fight between two Cal football players that sent freshman Fabiano Hale to the hospital should be complete by late next week, at which point the matter will go to the Alameda County District Attorney's office.

    Lt. Marc DeCoulode said both participants in the fight have been interviewed but said the investigation is ongoing. He declined to provide any other details.

    He also said the matter will be sent to the UC Berkeley Center for Student Conduct, which could issue its own penalties.

  • Junior Richard Rodgers, the Bears' third-leading receiver with 33 catches, had surgery on his left thumb Tuesday but is expected to be ready to play Saturday against USC. Rodgers has been sidelined so far this week, but coach Sonny Dykes is confident he will be able to practice Thursday with a heavy wrap on his thumb. Rodgers hurt the thumb Saturday against Arizona but actually returned to the game after the injury, Dykes said.

  • Freshman cornerback Trey Cheek was taken by ambulance to Highland Hospital after a collision during a drill at the end of the practice Wednesday. Cheek, who has not played this season, was expected to remain overnight for observation.

    Saturday's game

    USC (6-3, 3-2 Pac-12) at Cal (1-8, 0-6), noon, Pac-12 Networks