Who is Willie Backer?
Willie Backer is an award-winning, veteran writer who has chronicled major news and sports events all across America, and is the author of the brand new book “The Legends Son…And The Ultra-Competitive World of Alabama Football.”
Willie grew up in the northeast where he played football, basketball and baseball at a very prestigious private Catholic high school and he was one of the Three Wise Men in the school Christmas play. He went on to receive a Bachelor of Science Degree from a very renowned four-year university, then get a master’s degree from an even more renowned university. Willie has spent decades working for newspapers and magazines as well as radio and TV stations. He has free lanced articles for every kind of publication; in fact, the people at Sports Illustrated recently accepted some of his written material. They accepted a check for another year’s subscription.
Willie was a member of Boy Scouts of America for three years and although he never progressed past the rank of Tenderfoot, he went on enough hiking and camping trips to develop staunch character he has exhibited his entire career. Willie is:
TRUSTWORTHY–Once, while tending bar at a New York City nightclub allegedly owned by a Mafia kingpin, Willie was asked by his superiors to take $2,534.17 from a cash register in the bar area to the administration office. Willie showed up with exactly $2,534.17.
HELPFUL–While attending Buffalo Bills training camp, Willie noticed Hertz spokesman O.J. Simpson about to walk in the dorm while holding several boxes. Willie went over and held the door open for the Juice, so the Juice didn’t have to put the boxes down and open the door himself.
FRIENDLY–Needing information while covering the 1980 Democratic Convention in New York City, Willie approached a stately-looking, dapperly-dressed individual on the corner of 34th and 7th Avenue and asked him if he was anyone of importance. The fellow replied he wasn’t, just the current governor of Arkansas. It was future president Bill Clinton.
COURTEOUS–At the 1990 Final Four in Minneapolis, Willie rode for four stories in an elevator with Bobby Knight and didn’t so much as speak to Knight. (Of course, Knight didn’t speak to Willie either.)
KIND–While working for a radio station in Dallas, Willie regularly prayed that Terrell Owens didn’t try to commit suicide in the middle of the night. (Because if he did, Willie was going to have to get up out of bed and go cover it)
OBEDIENT–While covering the Republican presidential race one year, Willie coincidentally met candidate Pat Buchanan at an all-night restaurant and referred to him as “Pitchfork Pat” the entire conversation. The two spent most of the time debating who was the “Deep Throat” character in the Watergate saga. Pat was way off target.
CHEERFUL–Called the play by play of a game for an NFL Films documentary seen on the Versus Network. Most viewers could not tell when Willie’s commentary ended and Dennis Miller’s monologue began.
THRIFTY–Called the play by play for a state championship soccer game, even though Willie knows about as much about soccer as he does aerospace engineering.
BRAVE–While working for a newspaper in New York City, Willie was on the desk one night when Yankee owner George Steinbrenner called, looking for the Yankee beat writer. The fellow wasn’t in, so Willie began an animated conversation with Steinbrenner, blissfully referring to him as “George” the entire time, unaware that everyone at the paper from the publisher on down–and probably even Steinbrenner’s own mother–referred to Steinbrenner as “Mr. Steinbrenner.”
CLEAN–One year while covering the SEC post-season tournament, Willie was not only introduced to Kentucky Wildcat uber-fan Ashley Judd, but, a mutual friend in the Kentucky media told him the hotel she was staying at and the assumed name she was registered under, and urged Willie to call her, insisting Miss Judd would find it very amusing. But Willie declined, figuring with his luck, the FBI would be conducting some sort of sting on celebrity stalkers and he’d get pinched.
REVERENT–Right out of college, Willie played for The Washington Generals, the stooge team that tours with the Harlem Globetrotters, but eventually got cut from the team. Willie has suffered severe bouts of depression over the years combating the realization that a team which never won a game, actually cut him.
Images courtesy of Outskirts Press and Time Magazine