The Vale, Ore., community welcomed home Pro Football Hall of Famer as part of the "Hometown Hall of Famer™," series presented by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance Company, The special plaque ceremony was held in the Vale High School gymnasium on Monday, May 6. The town of Vale, with a population of under 2,000 residents, packed the gym in support of their local legend, displaying the true meaning of hometown pride with their enthusiastic turnout.
Vale High School Principal Mary Jo Sharp served as the event’s emcee, setting the stage for several memorable speeches by each plaque ceremony participant.
Dave's brother, Jon Wilcox, who was a member of the 1960 Philadelphia Eagles NFL Championship team, shared a memorable story that showcased Dave's humble nature - recently the University of Oregon asked Dave if they could name a practice facility after him and in response Dave said, "Thank you, but no thank you - however, if you would like to name the practice facility after my whole family then we would be honored."
Wilcox spoke very little of his own achievements when he addressed the crowd. Instead, he shined the spotlight on the other student-athletes who have come from Vale, recounting over a half-dozen individuals by name who he felt helped make the community proud. In closing, Dave personally thanked Allstate and the Pro Football Hall of Fame for their efforts in pulling the event together and then proceeded to take out a necklace chain that had his two high school football championship rings on it, which he said he takes with him everywhere he goes.
Additional speakers at the event included Local Boise, Idaho, Allstate Agent Collin Zenor and Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises President and CEO George Veras.
Also in attendance was Dave’s wife Merrill, his two sons Josh and Justin; as well as Dave’s brother Jerry and his sister Mary Ann. Many nieces, nephews and other direct family members were also in attendance to celebrate with Dave.
“This plaque is for everyone in the Vale community who helped Wilcox achieve his dreams and that is why he is here today, to thank all of you,” said Veras. “A plaque that could have lived in the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, now will forever live in these halls of Vale High School.”
In addition to the plaque, a commemorative “Hometown Hall of Famers™” road sign will be on display in Vale, Ore.
“Allstate agents take great pride in their hometowns, that’s why this program is such a great fit for us,” said Zenor. “Congratulations to Dave and the entire Vale community for this exciting achievement.”
A University of Oregon alumnus, Wilcox also played collegiate football at Boise Junior College and earned junior college All-American honors before transferring to Oregon. Wilcox played in the Hula Bowl, Coaches’ All-America Bowl, and the College All-Star game while at the University of Oregon.
Wilcox was drafted by both the American Football League (AFL) and the National Football League (NFL) in 1964, Wilcox opted to sign with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers where he would go on to star for 11 seasons.
Converted to the outside linebacker position, Wilcox quickly established himself as one of the league’s finest. Nicknamed “The Intimidator,” he was ideally suited for the position, both mentally and physically. Known for his ability to disrupt plays, he was particularly tough on tight ends.
Durable, Wilcox missed only one game during his career due to injury. Five times he was named All-NFL (1967, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973) and three times All-NFC (1971, 1972, 1973). He was also selected to play in seven Pro Bowls.
Wilcox was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
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