Before Willis McGahee there was Ronald McGahee

11-16-2011 09;09;28PM crop


Mr. McGahee what name do you prefer to be called.                                                   

My name is Ronald , I have a nick name which is Billy. I prefer to be  called Billy.

Billy, what year were you born?                                                                                              

September 15, 1960.

What High School did you graduate from and the year?

Coral Gables Sr. High 1978 home of the Cavaliers.

What position did you play at CGSH?

I played dual sports I played football and basketball.

In football I played left running back and in basketball I played # 2 guard.

How good were you as  a high school football player?

I held my own, I was a very elusive running back. I didn’t have top speed but I had very quick feet. So I was elusive and it was very hard to catch me. I wasn’t slow, I was able to create some distance from my defenders. All and all I was a force to be reckoned with.

Did you appear in the Miami Herald News Paper?

I appeared in The Herald every week that we played a game.

As I said, I was a force to be reckon with and if you were going to defeat Coral Gables you would have to stop Ronald McGahee.

As a running back at Coral Gables what records do you hold or did you break any records at CGSH?

No, I didn’t break any records. I truly wanted to break records at CG. They had a few records held  at CGSH bya player  under the leadership of  legendary Coach Nick Coatis and I believe the running back was Larry Rinsky. Who held the rush record at CGSH. I very much wanted to break that record. It was a very easy record to break. During that time it was approximately 1040 yards, which could have easily been broken. For some  reason, I was not allowed to break it.

  So when you were having a good game what happened, were you pulled out of the game?

Yes, having the desire of being the leading rusher for Dade County required that you  carried the football 25 – 30 times a game. To my knowledge other high school running backs were getting those number of carries.  The most carries that I received running the football was 15 carries in which I gained  130 yards. Other games were less than that. In order for me to sustain as a leading rusher for Miami- Dade County it would require more carries..

During this time who was your head coach?

 Coach Gary Ghormley was at the helm in 1978.

What type of Coach was Coach Ghormley?

Coach Ghormley was a disciplinarian. He  had the boot camp , drill sergeant mentality. He always strived for the best and did things by the numbers. I had no problems with that coaching style, coming from a disciplinarian father, was right up my alley.

In your Senior year, how many offers did you receive  from different colleges.

I was fortunate to receive 32  offers from different colleges. There was a maximum of 5 college visits per scholarship athlete, in which I only took 3 due to basketball season.  I visited The Florida A&M University, The University of  Illinois and University of Kentucky.

Why did you select The University  of Kentucky?

 Out of those trips I think that the best time that I had was at the University of Kentucky. I enjoyed the lay out and the way that the program was ran. They had a state of the art facility that captivated me. The football players that was assigned to me made a very good presentation about their school and how dedicated they are about their scholarship athletes. I was impressed and selected The University of Kentucky..

Billy, how long did you remained at The University of Kentucky?

I stayed there for approximately 2 years and in those two years  I found that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. You know, for any school to make a first impression, they had to do a very good job, which they did; but during  my tenure at UK there were some things that I witnessed and didn’t like. There were prejudice among the athletes, racial slurs in the community and sometimes there were prejudices around the college campus. I felt pressures of  acceptance being black at a predominate white  University. After I experience those prejudices, I felt for a change  and decided to leave the UNIVERSITY of KENTUCKY. I gave up my scholarship at UK and perused a smaller college that previously wanted me.

 Billy before we proceed, I was under the impression that you were at Kentucky for a short stay. This has cleared things up for me, because we have been knowing each other since childhood  and our Boys Club days. However, I was given false information about your reason  for leaving the University of Kentucky. The rumors were that you left the UK because you were home sick, mist your high school girl friend and that you were heartbroken.  Also, it was said that you would fly home on the weekends to be with your girl friend.

I was not aware that this rumor was being said about me.  After the first year had gone by I had become accustomed to being away from home so that wasn’t a problem, the problem was being a part of the UK football team and the prejudices among the players.  I knew the ability and the talent of certain players that were placed in positions with less talent but because you were not from Trinity High School the best talent was not given the opportunity for the first team.  Me being an athlete on the team, I knew the ability of the different positions.  As a player, you know the superior athletes, those were the athletes that weren’t on  the field. We had players sitting on  the bench that should have been starting.  But do to the fact, if you weren’t  from Trinity High School, you were not given the first look.  No, it had nothing to do with a young lady.  Because that young lady didn’t pay for my education.  The UK did and that’s all in a nut shell as to why I left the UK.

Do you regret leaving the UK?

I don’t regret leaving the UK because you can get an education at any schools which I did.  I went to a smaller University.  The Big University made me feel like a number in the classroom .  I transferred to  Bethune Cookman University. I felt bad because I had to go back to the school that previously offered me a football scholarship.  However, I was glad that they were still interested in me being a part of their football team.  BCU was much smaller in classroom size, the professors knew you by your first name and it felt more personal.

Also, attending BCU you had a fraternal twin sibling who played on the BCU football team and his name is Rodney McGahee.

What type of relationship did you all have and was he glad to see you?

The relationship my brother and I shared was very close.  We had never experience being a part until I left for UK.  You can’t imagine how elated the both of us were to be together again.  During the transfer from UK, there was a period of one full semester I wasn’t in school.  I was embarrass being home from college. During that time, I visited BCU to see my brother two weeks at a time. That provided me the opportunity to gather my thoughts, talk to the coaches and become familiar with the University. Peas in  a pot, again we were glad to be reunited.

When you completed your collegiate career, what profession did you take on? 

At the completion of my collegiate career I received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education.  I became an educator teaching Physical Education at an elementary school.

Why didn’t you play in the NFL?

In my junior and senior year I earned the starting running back position.  Which I did very well.  However, in my senior year  it felt like I was getting tired of playing football.  During practice at BCU I was  no longer excited or motivated.  The only thing that motivated me was Saturday game time.  But during the week I did what it took to keep me from getting hurt. But mentally, I wasn’t there. I don’t know what it was, maybe I started playing football to early in my SW Boys Club days and  got burned out .  Back in those days there were injuries that  we knew of that were career ending.  Paralysis, there were two football players that sustain serious injury to paralysis.   In the professional ranks there was Darryl Stingley of the New England Patriots and at the collegiate level there was Mark  Boniconti the son of Nick Boniconti starting line backer of the 1972 undefeated Miami Dolphins.  In order to go to the next level in the professional ranks, you have to be totally committed, mind, body and soul.  I no longer felt that commitment and decided not to enter the professional level of the NFL.                                                                

Who is this other McGahee  in the NFL which reminds you of yourself?

You are talking about Willis A. McGaheeI III, he is my nephew.  He is the son of my oldest  brother Willis A. McGahee Jr. .  He was the formal running back for the  Baltimore Ravens and is currently playing for the Denver Broncos.

Willis running still compared to your running style are they the same or different?

We are different , Willis has speed, my method of running was quickness, Willis was bigger, faster and  stronger but I was a smaller version compared to his size, instead of a 4.2 in the forty yard dish , I ran a 4.5 and on my strength scale of 1 – 5 I was an all natural( 4) Speaking on running styles, Willis has a studder step before he hits the whole.  This style of running has been successful for him. My running style on the other hand consisted of hitting the hole fast using a wide range of vision and being elusive with very quick feet.  

Who is this other nephew that is playing in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers?

That would be Darius Butler number 27, Corner back for the Carolina Panthers.  He’s the grandson of my oldest sister Helen McGahee Butler.

Do you ever spend family time together?

Yes,  we always have family functions together such as Thanksgiving and celebrated birthdays.  We are a close nit family. One of the most memorable  highlights was Darius Draft  Party to the NFL.   It  was such a proud moment to see the expression on Mitchell and Sabrina face,  the parents of Darius for reaching such a prestigious milestone in his life.    

 Would it be accurate to say that the McGahee’s are from a blood line of athletes.

Yes, I think that would be an accurate statement.

There is another young fellow in the McGahee blood line that had a very close opportunity in making it into the NFL  as a defensive linemen.

That fellow is Rodney McGahee – Allen. He is brother Rodney McGahee I.  The son of your fraternal twin.

Where did he play his collegiate football ?

Rodney played for the University of Kansas, Jay Hawks.  If there were anyone that should have been in the NFL, it is Rodney.  He has everything it takes to be in the NFL. However, due to a misfortunate injury that snuffed out his dreams of becoming a professional football player. 

 Billy you guys have an extensive athletic blood line  would your care to name those family members.

 My father, Willis McGahee Sr. was an athlete and was a  hard working family man.  He  supported 10 children with wife Louise. He was  a man that had the physic of a body builder. He looked like he stepped out of a gym. However, he never lifted any weights in his life.  He had natural ability and natural strength which was passed on to his sons.  

Willis McGahee Jr. turned out to be an extraordinary athlete himself.  He played football under Florida Legendary Coach  Tres Power.  Who at the time coached football at George Washington Carver High School of Coconut Grove Florida.  After integration of Public School Willis chose to leave Coral Gables Sr. High School and attend Mays High School of Homestead Florida. There Willis would reunite with Coach Powers. Willis played nose guard.  He was a very dominate athlete.  He used his quickness to keep the offensive linemen guessing which side of the ball he was rushing.  He was not big in statue but he had cat like quickness.

After high school he attended Texas Southern University where he started his collegiate football career.  This scenery was much different. His opponents were much larger and it was going to take more than quickness to be a dominate football player in the collegiate ranks.  He gave it his all and he felt like it wouldn’t work out for him. Finally on his return home he furthered his education by enlisting in the USA Air Force.

Myself,  Ronald (Billy) and Rodney (Poke) my fraternal twin. Rodney was the larger twin of the two of us.  He never got the opportunity to play organize football at the Boys Club.  He spent his time watching from the side lines.  However, when he attended CG High School as a freshman, Rodney was between 6’2″/ 6’3″ and weighed 210 lbs. Rodney also had his father traits of looking like someone who spent their time in the weight room. Rodney did not like lifting weights.  He was a natural.  Rodney skipped Junior Varsity and played 3 years of Varsity football. There he was a three year letterman. Rodney was a force to be reckoned with.  After high school he played his collegiate football at Bethune Cookman University. That is where we reunited as collegiate football players. 

Rodney McGahee – Allen is the son of Rodney McGahee Sr. Rodney played defensive line for the University of Kansas. He was a  big strong lineman that should have made it in the NFL.  The timing of his injury didn’t allow him to perform in the NFL Combine.  However, he did get the opportunity as a Free Agent to try out for the Green Bay Packers but was release on  the last cut do to being placed on Injury Reserve.  

 Willis A. McGahee III football talent was second to none as you can see.  He was a dominating player from Central High School to The “U” and now with the NFL Denver Broncos.

Darius  Butler number 24 defensive back for the Carolina Panthers.          

 There is another son of my oldest brother  Willis Jr.  and his name is  Brian Williams. He is  playing football at Florida Atlantic University. Under the leadership of Coach Howard Shnelinburger.

Out of my four brothers including myself, I am the only brother that did not conceive a son.  That has been an empty void in my life.  You know, what can I say.  I was blessed with two girls, Stacy Renee and Brianna A’ Naiyah McGahee.  My oldest daughter Stacy produced four boys . We will have to wait and see if my grandsons will carry on the McGahee’s Athletic Blood Line.

Billy, Sports Elite would like to thank you for sharing your collegiate experience with us and  your football family tree. Hopefully, one of your grandsons will continue the legacy.  Once again thank you.

 WCT 79