CFL

Former Ticats star running back Willie Bethea dead at age 85

American running back Willie Bethea, who led the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to three Grey Cup wins during his eight seasons with the CFL club, has died. He was 85.

Trenton, N.J., native led Hamilton to 3 Grey Cup wins during his 8 seasons with team

A men's football player carries the ball during a game in a black and white image.
Former Hamilton Tiger-Cats running back Willie Bethea, seen in a file photo, has died at the age of 85, the team announced on Friday. (Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com)

American running back Willie Bethea, who led the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to three Grey Cup wins during his eight seasons with the CFL club, has died. He was 85.

The Ticats took to social media Friday to confirm Bethea's passing. The cause of death wasn't divulged.

Bethea, of Trenton, N.J., joined the Ticats in 1963 following his collegiate career at Rider University. He helped Hamilton win Grey Cups in '63, 1965 and 1967.

During his time with the Ticats, Bethea rushed for 3,919 yards on 781 carries (5.01-yard average) while scoring 21 touchdowns. His rushing total was the third-most in Hamilton history.

He added 145 receptions for 1,800 yards and nine TDs and earned East Division all-star honours in 1967.

Bethea was named to the Ticats Wall of Honour in 2012.

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