Willie Fleming had three seasons where he rushed for more than 1,000 yards, and during his eight seasons with the Lions he finished with a career average of 7.1 yards per carry. As one of the best running backs to play in Canada, Willie scored 18 touchdowns for 108 points in 1960. In 1963 he carried the ball 127 times for 1,234 yards, for an incredible 9.7 yards per carry.
One of the best-told stories about Willie was the Lions’ bid for the Grey Cup twice – in 1963 and 1964. The first unsuccessful attempt involved a widely discussed helmet-to-helmet crash between Willie and the Hamilton Tigercats’ Angelo Mosca, which led to Willie’s trip to the hospital. In the following year, the rematch saw the Lions triumph over the Ticats 34 to 24. Ironically, Willie scored the game-breaking touchdown on a 68-yard scoring run over Mosca’s position.
When he retired in 1967, the Detroit native left behind a legacy as a three-time Western all-star, winner of the most popular BC Lions Player Award three times and being inducted into the iconic Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1982.