Josh Wilcox is one who has lived beyond his wildest dreams. Born in Eugene Oregon to Merle and Dave Wilcox, Josh was raised in the small town of Junction City, Oregon. A life long Oregon Duck fan Josh was lucky enough to become a ball boy due to his fathers connections, during the early 80’s before Oregon was what Oregon is today. His 1st game as a ball-boy was Future Pro Bowler Chris Miller’s senior year. Among the ball boys at the game with Josh were Brady Brooks, son of the head Coach Rich Brooks, and the son of the Athletic Director Bill Byrne, Greg Byrne the current AD at the University of Arizona.
Being around the Oregon Program was something that was in Josh’s blood as his uncle John had played their and his father Dave was eventually elected to the University of Oregon Hall of Fame. Dave went on to a 10 year career with the San Francisco 49ers during the 60’s and 70’s as an outside LineBacker. Long consider one of the best ever to play his position he was eventually elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 2000.
In 1991 after a successful senior year at JCHS Josh was awarded a football scholarship to the U of O. The only other school that recruited him seriously was Oregon State and mainly because of Brady Hoke and Jerry Pettibone. Although to he went to Oregon he still maintains a great amount of respect for those two and and the other coaches on that staff at the time. They looked at him more as a linebacker, and Josh not wanting to be like his dad wanted to be a Tight End, so he chose Oregon
Redshirting at Oregon Josh learned the In’s and Out’s of Pac-10 football at the time. Coming in with him in this class were guys like Reggie Jordan, Tony Graziani, Mark Schmidt, Chris Anderson, Derrick Barnes, and others that made impacts to a program that really wasn’t thought of as Rose Bowl Contender. One thing that never changed was Josh’s love of heavy metal, mainly Metallica, and Pro Wrestling. In fact he watched the 1st version of Monday Night Raw on one of the dorm Common TV’s as not all rooms had cable at the time. But there will be more wrestling to come.
As a redshirt during the 1992 season he was coached by Steve Greatwood, who is the current offensive line coach for the Ducks now. He learned how to play the position from guys like Vince Ferry, Willy Tate, and even O.B. Babbs, who is more famous for being in “Stand by Me” and “Angels in the Outfield”
1993 was the 1st year for Josh to play and his 1st game was at Colorado State. As he prepared all of season he eventually won the job as the # 2 TE. With Nerves in his veins and Iron Maiden “Aces High” playing loudly he prepped to be a participant in the game. Little did he know that the 1st play he would be in a two tight end formation Willy Tate would go down with an injury, and Josh would endure over 80 snaps on offense that game. While hardly his best game, he did have his 1st catch and then his 2nd catch resulted in his 1st fumble of his career. Over the rest of the season Josh would go on to start 3 games catch 9 passes for 107 yds including a TD against Washington St. He was awarded with the Len Cansanova Award given to a player who made an impact on his 1st year. Beyond himself he surprised his teammates, friends, and family showing a young kid from a small school could make an impact
1994 was a magical year for the Oregon Ducks which resulted to them going to the Rose Bowl for the 1st time in 30+ years and winning the Pac-10 conference. It didn’t start well as they were 1-2 before a couple of crucial games. Willy Tate unexpectedly left the team that spring leaving lots of questions as the Tight End position. They assigned Neal Zoumboukos as the coach of the group during the spring to help bring the youngsters along. Led by Josh, Chris Anderson, and Blake Spence this young but crazy bunch really had no fear about the up coming season. After a 2 TD performance by Josh against Portland St, and TD by Spence against Iowa the team was headed down to USC. With many players injured inspiration was needed and when prodded by Dave Cuttrell in the locker room Wilcox went a little off edge and provided a chant which seemed to break some of the edge and then as they took the field against USC the play of Graziani, Chris Anderson’s key block on a Dino Philyaw TD, and an Gang Green Dominance, Oregon won against USC. Next week a loss at WSU, followed by a win against Cal at home head the heated rivalry of the Washington Huskies coming to town before every game was on TV. Yes folks this is the game Kenny Wheaton scored, and is the single most important play in Oregon Duck history. Without that pick, or a UW win, Oregon doesn’t go to the Rose Bowl, and start the ball rolling. The following week Arizona came into Autzen with “Desert Swarm” and it was a dog fight. In arguably Wilcox’s best graded out game blocking as well as a couple of key catches including the only TD the Ducks won. From then on the team was rolling and won the Civil War in Corvallis to secure a berth in the 1995 Rose Bowl against Penn State. While the Ducks battled to the end, mistakes proved costly and the Ducks lost, but Wilcox had the game of his life. They call it being in the “zone” 11 catches 135 yds and 1TD, despite 2 concussions which in this day and age wouldn’t have allowed him back in the gem
1995 lead to numerous pre season honors for Wilcox who was awarded with Honorable Mention All-Pac 10 as a Sophomore in 1994. After another season which he put up more catches and helped his team to a 9-3 record with a loss in the Cotton Bowl. He and Blake Spence were both named Honorable Mention All-Pac 10 in 1995. Josh was named College Sports Magazine 2nd team All-American as well as an Honorable mention All American by another group, but really losing that cotton bowl was weighing more on his mind.
With 1996 being his Senior year and the 4 Horsemen as the Tight End’s called themselves they were ready. Blake Spence, Jed Weaver, and Chris Anderson along with Wilcox created an attitude that is was survival of the fittest and pushed each other each day at practice along with current Oregon TE coach Tom Osbourne. In 1996 Oregon opened the season at Fresno State and played in the 1st Overtime football game in football which resulted in a victory as “Graz” found Josh in the end zone for the TD. While the Ducks ended 6-5 that year and were in the hunt for a bowl game as told by a bowl official who actually lied to the AD at the time Bill Moos as she left a message during a halftime drubbing of the OSU Beavers that Oregon wouldn’t be going to the Hawaii Bowl, there was another moment that Josh felt was among the best ever. He got to play with this brother Justin who came in as a highly recruited QB in 1995 and switched to DB a week before that Fresno St game. Week 2 vs Nevada Justin Wilcox was in the starting line up. A knee screwed up Justin’s year and Josh didn’t have the year he wanted to have as a Senior but again he and Blake Spence were both named Honorable Mention All-Pac 10. Josh received Honorable Mention all-american honors and was selected to play in the Blue Grey Game, Shrine Game, and Hula Bowl. But most close to his heart was he being voted most inspirational by his teammates for the Gonyea Award. Hindsight being what it is 3 games were probably to much but loving the game and just the experiences Josh participated in all. Most memorable of all was catching a TD from Tony Graziani in the Blue Grey Game.
He was selected to the participate in the combine and heart and effort can get you only so far and when going into the combine with the like soy Tony Gonzales, John Allred (Great Dude) and more Josh had a bowling shoe ugly combine performance. Nerves’s, the thought he could tough out some stingers he had issues with and overall a bad performance didn’t do him justice come draft day. 1997 Draft Day came and went with a few calls during the late rounds but ended up with many opportunities and he decided to sign with the Minnesota Vikings. After a good mini-camp and two week camp he was doing well and receiving some praise and being looked at as someone who might have a shot to make the roster especially due to special teams. In the NFL things Change, and Andrew Glover a TE was available making that spot for Josh at TE un realistic, so the opportunity was given to switch to linebacker. #52 in your program he now was. Josh didn’t handle it well, and wanted to learn all he could but found the change was to much as well as not really gelling with the OLB coach. After not getting a snap on D the 3rd preseason game even on special times, Josh knew his time was short. Then the knock on the door occurred that coach Dennis Green wanted to see him. “Your Natural Postion is TE, so we will are going to let you go” and that was pretty much it. With tears in his eyes Josh thanked coached Green even though he wanted to tell him that he didn’t think he got a bit of coaching from the OLB coach. In fact it was joked about among players who little of coaching a guy who hadn’t played the position since HS was getting, but that is the business of the NFL.
Upon returning home to Oregon he had a tryout for the Washington Redskins, which went ok, but after playing LB, and not TE in camp, it just wasn’t in the cards. So Josh needed a job. He asked around and while living in Portland he got a job at the Nike Employee Store. During this time he continued to carry on the belief if he would get cut in the NFL it would be as a tight end. Then the opportunity of a lifetime, as only in his eyes would be opened up. Matt Borne, aka Doink the Clown, was working as a wrestling booker for the Kafoury’s who were promoting local pro wrestling. It was absolutely no secret that Josh had an obsession and respect for wrestling, so what better way to get started was to get right into the action. Staring on November 1 Josh entered the world of Professional Wrestling. With a crowd of over 700 they saw Josh get the win over Brusier Brian Cox. With little training this would not be considered a 4 star match but the crowd was into it, and we they put butts in seats. Later in Jan of 1998 Josh and Brian captured the Tag Team titles in Eugene, Oregon in front of a turned away crowd, in which a fan entered the through the crowd to “save’ josh from a beat down. Unfortunately he got the beat down. Then later in February in LaPine, OR Josh actually won a tournament to win the vacant NW crown. Later he lost it in Roseburg Oregon, after outside interference and the use of a trash can. But this didn’t stop him from his dream
Next stop NFL Europe (Amsterdam), the Arena Football League, and the NFL. Wrestling not forgotten two ECW appearances. Then off to Train with Dory Funk, a WCW Power Plant experience, and then an XFL title. A Match against Scrap Iron Adam Pearce at UPW in front of Jim Ross of WWE allowed Josh to achieve his dream of a WWE contract. Stay tuned for Part two. It gets much more interesting the next time around. But for now you can follow him on twitter @realjoshwilcox and tune into www.1080thefan.com for his radio show 12-3 PM Monday thru Friday and his Football Tailgate show 9-11am on Saturdays. As well as his work on Comcast Sports Northwest on shows such as Talkn Ball and #Ducksfootball. Till then Like you he can’t wait till Kenny Powers is Back in a few weeks.