Hunt County native and former NFL star and Dallas Cowboys Assistant Coach Wade Wilson passed away at his home in Coppell on Friday at the age of 60.
Wilson was born in Greenville in 1959 and was raised in the area, where he attended school at Commerce ISD and played on the football team at East Texas State University, now Texas A&M University - Commerce, from 1977 to 1980.
By his junior year playing for the Lions he was placed in a starting position, where he brought the school its first Lone Star Conference championship since 1972.
During his time at ETSU Wilson played under football head coach Ernest Hawkins.
After graduating from ETSU, Wilson was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 1981 and played with the team for 13 years. Wilson said that it was tough making it in the pros coming from outside the world of big-time college football.
“There were other quarterbacks from bigger schools that I was competing with,” Wilson told the Herald-Banner in 2016. “I was able to show (the Vikings) what I had and I made the squad.”
Wilson played in the NFL from 1981 until 1998, playing with the Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders. He was voted into the Pro Bowl in 1988 and led the league in completion percentage the same year. Wilson was the No. 2 quarterback behind Troy AIkman on the 1995 Cowboys team that won Super Bowl XXX.
Since retiring from playing, Wilson has worked as the quarterback coach for the Chicago Bears from 2004 to 2006, and with the Cowboys from 2000 to 2002, and again from 2007 until 2017, when his contract ended.
He was the longest-tenured assistant coach for the team by the time his contract ended in 2017. In his most recent stint with the Cowboys, he had the opportunity to work closely with Tony Romo and Dak Prescott.
“It’s the coolest thing. There’s no other organization I would rather be with,” Wilson said in 2016.
Growing up around football, Wilson developed a passion for the sport early on and was a fan of the Dallas Cowboys since then. His passion led him to play in high school and his senior year he helped lead the Commerce Tigers to 10 wins and a district championship.
“My father was a coach, so I grew up around football,” Wilson had said. “It was that background that really pushed me to play.”
No cause of death has been announced for Wilson, who died on his birthday.
Herald-Banner staff Ryan Scott and David Claybourn contributed to this report.