Interesting facts about Lions head football coach

Chris Willis

Students on campus know head football coach Chris Willis is working to recruit and train this year’s UNA Lions.

However, many do not know about his history with glam metal and massive card collection. Like everyone else, Willis has hobbies, interests and personal beliefs that are not shared with everyone.

Here is a list of interesting facts Willis shared with The Flor-Ala.

1. Willis has a large sports card collection.

He said he remembers card collecting being more common in the 70s and 80s.

“I would go to card shows like people go to comic book shows,” he said. “(People) would put them in hotel lobbies.”

Willis said he would sometimes play imaginary sports games by moving the cards on his carpet at home.

His collection now consists of 12-15,000 cards, including baseball, football and basketball players.

He said despite having several valuable cards, he wants to keep them to possibly pass on to his children.

“I’m teaching my kids who these people are,” he said. “It’s funny, (because) I sit around talking to my boys about who Michael Jordan and Larry Bird are, and they look at me like, ‘who?’”

2. Willis is a fan of The Avengers and classic horror movies.

Along with cards, Willis also collected Marvel’s Avengers comic books as a child.

Now that Marvel is releasing movies about them, he goes to see them with his children.

“I take my kids (to see them), but, to be honest, it’s probably just as much me wanting to go, too,” he said. “It’s pretty neat to be able to go at my age now, and it rehashes good memories.”

He said his favorite superhero has always been the Incredible Hulk.

Besides watching the live-action Hulk series with his family, his dad would also set up a theater-style projector, and they would watch old black-and-white horror movies

“You wouldn’t think that somebody’s parents would let them (watch these films), but that type of horror back then wasn’t like the horror movies you see today,” he said. “It was not graphic, (and) there was hardly ever any blood.”

3. Willis grew up a fan of glam metal bands.

He said he loved all the glam metal bands growing up, including Bon Jovi, Mötley Crüe and Def Leppard.

“I can’t tell you how many Def Leopard concerts (I went to),” he said. “They had some of the best music.”

Willis said, despite his love for the bands, he was not into headbanging.

He said as he has gotten older, his taste in music became subtler, but he still finds time to listen to different genres.

“I’ll play music in (my office) when I’m working and after hours,” he said. “My players like whatever music gets them fired up for a football game, so I listen to whatever they got going at the time.”

Willis said he occasionally still attends concerts, with a recent Eric Church performance in Nashville being one of the all-time favorite shows he has attended.

4. Willis enjoyed the simpler time before mainstream technology.

Willis said life went by “slower” before the introduction of a lot of today’s technological advances.

He said one major difference between his time as a child and today is, while he woke up on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons, there are now channels playing cartoons all the time.

“Today, kids have so much (entertainment) to choose from,” he said. “There’s so much more on TV.”

Willis said at home, his family puts their cell phones away to eat dinner. They also have game nights where they play board games.

“We want our kids to understand there was a time (before) iPads,” he said.

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