NORTH HIGHLANDS – The California Grid Club of Sacramento honored former Cal defensive lineman and tight end Harrison Wilfley as its recipient of the 2014 Henry J. “Tiny” Bates Award.
Cal head coach Sonny Dykes and Director of Athletics Michael Williams were on hand for the Grid Club’s annual Tiny Bates Award Dinner on Monday evening at the Lions Gate Hotel in North Highlands where the award was presented to Wilfley.
“When I thought I couldn’t be rewarded any more for playing at Cal I was awarded with the Tiny Bates Award and was able to attend tonight’s award dinner,” Wilfley said. “What an honor and a half. I couldn’t be happier to receive such a noble award from such a noble family and such a noble organization. It is something I will remember for the rest of my life.”
"Harrison Wilfley was what we want every Cal student-athlete to be, a hard worker who earned his degree from the nation's top public university and contributed to our success as football program both on and off the field,” Dykes said. “We are honored to have presented him tonight with the prestigious Tiny Bates Award."
Wilfley played in a combined 23 of 24 possible games at Cal in 2012 and 2014 with a redshirt season in between and made one start in the second to last game of his career in the Big Game against Stanford. He saw action at three different positions (defensive end, defensive tackle, tight end) as well as on special teams, picking up six tackles and one quarterback hurry all as a 2014 senior.
Wilfley, who was 24 years old as a senior and graduated from Cal in December of 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in American Studies, spent two years on a Mormon mission during the 2010 and 2011 football seasons after playing two previous campaigns at American River College, where he was an All-Mid-Empire Conference selection as a 2009 sophomore.
The Tiny Bates Award is presented annually by the California Grid Club of Sacramento to a Northern California/Sacramento area senior on the Cal football team that exemplifies outstanding performance and citizenship both on the field and in the classroom. Bates was one of the co-founders of the club in 1947 and a right end for the Golden Bears in 1916 and 1917 under legendary head coach Andy Smith. The award was established in 1968 in Bates’ memory after his passing.
"We appreciate the support the Sacramento Grid Club provides to Cal football throughout the year,” Dykes said. “I always enjoy attending the Tiny Bates Award Dinner and am honored to pay tribute to a man so honored in Cal football history."