McWillie was born in Humboldt and lived for a time in Watson before moving to Saskatoon as a youngster. He started playing softball as a student at Thornton school, but he commenced as a centre fielder. When he got a chance to pitch, he did just fine and has been tossing balls and strikes (mostly strikes) ever since.
Gene has recorded so many perfect games, no-hitters and one-hitters that no one can come up with the exact figure. As soon as he moved up to the senior level he was picked to play with the Weyburn Canadians in 1987. Weyburn went on to win the Canadian championship. hat team has been enshrined in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.
Locally he has performed for the Merchants, Molsons, Rempel Brothers, and the Jacks of the Old Western Major Fastball league and All-o-matic A's. He was honoured in 1986 at a "Gene McWillie Day" by his many friends. He has appeared in Canadian championships and world championships and gained a gold medal at the Pan-American Games.