University News

NFL Great Mike Wagner to Serve as WIU Homecoming Grand Marshal

September 22, 2016

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MACOMB, IL -- Mike Wagner, former NFL great, has been named the grand marshal for the Western Illinois University 2016 Homecoming Celebration, "Rocky in Space: Our Pride is Out of this World."

Wagner, a Waukegan, IL, native, will return to his alma mater to preside over the 2016 activities, including the Oct. 8 Homecoming Parade, which begins at 10:30 a.m. He will also be recognized at half-time of the Leatherneck football game.

Wagner, who received a Bachelor of Business in Accountancy from WIU in 1971, played for 10 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers. As a starting safety, he played on all four Steeler Super Bowl championship teams as a member of the famed Steel Curtain defense. Wagner was a member of the Fighting Leatherneck Football team from 1967-1970, earning NAIA All-American status in 1969. He was inducted into the Western Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame in 1976.
He was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 11th round of the 1971 NFL Draft, the 268th overall selection. First looked at as a wide receiver on offense, he was soon switched to defense as a safety. Wagner tied for the NFL lead with eight interceptions in 1973, appeared in the 1975 and 1976 Pro Bowls and recorded 36 career interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries. He was a member of four Super Bowl championship teams, recording interceptions in Super Bowl IX and Super Bowl X. He ranks sixth on the Black and Gold's all-time interception list with 36 picks.

He retired in January 1981 and has worked in the investment banking industry for 35 years. Wagner holds an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh's Joseph Katz Graduate School of Business.

He is vice president of private banking at First National Bank of Pennsylvania.

For a complete homecoming schedule of events, visit and

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations