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Wade Denniston, USU Athletics

Longtime Aggie equipment manager, 'Night Runner' dies at 67

By Sean Walker, KSL.com | Posted - Dec 22nd, 2018 @ 11:09am


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LOGAN — Steve Wiley was an integral part of the success of Utah State football over the years.

He wasn’t a player, nor a coach, or even a high-level university administrator within the athletic department.

But he was one thing to the Aggies: family.

Wiley, a longtime Utah State supporter and assistant equipment manager, has died, the school announced Friday. He was 67.

Nicknamed "The Night Runner," Wiley was in charge of driving the Aggies’ equipment trucks across long distances for nearly 20 years, beginning with a trip to New Mexico State on Oct. 21, 1995.

He drove the Aggies through the Big West, the Western Athletic and the Mountain West conferences — even a brief stop in the Sun Belt — and put approximately 150,000 miles on various vehicles across 100 road trips.

Underpaid and unpaid through much of his career — by choice in most cases, Wiley did his job at significant expense, simply because of his love of Aggie athletics.

His intense fandom was recently chronicled by ESPN as he finished his career at Utah State while suffering from chronic health problems.

"Steve is Aggie through and through," former coach Matt Wells told ESPN at the time, detailing a relationship that went back to Wells’ time as a Utah State quarterback in 1993. "He bleeds Aggie blue. That is a man who loves his job, loves the players, loves the coaches and remembers every single person that’s been in that building as a coach or a player."

Other players and alums expressed their shock and feelings via Twitter upon the news of his death.

"Man, this one hurts," wrote former Utah State standout Nevin Lawson, now with the Detroit Lions. "Rest in peace, my guy. One of the most genuine humans I ever met."

Added former Aggie quarterback Kent Myers: "Such a great guy; not many people like him around. We go way back. You will forever be missed."

Born Dec. 22, 1950, Wiley was a helicopter crew chief during the Vietnam War, where he earned a Bronze Star for valor. As a proud veteran, he carried the American flag to the field prior to each Utah State home game over the past three years and handed it off to the assigned player for that week’s honor.

Wiley was also involved in other areas of the football program, such as welcoming opposing teams' families to Maverik Stadium and handing each player and staff their post-game meal following every game — win or lose.

"The Utah State athletics family is shocked and saddened at the passing of Steve Wiley," Utah State athletic director John Hartwell said in a statement. "He has been a positive fixture of Aggie football and Aggie athletics for many years. Steve’s legacy and influence will forever be etched into Aggie athletics. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family."

Wiley was preceded in death by his wife, Rhonda, who passed away 11 years ago after a battle with cervical cancer. Rhonda Wiley was buried in a family plot that overlooks Maverik Stadium in Logan.

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Sean Walker

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