Join us as we celebrate the Ray "Rock" Hanson era at Western Illinois University and honor the memory of this celebrated man through the Rock Hanson vintage collection. This felt pennant is 12" x 30" and features a portrait of Rock Hanson himself along with the vintage W logo circa 1928.
Who is Rock Hanson?
The legacy of Western Illinois University's legendary athletic director and coach Ray "Rock" Hanson lives on today. Through the Leathernecks nickname to the school's mascot, and now the Rock Hanson Vintage Collection, the iconic symbol of Western's past is very much a part of the present. The famed Marine Corps Colonel and World War I and World War II hero was a part of the Leatherneck family from 1926 until his retirement in 1964.
Colonel Hanson began his tenure at Western (then called Western Illinois State Teachers College) in 1926. Hanson, who coached football, baseball, and basketball, served as director of the physical education department and is distinguished as the longest-serving athletic director at Western. Even after his retirement, Coach Hanson remained active at Western and in the Macomb community. He passed away January 4, 1982, at the age of 86.
Col. Rock III (A/K/A Rocky), and English Bulldog and Western's mascot, is named in honor of this brave recipient of the Silver Star Citation for Bravery, a French Croix de Guerre, and a Purple Heart. The intercollegiate athletics teams are the Fighting Leathernecks, thanks to Col. Hanson. Rock's determination and persistence, along with his Marine Corps legacy, helped secure the Fighting Leathernecks as WIU's team name. Western Remains the only public school in the U.S. with permission to use the Leathernecks as its nickname.