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Without a doubt, Weber State University has had some fantastic athletes throughout the years. Some of them pursued a non-athletic career after graduation, others continued to play, and have had success at the next level of competition. Here is a look at the top five former Weber State athletes to have success in their sports on a professional or international level.
5) PAUL MCQUISTAN, NFL OFFENSIVE LINEMAN
After a four year career at Weber State, McQuistan was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft. After four seasons with little playing time due to injury, McQuistan was released from the Raiders. He bounced around between several teams, but ended up not stepping on the field for the 2010 season.
McQuistan signed with the Seattle Seahawks early in 2011, and ended up playing a key role in their offensive line for the next three seasons. He played in every game for the Seahawks from 2011 to 2013, starting 52 of the 83 games, while helping the Seahawks become one of the top five rushing offenses in the league.
After McQuistan and the Seahawks won the Super Bowl this year, he signed a two-year contract worth $3 million with the Cleveland Browns.
4) BILL SCHUFFENHAUER, WINTER OLYMPIAN
A track and field star at Weber State and the school record holder in the decathalon, Schuffenhauer was training for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney when he suffered an ankle injury that left him unable to compete.
While watching the United States Olympic bobsled team practicing, Schuffenhauer was offered the chance to be a pusher for the bobsled team. Schuffenhauer practiced with the bobsled team, and after one of the U.S. team members tested positive for steroids Schuffenhauer made it into the starting four for the team. His team ended up winning the silver medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
From there, Schuffenhauer participated in the 2003 and 2004 Bobsled World Championships, where he received the silver medal and bronze medal. Schuffenhauer competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics, placing 14th, and then appeared in his final Winter Olympics in 2010 at Vancouver, where he placed 13th.
3) WILLARD “WILLIE” SOJOURNER, ABA CENTER
At one point the highest drafted Wildcat basketball player, Sojourner played for four seasons in the now defunct-American Basketball Association.
Sojourner appeared in 309 games from 1971 to 1975, the most by any former Weber State player in the NBA or ABA. He played his rookie season alongside Hall of Famer Julius “Dr. J” Erving, and remained teammates with Erving over the course of his career.
Sojourner’s best season came during his rookie year with the Virginia Squires, when he put up career bests in field goal percentage (.496), rebounds (514), and points (568). His 514 rebounds were the third-highest total for a Squires player that year.
In 1973, Sojourner was traded with Erving to the New York Nets, where he would spend the final two years of his career. Sojourner finished fourth on the Nets in rebounds (335) and third in blocks (88) during the 1973-74 season, as the Nets went on to defeat the Utah Stars in the ABA Finals for the first ABA Title in franchise history.
To this day, he is still on the Nets career leaderboard, holding the eighth highest block percentage (3.6) and the seventh highest defensive rating (98.1). He is also 23rd in ABA history with 152 career blocks.
2) PAUL PILKINGTON, MARATHON RUNNER
Not only is Pilkington a former runner for Weber State, he is now entering his eighth year as head coach of the Wildcat cross country team.
During the early 1990s, Pilkington was an almost unstoppable force in the running community. In 1990, Pilkington finished first at the Houston Marathon with a time of 2:11:13, the 10th fastest time in the marathon’s 42-year history. He followed that performance up with a first place finish in the U.S. 20 kilometer championships in 1992 (1:03:09).
Pilkington had a big year in 1994, as he finished first in both the Los Angeles Marathon (2:12:13) and the U.S. National Marathon Championship, an accomplishment no other runner has ever done in the same year. Pilkington also holds the distinction of being the last American to finish in first place in the Los Angeles Marathon.
1) DAMIAN LILLARD, NBA POINT GUARD
Despite only playing two seasons so far, there is no question that Lillard is at the forefront of former Weber State athletes. The highest drafted Wildcat in any professional sport, Lillard began his career with a bang, scoring a double-double with 23 points and 11 assists against the Los Angeles Lakers in his first career game.
Lillard’s averages of 19 points, 6.5 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game, as well as making an NBA rookie record 185 three-point field goals, led to him becoming the fourth ever unanimous NBA Rookie of the Year.
He followed up his Rookie of the Year-winning season by getting selected for his first career All-Star Game. During the NBA All-Star Weekend, Lillard made history as he became the first player ever to compete in all five All-Star Weekend events: the Rising Stars Challenge, the Skills Challenge, the Three-Point Shootout, the Dunk Contest and the All-Star Game.
Lillard led the Portland Trail Blazers to their first second-round appearance in 14 years in dramatic fashion earlier this year, as he made a game-winning three pointer at the buzzer to give the Blazers a 4-2 series win over the Houston Rockets.