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Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson

World Series of Poker | $700,000-plus in winnings | Class of 1995

Long before he bagged more than $700,000 competing in the World Series of Poker, Brian Wilson got his kicks in another sport.

“Playing club hockey at the ice rink on campus with a bunch or rowdy fans on Friday and Saturday nights was fun — especially when I would pick a random fight with a player from the other team so I could get kicked out and go drinking early if the game was a blowout," Wilson says from his Cape Coral, Fla., home.

“During one of these games, I had a player from Northwestern tell me that I would eventually be working for him because he was smarter and Northwestern was a better school. A few shifts later, I lined him up for a vicious check. After I knocked his socks off, I said to him ‘I guess I better kick your (tail) now so you remember who I am.’

“I also remember singing ‘American Pie’ at the bar at midnight at Murphy’s or White Horse back in the day, working for the Champaign-Urbana Bandits minor league baseball team when Carlton Fisk did an autograph signing for us and we drew 3,000 fans instead of the usual 100, and taking the entire Illini offensive line to Vegas after the 1994 Liberty Bowl and watching Jonathan Kerr imitate and dance like Elvis all over Vegas.”

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