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Michael Leach

Michael Leach

Labor operations manager | NFL Management Council

He didn’t sack quarterbacks or run for first downs but Michael Leach seemed to spend as much time at Memorial Stadium as the Illini football players themselves. 

"Serving as a student equipment manager, and then eventually as the defensive charter during our Fighting Illini’s 2008 Rose Bowl run was special both for the campus as a whole, and for me personally," says Leach, now the labor operations manager for the NFL Management Council.

"Memorial Stadium was the place that helped me set the course for who I was becoming professionally. From hearing the sounds of cheering fans from the Block I section, to the tunes of our fantastic Marching Illini band, the excitement surrounding us in the stadium served as a great reminder that I was part of something bigger than myself, which definitely helped shape my perspective toward pursuing a career in the National Football League.

"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are in life, and Memorial Stadium is definitely the place where I developed the courage to pursue my dreams.”

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