Sept. 23, 2008
IOWA CITY, IA – Former University of Iowa and NFL football standout Wally Hilgenberg passed away today at the age of 66. He died at his home in Prior Lake, MN. Hilgenberg was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2006 and had been in declining health.
Hilgenberg lettered three times (1961-63) for the Hawkeyes. He played both sides of the ball as an offensive guard and a linebacker. He was named co-captain of the 1963 Iowa team and was a third-team all-America selection. As a guard, he was named to the United Press International (UPI) first all-Big Ten team and to the Associated Press (AP) third team.
He was picked in the fourth round of the 1964 NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers following the 1967 season. He ultimately wound up with the Minnesota Vikings where he played 12 years and was part of four Viking Super Bowl teams. Hilgenberg was inducted into the Des Moines Register’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.
Hilgenberg was born September 19, 1942, in Marshalltown, IA. His brother, Jerry (1951-53) was an all-American center and is part of Iowa’s Varsity Club Hall of Fame.