Remembering Miami Star Brian Pillman


Oct. 5 marks the anniversary of the death of Brian Pillman, best known for his professional wrestling career. Before entering the squared circle, however, Pillman was a standout defensive end at Miami University.

Yes, the same program noteworthy as the Cradle of Coaches was first the home of “Flyin'” Brian, though Pillman’s Miami days were allegedly much more comparable to his Loose Cannon character of the latter portion of his career.

Brian Pillman earned All-American recognition at Miami and set a school record for career tackles-for-loss. Pillman roomed with John Harbaugh in his time in Oxford. The Ravens head coach has never publicly divulged any stories of those days — none I can track down, anyway — but I have heard and read longtime wrestling announcer Jim Ross elude to Pillman’s time at Miami.

Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King did more than elude, sharing one story of Pillman’s exploits while on the Cincinnati Bengals.

Pillman’s NFL career was abbreviated, and he landed in World Championship Wrestling not long after the events of King’s story. In a nod to his pro football days, Flyin’ Brian donned tiger-striped trunks.

He also put on some of the greatest matches in American wrestling history, facing off with longtime rival Jushin “Thunder” Liger. Imagine MACtion in the confines of a wrestling ring.

Pillman’s wrestling exploits also included a tag team with Steve Austin, before he was Stone Cold but after he played some college football of his own at North Texas.

At the time of his death in 1997, Pillman was the mouthpiece for the Hart Foundation, the stable at the center of the World Wrestling Federation’s biggest angle of the time.