Steve Wiley, a beloved Utah State assistant equipment manager known as the "Night Runner," died Friday morning. He was 67.
A Vietnam veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for valor, Wiley volunteered to drive Utah State football equipment to away games for nearly two decades. He drove an estimated 150,000 miles on over 100 trips and refused to take any form of payment from the school. For the past eight years, Wiley worked for Utah State as an equipment manager.
For many Utah State football players, Wiley represented a father figure during their time in Logan, Utah. He was commonly referred to by the players as "Pops."
"He's told these kids' parents, 'I'll keep an eye on your kid,'" his son, Jeremy, told ESPN two weeks ago. "And he does. I know he truly and honestly cares about any kid that has worn that uniform, any coach that's been on the sidelines. You may not think it [when you] look at him, but he has about the biggest heart on the planet. When it comes down to it, he's a pretty big softy."
On Utah State's trip to Hawaii last month, Wiley development a septic infection and was in the hospital for a week, but his health had been improving. Wiley said last week he was feeling much better and the hiring of coach Gary Andersen, with whom he has matching Utah State tattoos, had him re-energized.
A Logan native, Wiley had a long career as a machinist before he retired eight years ago and officially joined the Utah State athletic department. He will be buried across the street from Utah State's Maverik Stadium next to his wife Rhonda, in a plot he picked because it has a view into the stadium.