Oklahoma State is in mourning over the loss of one of its greats, Rusty Hilger.
The OSU football program confirmed Tuesday that Hilger has passed away. While there was no cause of death given by the school, Hilger’s coach at OSU, Pat Jones, told Tulsa World that the former quarterback’s health had been in decline for years. News9.com in Oklahoma City noted that Hilger had battled cancer for years.
The Oklahoma City native was 57 at the time of his passing.
Hilger, who was famously given the 30th and final scholarship as part of Jones’ 1980 recruiting class, play for OSU from 1980-84. Three times (1981, 83-84), he was a letterman. In 1983, he was named MVP of the Bluebonnet Bowl. The following year, Hilger quarterbacked the Cowboys to the first 10-win season in program history.
From the school’s press release:
To this day, Hilger’s name still appears prominently in the Oklahoma State record book. He set single-season school records for pass completions, pass attempts and passing yards in 1984 and remains in the top 10 in school history for career pass attempts, career pass completions, career passing yards and career completion percentage, among other categories.
Hilger went on to an eight-year career in the NFL. He spent time with the Los Angeles Rams, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks.
Hilger’s alma mater is in the midst of prepping for their Dec. 27 matchup with Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl. It’s unclear if the football program will honor Hilger in some form or fashion during the game.