Western Illinois Leathernecks Overview

Fast facts

League: NCAA Division I FCS

Head Coach: Myers Hendrickson

Team Mascot: Colonel Rock (Live Bulldog), Rocky (Costumed Bulldog)

Year Opened: 1950

Capacity: 16368

City / State: Macomb / Illinois

Rivalries & Top Games to Attend

Western Illinois vs Eastern Illinois

Rival Team: Eastern Illinois Panthers

The in-state rivalry between the Eastern Illinois Panthers and the Western Illinois Leathernecks dates back to 1930. The two teams were conference rivals until the Panthers move to the Ohio Valley Conference in 1996 developing a lot of bad blood between the two programs. While the rivalry hasn’t been played regularly since then, you won’t want to miss it when these two teams meet next.

Western Illinois vs Illinois State

Rival Team: Illinois State Redbirds

You won’t want to miss it when the Leathernecks take on in-state rivals Illinois State. There is always a lot at stake when these two Missouri Valley Football Conference rivals meet as not only are bragging rights on the line but also games in the standings.

Western Illinois vs Southern Illinois

Rival Team: Southern Illinois Salukis

Make sure to in attendance when in-state rivals Southern Illinois and Western Illinois square off.. Both teams entered the Missouri Valley Football Conference in 1985, and since then they have developed quite the rivalry.

Western Illinois Leathernecks Tailgate Guide


Western Illinois is home to a fantastic tailgating atmosphere, so you’ll want to bring the cooler, grill, tent, and more when visiting Macomb, Illinois. Everyone outside Hanson Field is abuzz on game days and everywhere you look you’ll see purple and gold clad fans celebrating a Leathernecks game day.

The majority of the tailgating takes place in Q Lot, which offers first come, first served tailgating and opens five hours before kickoff. Get here early to secure your spot and get the most out of your Western Illinois tailgating experience.

Before the game also make sure to head over to the student union and catch the WIU Marching Leathernecks pregame concert. The concert is a fantastic way to get into the Leathernecks game day spirit and is a must-see for anyone attending a Western Illinois football game.

Tailgating is one of the best parts of any Leathernecks football game, so arrive early and set up for a full day of tailgating fun at Western Illinois.


Bulldog Statue

Take your picture with the bulldog statue outside the main entrance. A picture of the statue is the perfect keepsake from your trip to Western Illinois, so stop by and snap a pic.

Band Concert

Don’t miss the WIU Marching Leathernecks pregame performance outside the student union. The concert starts an hour before kickoff and is an excellent way to get into the Leathernecks game day spirit.

play Watch video

Where to tailgate

Western Illinois Leathernecks Stadium Guide

In Game

You’ll find everything you could want in a college football game at Western Illinois making a trip to Macomb a must for any die-hard football fan. The atmosphere at Hanson Field is among the best in the FCS, and every game feels like it’s life and death thanks to the incredible support of the Leathernecks fans. The student section known as Purple Haze is especially vocal in their support, so if you want to be near the rowdiest section of the crowd make sure to get tickets near the student section.

College football fans will also love the pageantry on display at Hanson Field. The Marching Leathernecks put on a fantastic performance throughout the game, and if you like mascots, then you’ll love both Colonel Rock and Rocky.

Finally, get to the stadium early as you’ll want to take the opportunity to see the Lee Calhoun statue. The statue honors the former Western Illinois track coach and Olympic gold medalist making it a must-see for any sports fan.

A Western Illinois football game is a fantastic experience for anyone who loves college football so get your tickets to a Leathernecks game today.

Things to check out

Lee Calhoun Statue

Stop by and check out the Lee Calhoun statue inside the stadium. The statue honors the two time Olympic gold medalist and former Western Illinois track and field coach, and it is a must-see for any fan of Leathernecks athletics.

Soldier Plaques

Hanson Field is dedicated to the Western Illinois students who served in World War I and World War II, so check out the plaques dedicated to them. The plaques are located on the southwest side of the stadium and do a great job of honoring these men and women.

WIU Marching Leathernecks

Enjoy the performance of the Marching Leathernecks throughout the game. The band puts on a great show, and their in-game music is also fantastic making them one of the best parts of any WIU football game.

play Watch video

Colonel Rock

Colonel Rock is the leathernecks live mascot and is named after former WIU football coach and athletic director Ray “Rock” Hanson. You won’t want to miss the loveable Colonel Rock at the game so keep an eye out for him during your visit.

play Watch video


Rocky is the Western Illinois’s costumed mascot and is a fun part of any Leathernecks game. He gets into all kinds of antics at games, so don’t miss Rocky during your trip to Hanson Field.

play Watch video


Join the cheerleaders as they cheer on the Leathernecks to victory. The cheerleaders do a great job of riling up the crowd during the game, so join in and help the Leathernecks take home the W.

play Watch video

Fight Songs

  1. “We’re Marching On”

    Fight Song

    We are marching on ‘neath the Purple and Gold;
    We are singing a song that will never grow old.
    All the Sons and Daughters of Western, today, go marching on.
    W-E-S-T-E-R-N Yea! Western

    Hail to Western, true and loyal,
    We are here to win this day.
    When you see those conqu’ring heroes
    Marching down the way (Rah! Rah! Rah!)
    Ev’ry heart and voice will sing this melody of vict’ry’s song:
    Fling out the Purple and the Gold, We’re Marching On.

  2. “Western Loyalty”

    Alma Mater

    Western students come together, Learning life’s new way to pave.
    Paths before us, ever striving, Purple, gold, our color’s brave.
    We all hold the keys within us. With new knowledge we will grow.
    Stronger in our bond unyielding, Truer to the world we know.

    Hail to Western, Alma Mater, May we honor thy fair name.
    Hail to Western, ever greater, on to conquest and to fame.

  3. “Georgia on My Mind”

    The Marching Leathernecks signature song, Dale Hopper’s arrangement of “Georgia On My Mind,” has been an audience favorite at Western since 1982. Hopper retired in May 2002 following 23 years as Western, including 20 years as director of bands. He died unexpectedly Sept. 16, 2005, but the band director’s legacy lives on in “Georgia.”

  4. “Hot Time”

    Late last night while we were all in bed,
    Mother O’Leary with the lantern in the shed,
    And then the cow kicked it over, and winked her eye and said,
    “It’ll be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight.”

Western Illinois Leathernecks Bars & Restaurants

  1. The Cafe

    Beer mug Crafty Rooster

    Where friendship is strong, and the drinks are stronger!

    8 West Side Square, Macomb, IL 61455, USA

    Bar website

    american - $$

  2. Jackson Street Pub

    Jackson Street Pub

    A cozy comfortable place that serves amazingly good food!

    835 W Jackson St, Macomb, IL 61455, USA

    Bar website

    american - $

  3. The Ritz

    The Ritz

    Great atmosphere, great people, awesome drink specials, good times!

    215 N Randolph St, Macomb, IL 61455, USA

    Bar website

    american - $$

  4. Sports Corner 124

    Sports Corner

    A great abundance of good beers and awesome service!

    124 N Randolph St, Macomb, IL 61455, USA

    Bar website

    american - $$

  5. Chubby’s


    Great food and good times right on The Square!

    2 West Side Square, Macomb, IL 61455, USA

    Bar website

    american - $

  6. Chick’s on the Square

    Taphouse burger Riverfront Bar Grill

    Fast fresh food, never frozen and prepared daily, served in a fun atmosphere at a fair price.

    103 S Side Square, Macomb, IL 61455, USA

    Bar website

    american - $$

  7. Vitale’s Restaurant & Pizzeria

    Vitales Restaurant Pizzeria

    Flavorful Italian pasta, pizza, sandwiches, and excellent service!

    403 W Jackson St, Macomb, IL 61455, USA

    Bar website

    pizza - $$

  8. International Sandwich Shop

    International Sandwich Shop

    Original family-owned bread recipe and freshly baked (in-house) bread, specialty deli meats that are sliced daily, and homemade ingredients!

    711 W Adams St, Macomb, IL 61455, USA

    Bar website

    american - $

  9. Rocky’s Bar & Grill

    Rockys Bar Grill

    Come to Rocky's for Great Food, Great Service, and Great Prices!

    1420 W Jackson St, Macomb, IL 61455, USA

    Bar website

    american - $$

  10. Palermo Pizza & Subs

    Pizza Palermo Subs Missys Village

    Such a loveable place where good food is served!

    1701 W Jackson St, Macomb, IL 61455, USA

    Bar website

    italian - pizza - $

  11. Gelsosomo’s Pizzeria

    Pizza Ye Olde Pub

    Longtime chain known for thin- & thick-crust pies, pastas & other Italian staples.

    221 N Randolph St, Macomb, IL 61455, USA

    Bar website

    pizza - $

  12. Z’s Breakfast & Lunch

    Exit 62 Truck Stop and Restaurant Breakfast Overlook Restaurant Breakfast Murphys Loft Breakfast Eggs Ken Marys Sunrise Family Restaurant

    Homemade, delicious and comforting food that everyone will love.

    307 W University Dr, Macomb, IL 61455, USA

    Bar website

    american - $