TIGER KICKOFF: What is a Leatherneck anyway?

Thursday, September 15, 2011 | 11:30 p.m. CDT; updated 2:49 p.m. CDT, Friday, September 16, 2011

Location: Macomb, Ill. (Approximately 180 miles northeast of Columbia)

Enrollment (2010): 9,282 undergraduates and 1,085 graduate students at the Macomb campus.

Tuition: $17,628 for in-state (includes Missouri, Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa residents) and $21,327 for out-of-state students.

Leather what? The school's nickname is the Fighting Leathernecks. Ray "Rock" Hanson, the school's athletic director, baseball, basketball and football coach, received permission from the U.S. Navy to use the Marine Corps' official nickname, the Fighting Leathernecks.

The nickname for the Marines derives from the stiff leather collar the marines used to wear until 1872.

The English bulldog, which is used as Western Illinois' logo and mascot, is also the mascot of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Justice for all: The No. 1 major at Western Illinois is Law Enforcement and Justice Administration.

Although it's a haven for future police workers, Macomb's crime rating from is 15/100, just one point higher than Columbia's 14/100.

Whipped into shape: In 2000, Western Illinois alumnus Joe Decker set the "Guinness World Records 24-hour Physical Fitness Challenge" record, allowing him to bill himself the World's Fittest Man. There is some debate about this, however. The U.K.'s Paddy Doyle has many more world records than Decker, and bills himself as the World Fitness Endurance Champion. World's Fittest Man or not, though, Decker's story is an impressive one.

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