His passion to succeed took Tom Wiesner from a small town in Wisconsin to the lofty heights of the NFL to one of Las Vegas’ most prosperous businessman. However, his passion for building a community of which we can all be proud is what led to his induction to the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame.
After graduating from Neenah High School in Wisconsin, Wiesner signed to play football for the University of Wisconsin. In 1959, Wiesner and the Fighting Badgers were the Big 10 Champions. The following year, he was selected as co-captain and Most Valuable Player. He led his team to the 1960 Rose Bowl. After college, Wiesner enjoyed a brief career in professional football, when drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the NFL out of college. He was later traded to the Los Angeles Rams. Upon leaving the NFL, Wiesner moved to semi-pro football where he played for two years.
In 1963, Wiesner left his football days behind when he moved to Las Vegas. In Las Vegas, he became known, not as fullback and linebacker, but as a businessman and humanitarian.
Wiesner was the owner and operator of the well-known Big Dog’s Hospitality Group. He developed the Las Vegas Athletic Clubs and owned the former Marina Hotel and Casino, where the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino now stands.
Wiesner, although not a Las Vegas native, took an active part in helping the city develop as not only one of the world’s top vacation destinations, but also as a community that Las Vegas residents can be proud of.
Wiesner’s support can be seen in several aspects of the community. He was involved in several community efforts such as the Nevada Development Authority, the Clark County Commission and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas.
Wiesner was a major supporter of UNLV through the years. He founded the UNLV Football Foundation, which helps to improve the quality of higher education through donations for scholarships, research facilities and other enhancements.
He passed away in 2002.
Born: February 28, 1939
Claim to Fame: Weisner was a major supporter of UNLV throughout the years.