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July 12, 2013

NU officially announces addition of walk-on Wagner

Had it been anyone other than Mark Wagner on the phone, Nebraska head coach Tim Miles more than likely wouldn't have even given him the time of day.

But it was Wagner who called up Miles last spring and brought up the idea of having his son, Tim Wagner, possibly head down to Lincoln following his senior year at Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau (Wis.) High School and walk-on with the Huskers next season.

Seeing how this was the same Mark Wagner who had been Miles' best friend since 1985 when the two were in college together at the University of Mary (N.D.) and who had helped Miles get some key players at Mayville State as a junior college coach in Wisconsin, Miles said it was a no-brainer to let Tim come and join his recently inherited program.

It certainly didn't hurt that Tim Wagner was a pretty darn good player, either.

"Tim Wagner is a guy who's dad was one of my best friends in college," Miles said. "I've known his dad, Mark, since 1985. When Mark came to me and said 'Would you consider Tim?' I said, 'Absolutely. This guy's like blood.' He's a good player. He's that prototypical non-scholarship guy you want who could maybe have an impact on your program."

While the news that Tim Wagner planned to join the Huskers broke back in April, Miles officially confirmed the addition to HuskerOnline.com on Friday morning.

Tim Wagner averaged 23.8 points per game for G-E-T last season to lead the Red Hawks to a 20-5 record and a trip to the WIAA Division 3 sectional semifinal. Though they lost in that game, Wagner reeled off 33 points, including six 3-pointers, in his final high school game.

He was named the Coulee Conference Player of the Year for his efforts, and the four-year starter ended his prep career 1,354 points. On top of all that, he boasted a 3.95 GPA, which is why he's set to receive an academic scholarship from Nebraska. Wagner turned down a partial athletic scholarship from Division II Winona State to walk-on at NU.

Miles said the main reason he might have been hesitant at first to bring in a non-Nebraska kid in as a preferred walk-on was he generally likes to reserve that honor for in-state prospects. However, given the fact that he's known Tim Wagner since the day he was born, Miles said he was OK with giving a little preferential treatment.

"He's an out-of-area kid," Miles said. "If it wasn't for this kind of personal relationship, it wouldn't happen. I'd rather keep those things in-state, but at the same time, I think this was a special exception."

If the name Mark Wagner sounds familiar to Husker fans, there is a reason. Prior to the Huskers trip to take on Indiana last season, Miles was asked if he had ever been to the Hoosiers' famed Assembly Hall before. This was his answer:

"I broke into that gym when I was in college. I trespassed, but the statute of limitations is out, so sorry folks. We had a lot of fun. Mark Wagner and I did that. Then we jumped the fence at Larry Bird's house down in French Lick. So it was a good weekend. Don't tell my mom. Just keep it between us."



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