As a member of two NAIA District II Championship teams and one of the greatest rushers to ever grace Maxwell Field, Leo Sloan of the Class of 1980 put together a fabulous career to earn his place in the Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame.
Sloan is one of just eight players in Wildcat football lore to rush for 1,000 or more yards in a single season, racking up 1,932 yards over four years, the ninth-highest total of all time.
“Leo had talent to burn, consistently scoring touchdowns in any situation,” recalled former teammate Michael Evergin. Nicknamed ‘Bacon’ for his talents carrying the pigskin, Sloan “could grind it up the middle or bounce outside for sparkling runs of 40 yards or more.”
The dynamic rusher could catch, too. One of the most memorable plays of Sloan’s career was a diving one-handed grab on fourth down that gave the ‘Cats a one-point victory over archrival Pacific Lutheran.
That was during Sloan’s junior year, 1978, in which he ran for 1,029 yards and eight touchdowns. He was named to the all-Northwest Conference, NAIA District 2 and Little All-Northwest first teams, and was an honorable mention consideration for the NAIA All-America and AP Small College All-America squads.
He was also honored as the offensive player of the game for Linfield’s NAIA playoff quarterfinal victory over Carroll (Mont.). Playing at home as the nation’s No. 1 team, the Wildcats overwhelmed the Fighting Saints 32-6 while setting a program record with 419 rushing yards, 179 gained by Sloan. It was one of five occasions in which he rushed for more than 100 yards that season.
Linfield came two wins away from capturing its second national football title that year, falling to eventual champion Concordia (Minn.) in the semifinals, 24-23.
As a senior, Sloan rushed for 538 yards and four touchdowns, earning honors as a first team all-league and all-district selection, second team all-Northwest pick and all-America honorable mention.
Sloan’s speed translated easily to the track. He competed in one season (1980) for the Wildcats, running on the team’s conference-champion 4x100 relay team and also placing second in the 100-meter dash to teammate, school record holder and Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame member Dave Fruendshuh. His efforts helped the Wildcats claim the league team title, their fifth of the decade.
Sloan, a physical education major, was also active in several other campus activities, from coordinating intramural programs to leading social service programs.
“Leo was a mentor on many levels,” Evergin said. “He was a fantastic teammate in and out of the locker room and could be depended on for good advice on all manner of subjects relating to college life at Linfield.”
Sloan briefly continued his football career after Linfield, playing one year with the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League. He served our nation as a member of the armed forces for many years, calling, among other places, Germany and Italy his home away from home. Sloan currently resides in Henderson, Nev., where he is co-owner of a promotional company based in Las Vegas.
He and his wife, Maura, have two grown daughters: Carmel and Portia.