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Red River Athletics Hall of Fame member, Nebraska football star Bill Janssen dies at 73

Nov. 29—GRAND FORKS — One of the first star athletes at Grand Forks Red River High School, who would later become a national champion at Nebraska, passed away last week at 73.

Janssen, whose father was stationed at the Grand Forks Air Force Base, attended both Central and Red River, where he graduated in 1968.

Janssen is a member of the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame (2021) and Grand Forks Red River High School Athletic Hall of Fame (2022).

Janssen was the starting defensive tackle and co-captain of the 1972 Cornhuskers. He was a two-time national champion with Nebraska and on four Big Eight Conference title teams.

Janssen played in three Orange Bowls and graced the cover of Sports Illustrated twice.

After college, the 6-foot-4 Janssen was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the eighth round of the 1973 NFL Draft.

Janssen lasted one camp with the Steelers. Janssen played offensive line with the Steelers but said he was beat around pretty good by Pittsburgh's Steel Curtain of Mean Joe Greene, LC Greenwood, Ernie Holmes and Dwight White.

In 1974, Janssen played in the World Football League for the New York Stars and the Charlotte Hornets.

Janssen, battled Parkinson's disease, first worked in finance in St. Peter, Minn., owning an Edward Jones branch. Most recently, he was vice president and manager at Ameritas in Lincoln, Neb.

The Grand Forks Herald

profiled Janssen

ahead of the college football game between UND and Nebraska in 2022.