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Mike Sandusky

Sport: Football

Born: March 14, 1935

Town: Bound Brook

Michael Sandusky was born March 14, 1935 in Newark and grew up in Bound Brook. As a boy, Mike broke his leg so badly doctors feared he might never walk unaided again. He recovered to become the star of the Bound Brook High football, wrestling and track teams. A burly, 5–10 200-pound lineman who played both ways, Mike was All-State for the Crusaders in 1952, and was the state heavyweight wrestling champion in 1953.

Mike earned a football scholarship from the University of Maryland. He was an All-American guard as a junior in 1955, and also wrestled for the Terps varsity. One of his more notable opponents was Henry Jordan of Virginia. They battle each other across the line in the NFL many times. He also was a member of the Maryland track team as a sophomore and junior.

The San Francisco 49ers picked Mike in the 4th round of the 1957 draft, and sold his rights to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He saw action on both sides of the ball as a rookie, and recovered two fumbles as a defensive lineman.

The Steelers’ coach was Buddy Parker, who had led the Lions to greatness earlier in the decade. He turned a lackluster club into a respectable team. They were .500 or better from 1957 to 1959. In 1960, Pittsburgh went 5–6–1 but Mike was named to the Pro Bowl. The team’s best year during Mike’s tenure was 1962, when it fashioned a 9–5 record behind 36-year-old quarterback Bobby Layne. Mike missed half the 1964 season due to injury but returned for one final year in 1965.

After leaving the NFL, Mike moved to Montgomery and opened a liquor store in nearby Somerville. He became a standout in various Somerset County softball leagues, and was the star pitcher for the team sponsored by GAF. In 1978, Mike was named to the ACC’s 25th Anniversary team.


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