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Kirk Gardner competed in football at Wayne State College from 1975-77 where he was a starting fullback for three seasons. Gardner, a graduate of Wakefield High School, was a two-time state wrestling champion in high school. He earned three letters in football at Wayne State and was named team co-captain. Gardner scored a team-high eight touchdowns in the 1976 season, rushing for 511 yards from his fullback position. He was named Most Valuable Back that season and was named to the Nebraska College Conference All Star Team. As a senior in 1977, he scored five touchdowns and rushed for 345 yards while helping the Wildcats to a 7-3 record. He was the lead blocker for Bob Barry, who gained a then school record 1,130 yards that season. Gardner went on to earn All-NAIA District 11 and Central States Intercollegiate Conference honorable mention honors during his senior season. He is a trustee of the Gardner Foundation and member of the Wayne State Foundation Board of Trustees. His significant support and contributions to Wayne State College have been very instrumental in the resurgence of Wildcat athletics. Gardner, who resides in Bellevue, was inducted into the Wayne State Athletics Hall of Fame on September 30, 1995.