Robert L. McMillen

Class of 1986 / Inducted 1991 / Football

Robert “Big Mac” McMillen, often described as one of the finest defensive players in Emory & Henry football history, was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in 1991, five short years after his graduation from the college.

McMillen’s freshman year coincided with Lou Wacker taking the helm of the Emory & Henry football team. After decades of struggle on the gridiron, the Wasps experienced a turnaround during McMillen’s career, going from an 1-8-1 record before he arrived to an 8-3 record and a share of the conference title his senior year.

The 5’11” defensive tackle made an immediate and lasting impact on the team. He was the team’s four-time defensive MVP and was the first player in ODAC history to be named to the All-Conference first-team squad all four years.

McMillen was voted to be a captain by his teammates in both his junior and senior years. In his junior year, the 1984 season, he led the team in solo tackles (54) and assists (36), and had 6 QB sacks. That year, the Wasps ranked among the top five teams in the nation in defending against the pass and outscored opponents by more than 2-to-1 margin. In the 1985 season, Emory & Henry ranked as the top conference team in offensive and defensive yardage, and offensive and defensive scoring; it’s no wonder, therefore, that they once again outscored opponents by more than 2-to-1 margin. That year, McMillen was named to the All-State First Team and Kodak/AFCA All-America First Team. He was also selected by Touchdown Club of Richmond as Virginia’s Small College Defensive Player of the Year; that same year, head coach Lou Wacker was recognized by the Club as Small College Coach of the Year.

McMillen was the team leader in solo tackles three out of four years. His impressive career statistics include 192 solo tackles, 115 assists, 4 fumble recoveries, 2 broken passes, 18 quarterback sacks.

McMillen, a native of Hopewell, Virginia, returned to Emory & Henry after graduating to serve as an assistant coach for several years before pursuing a business career in northern Virginia.