Randy York's N-Sider
Somehow, it’s appropriate that the last intercollegiate competition
that will count as a win or a loss in the history of the NU Coliseum will be Nebraska's 7 o’clock Friday night wrestling match against Michigan State. Is there
anything more worthy than giving the oldest recorded sport in the nation’s
oldest athletic conference the honor of bringing down the curtain in celebration of one of
this state’s most historic structures?
Friday Night at the Coliseum will be one wrestler’s
will pitted against another’s in primal combat. And that, in its own inimitable
way, will salute all Husker wrestlers from the past, whether they competed
inside the Coliseum or the Devaney Center. As the Huskers prepare to host the
last competitive event that counts inside this once dimly lit facility, we
share 10 celebratory facts for wrestling to exit stage left, while Nebraska’s
volleyball team, the building’s longest anchored tenant, waits to bid its own farewell with three spring exhibition matches against Creighton, Iowa State and
doesn’t get any better than having Jordan
Burroughs, the world’s hottest wrestler, in Lincoln so he can be honored
between Friday night’s fifth and sixth matches. America’s highly celebrated and
widely publicized Olympic gold medalist also is set to answer questions beginning
at 6 p.m. on Youth Wrestling Night. The Coliseum doors will open at 5:30 p.m.
to accommodate this uniquely timed Q&A.
2) Nebraska Wrestling Coach Mark Manning will honor NU Athletic Director Emeritus Tom Osborne with a guest coaching spot on the bench. It's Manning's own special tribute to a life skills mentor who also has spearheaded the transformation of the
program’s facilities. With a giant-sized wrestling room,
four new mats and 40 custom-made, backlit lockers, the Huskers
now have what it takes to recruit in the Big Ten.
3) Friday is Senior Night
for starters Josh Ihnen, Ridge
Kiley and Tyler
Grande and Michael
Klinginsmith also will be honored. Grande, a three-time letterwinner
from Palatine, Ill., is a 2012 Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and, through a
relative, has become a role model for supporting a young Alabama wrestler with
cerebral palsy. Klinginsmith, a two-time letterwinner and
4.0 student from Kearney, Neb., will bypass his final year of eligibility to
attend med school at UNMC in Omaha this fall.
4) Nebraska's 2012-13 wrestling motto is Tough ... Together, so it's only fitting to acknowledge
Gardner, the Huskers’ other Olympic gold medalist and permanent fixture on the Olympic highlight reel. In a shocking upset of three-time Russian Olympic
champion Aleksandr Karelin, Gardner won
the Greco-Roman heavyweight title in 2000, handing Karelin his first loss in 13 years of international competition.
the years, Nebraska has produced five other Olympians in addition to Burroughs
and Gardner, who also won an Olympic bronze. They are: Dan Brand (fifth, lightweight & bronze middleweight in
1960 and ’64); Jim Scherr (fifth at 198 in ‘88), Bill Scherr (bronze at
220 in ’88); Matt Lindland (silver at
167 in 2000); and Brad Vering (eleventh
at 185 in 2004 and an Olympic Team spot at 185 in 2008).
Huskers claim three world champion wrestlers – Bill Scherr (90 kg Freestyle in 1985); Gardner (130 kg Greco-Roman in 2001) and Burroughs (74 kg Freestyle in 2011). NU also has four world
runners-up – Bill Scherr (100 kg Freestyle,
1986); Jim Scherr, 90 kg Freestyle,
1987 and 1989); Lindland (85 kg
Greco-Roman, 2001); and Vering (84
kg, Greco-Roman, 2007).
has 11 individual NCAA national champions with Burroughs winning two following unbeaten regular seasons (35-0 at
157 in 2009 and 36-0 at 165 in 2011). The other nine: Mike Nissen (123, 1963); Jim
Scherr (177, 1984); Bill Scherr
(190, 1984); Jason Kelber (126, 1991);
Tony Purler (126, 1993); Tolly Thompson (Hwt., 1995); Brad Vering (197, 2000); Jason Powell (125, 2004) and Paul Donahoe (125, 2007).
wrestling teaches such valuable lessons as self-discipline and perseverance, no
wonder the Scherr twins – natives of Mobridge, S.D. – have succeeded in life. Jim,
once the CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee, is now CEO of a marketing firm and Bill
is the vice president of a global investment firm. Former Husker John Myers is the founder of a digital
design and effects studio and Judd
Norman owns an investment firm.
9) After coaching Nebraska to a share of the 2009 Big 12 Conference Championship at the Coliseum,
Manning is on a solid 13-year run as head coach. His Husker teams have an
overall record of 173-65-3, including a 27-20 mark at home against ranked teams. The Huskers have finished in the Top
Eight at five NCAA Championships and accumulated 32 All-America honors, including five individual national titles.
next fall, Nebraska wrestling will compete in a $20 million remodeled Devaney
Center that will be home to NU volleyball and men’s and women’s gymnastics. Here
are wrestling’s highlights: 91 All-America honors; 45 NWCA All-Academic
selections; 18 Top Ten NCAA team finishes; 15 USA World Championship medals; 11
individual national champions; 10 Olympians; and six CoSIDA Academic
(The N-Sider will take readers on a nostalgic Coliseum journey on Monday).
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