This week we were honored to have a nationally prominent speaker on the UNL campus. Elaine Pasqua is an advocate for responsible choices. A four-time nominee for Best Speaker of the Year by Campus Activities Readers Choice Awards, she was in Lincoln to address the impact of high-risk behaviors. For the last 16 years, Elaine has shared her life experience, passion and expertise in an attempt to transform the lives of nearly 250,000 students at more than 500 universities and colleges. She also provides extensive training for collegiate student-athletes and professional football, basketball and baseball players. Elaine addressed our first-year student-athletes and a number of our athletic department coaches and staff as well as other groups on campus. Elaine exudes positive energy to get her points across on difficult topics such as sex, drugs and alcohol.
Elaine gave an interactive presentation to our Husker Life Seminar students Sunday night for an audience of freshmen and transfer student-athletes. Her presentation followed a heart-wrenching message from guest speaker Lloyd Roberts, a father who lost his daughter to drunk driving. Monday morning, Elaine addressed athletic department staff and coaches with an informal presentation about current national trends and perceptions associated with negative behavior. Lastly on Monday evening, Elaine led a “Do It Sober” interactive presentation for an estimated 2,000 UNL students at the Lied Center. She focused on education and encouragement in delivering a message about high-risk behaviors.
We appreciate Elaine coming to our campus and sharing her insight on how we can join together to combat current high-risk behavior issues. Our primary objective will always be the health and welfare of our student-athletes.
On October 7th and 8th, I attended the Fall Big Ten Conference Joint Group meetings. This was the first meeting in the new conference office complex in Rosemont, Illinois. In addition to Directors of Athletics, the Senior Women’s Administrators and the Faculty Athletics Representatives also attend. Nebraska was well-represented by Senior Associate Athletics Director Pat Logsdon and UNL Richard H. Larson Professor of Constitutional Law Josephine Potuto, respectively. We covered a variety of topics in the tight two-day schedule, including: NCAA governance, football scheduling and recruiting legislation, integration of Maryland and Rutgers in regular season and postseason scheduling, future championship sites and the Big Ten Network. We are very fortunate to be a member of the finest intercollegiate athletics conference in the country with tremendous leadership from top to bottom.
I had the pleasure of speaking to more than 250 former letterwinners at Pinnacle Bank Arena this past Thursday evening at an N-Club event. They enjoyed an all-access tour of the arena and heard from our men’s and women’s basketball coaches as well. Keith Zimmer and his staff have done a wonderful job transforming the N-Club in a short period of time.
I also spoke at the UNMC College of Dentistry reunion on October 4th and was amazed to learn that more than 60 of our former student-athletes have graduated from the college. The list is impressive and includes four Academic All-Americans: Don Fricke (Football), Dennis Claridge (Football), Heidi Wall Stark (Golf) and Koko Tacha (Softball). Dean John Reinhardt was very gracious to invite me to speak and has done a tremendous job leading the College of Dentistry.
Saturday morning before the Illinois game I spoke at Chancellor Harvey Perlman’s tailgate at the Lied Center and visited with many fans in the parking lots on my way back to Memorial Stadium. I appreciate all the fans who stuck it out to the end in the brisk weather conditions and congratulate the Homecoming Royalty, including the King and Queen—Anders Olson of Tekamah and Jordyn Lechtenberg of Ainsworth.
It was an exciting weekend culminated by watching the volleyball team’s Big Ten win over Wisconsin on Saturday evening. I had the pleasure of attending Saturday’s five-game win over the Badgers with Governor Dave Heineman and First Lady Sally Ganem when Kelsey Robinson dominated with 29 kills hitting .393 for the match. Coach John Cook has done an amazing job with this very young and talented squad and Kelsey’s leadership and play has been inspiring as well.
Until next time, stay positive and Go Big Red!
I was honored to assist N-Club Director Keith Zimmer in hosting approximately 250 Husker Letterwinners last Thursday at Pinnacle Bank Arena. All those attending received an all-access tour of our new home for Nebraska Basketball. The night before the Eagles played in the same building, N-Club members had an opportunity to socialize with their peers–something we plan to do on a quarterly basis going forward. New men’s basketball assistant Kenya Hunter shared his excitement about selling out the arena six months in advance, drawing 8,000 fans for an early fall scrimmage and described the talent that returns and the new names and faces on the roster. Women's basketball assistant coaches Sunny Smallwood and Shimmy Gray-Miller expressed similar enthusiasm about their hopes of building another Big Ten Conference contender around All-American Jordan Hooper.
Purchase Your Women's Basketball Tickets Now
All Husker fans are invited to our Big Red Tip-Off Tuesday Event for women’s basketball on Oct. 15, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. It’s a free event and a chance for fans to come in and see where their seats are located or to purchase specific seats for the season. With the current marketing campaign, we have increased our season tickets sold by 1,002 and now have 3,108 tickets sold. The season ticket campaign ends on Nov.8–the date you can see the Huskers in action for their first regular-season game. Season tickets begin at $80 for general admission seats and $160 for reserved seats. We hope you will come out Tuesday to see Coach Connie Yori’s 2013-14 team, meet the players and get their autographs.
The University of Nebraska was awarded one of four regional host sites for the 2014 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament, announced by the NCAA on Wednesday, Oct. 9. The Huskers will host the four-team regional at Pinnacle Bank Arena in downtown Lincoln, March 29 through April 1. In the last four years of the NCAA Tournament, Coach Connie Yori has guided two of her teams to the Sweet 16. She’s excited about Lincoln hosting its first NCAA basketball event in 20 years and sees the opportunity for the city of Lincoln and the state of Nebraska to enhance its reputation for supporting a big-time event. Hosting a regional that will send a winner to the NCAA Final Four is a rare occasion. That is why we’re encouraging fans to start making plans now, even though Coach Yori is well aware how difficult the path will be for our team to play in this event. By the way, all Husker women’s basketball season ticket holders will get first opportunity to purchase Lincoln Regional tickets.
Last weekend was a complete sweep for Nebraska volleyball – back-to-back wins over nationally ranked Minnesota and Wisconsin; two more sellout crowds at the renovated Bob Devaney Sports Center to extend Nebraska’s 13-year consecutive home sellout streak to 188 matches; plus three Big Ten Conference Player-of-the-Week honors. Kelsey Robinson was the league’s Co-Player of the Week. Meghan Haggerty earned Defensive Player of the Week honors, and Amber Rolfzen was selected as the Big Ten’s Freshman Player of the Week. It was the first time that Nebraska earned three weekly Big Ten conference awards at once. On Monday, Robinson made history again. The senior outside hitter from Illinois and transfer from Tennessee was named Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. She becomes just the 10th Husker in history to receive such an award. Congratulations Kelsey, Meghan and Amber.
50-50 Chance to Win a Runza or Burger at Baseball Red-White Series
I encourage Big Red baseball fans to circle Thursday, Oct. 17 on your calendar. That will be our third and final game (6:30 p.m. first pitch) of the annual Red-White Baseball Series, following Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon games. Even though admission is free all three days, concession stands will have $1 hot dog and Pepsi product specials on Thursday night. Plus, every fan will have a chance to win a free Runza product at the series finale. All you have to do is choose a Red or White voucher on your way into the stadium. If you predict the right team to win, you also win! Fans attending will have an opportunity to purchase season baseball tickets that night as well. Only a few reserved season tickets remain for baseball and since Collegiate Baseball recently released its rankings for college baseball’s most recent recruiting classes, with our Huskers coming in 26th in the nation, you might want to purchase those quickly. Congratulations to Coach Darin Erstad and his staff. Also, just a quick reminder that the 2014 Big Ten Tournament will be held at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, so plan accordingly.
Our softball team led by Coach Rhonda Revelle finished up its fall season with a 7-1 record. The Huskers finished on a strong note sweeping Creighton in a double-header on Oct. 6 at Bolin Stadium. Congratulations to sophomore Hailey Decker who enjoyed an outstanding fall for the Huskers. She went 18-for-26 during the fall to post an impressive .692 batting average, with three doubles, one triple and seven RBIs.