I was honored to be asked to serve as the Chair of the UNL Combined Health and Human Services Campaign this year, and I had the pleasure of meeting all the dedicated coordinators and volunteers from the East and City Campuses last week as the Campaign kicked off. I am humbled to be a part of this opportunity to raise awareness and funds for so many worthy causes in the greater Lincoln communities. Our campus goal is to raise $425,000 by the close of the campaign on November 1st, and I strongly believe we will get that done.
We are all so proud of our student-athletes for what they have accomplished in the classroom, in athletic competition and in our community this past year. I hope you will take the time to review the 2012-13 Annual Report released today (CLICK HERE FOR ANNUAL REPORT). .
It was a very successful year. Our 600-plus student-athletes across all sports compiled a cumulative GPA of 3.15. We reached a milestone with our 300th Academic All-American and improved our nation-leading total to 307. Bowling won a national championship; three of our Husker teams brought home coveted Big Ten Conference Championships; and hundreds of student-athletes reached their maximum potential and recorded personal bests in academics, athletics and life. Three new facilities were opened, setting the stage for our programs to maximize their aspirations in a safe and healthy environment. These state-of-the-art facilities and improvements would not have been possible without you.
We are one big family and it saddened us to witness the unfortunate injury suffered by Academic All-American and All-Big Ten senior offensive guard Spencer Long during the Purdue game. Spencer is a tremendous young man, and I am confident that he will recover quickly and have great success in his future endeavors.
Our condolences go out to All-American gymnast Emily Wong at the sudden passing of her father, John. John was incredibly supportive of Emily and the program and will be greatly missed. It is an extremely difficult time for Emily and her family, but she was strengthened when all her teammates and coaches attended her father’s funeral in Grand Forks, N.D.
Last Monday, I attended the UNL Intercollegiate Athletics Committee (IAC) meeting as we welcomed three new members to the 13-member committee, including Jeff Hawks (Mechanical and Materials Engineering), Scott Winter (College of Journalism and Mass Communications) and Carolyn Barber (School of Music). The IAC includes seven faculty members appointed by the President of the Faculty Senate; three students; the Institutional Representative of the University to the Big Ten Conference (Josephine Potuto); the Senior Women’s Administrator (Pat Logsdon) and the Director of Athletics. It is this committee’s charge to review and make recommendations on all Athletic Department policies, programs and practices to ensure that they are consistent with the educational mission of the University, and that they are supportive of student-athletes in their academic as well as athletic endeavors. This group has done a great job over the years and we appreciate their service.
Huskers Athletic Fund Development Officer and former Husker pitcher Mike Dobbs was my guide on a repeat visit to Columbus, Nebraska, last week. We both enjoyed catching up with several Husker supporters in the area, including Kim and Jill Wolfe, Jim and Connie Hellbusch and their sons David and Ben, as well as former Husker great and Regent Jim Pillen. I greatly enjoy traveling and visiting with our fans and supporters while learning more about Nebraska’s livelihood. During my time in Columbus, I was pleased to be given a tour of the incredible Hellbusch family manufacturing operation at Duo Lift. There is no place like Nebraska.
My favorite task last week was serving donuts to 300-plus members of our Cornhusker Marching Band. They practice almost daily in the stadium and are usually wrapping up their two-hour practice when we arrive at work in the morning. It was a pleasure to personally greet and thank our band members and staff for their dedication, talents and assistance in creating a fantastic game-day atmosphere at our events. Athletics is proud to support the band and appreciates all that they do.
Until next time, stay positive and Go Big Red!
The Sheldon Museum of Art on the UNL campus has been accepted into the prestigious National Register of Historic Places. The register is the official list of the nation's historic places worthy of preservation. This is a notable year for the Sheldon to receive this distinction. The museum is celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Sheldon Art Association, as well as the 50th anniversary of the building itself. I hope each of our students take the time to visit this beautiful museum often while on campus.
Gold Medalist Coach Pablo Morales on Next Radio Show
Former Olympic Gold Medalist and Swimming and Diving Head Coach Pablo Morales will join me in studio for my monthly radio show on Tuesday, November 2. Our team opened its season against Iowa State on October 12th with a tie and lost to Arkansas on October 26th. The Swimming and Diving team’s only home meet remaining this semester is November 15th when we take on Iowa and South Dakota State. I know you will look forward to listening to Coach Morales, plus senior butterfly and freestyle specialist Shannon Guy from Omaha.
Congratulations to Jordan Hooper who earned mention among the best women's basketball players in the nation, as she was named to the Wade Trophy and Wooden Award Preseason Watch Lists for National Player of the Year. After assisting the USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team to a gold-medal game victory over Russia, Jordan led our women’s team in its first exhibition game over Pittsburg State on Sunday at Pinnacle Bank Arena. I’m looking forward to watching Jordan and the rest of Coach Connie Yori’s team this season.
Junior Calvin Freeman led our Men’s Golf team last Tuesday in Las Cruces, New Mexico by firing a two-under-par 69 in the final round of the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate. Calvin finished the tournament tied for 26th with an 8-over-par 221 total over 54 holes. Junior Ross Dickson also tied for 26th at the Intercollegiate.
Our Soccer team, led by Head Coach John Walker and Assistant Coaches Marty Everding and Peter Underwood, moved to 9-1-0 in the Big Ten Conference with wins over Ohio State and No. 16 Penn State. Congratulations to freshman forward Jaycie Johnson who was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the third time this season after notching a pair of goals including the game winner against Penn State in the 103rd minute. The Huskers can win the Big Ten Championship outright with a win against Indiana in Lincoln this Friday. I hope you will come and support the team in their last home match before traveling to Champaign, Illinois for the Big Ten Championships, November 6-10.
Coach Erstad’s Baseball Recruiting Class Ranks No. 11
Baseball America recently ranked our latest recruiting class No. 11 in the nation, the highest ranking in school history. The 13-member class recruited by Coach Darin Erstad, Associate Head Coach Will Bolt and Recruiting Coordinator/Pitching Coach Ted Silva includes nine players who were ranked in the top-1,000 by Perfect Game. Congratulations to former Husker Alex Gordon on his third straight Rawlings Gold Glove Award. Alex and his wife Jamie will be on campus Friday when we dedicate the Alex Gordon Training Complex. Our Baseball and Softball programs will make great use of the indoor practice facility at Haymarket Park and we are so appreciative of the Gordon’s generous contribution toward this project.