Nebraska's newest Hall-of-Fame inductees include, from left: Scott Johnson, Denise Day, Karen Dahlgren Schonewise, Rich Glover and Dave Hoppen.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

NU Athletics Hall-of-Fame Inductees True Trailblazers

By Randy York

Six Huskers were enshrined into the University of Nebraska Athletics Hall of Fame Friday, and the only one who was unable to attend the ceremony was a huge hit who set the tone for all inductees.

Bob Brown, Nebraska’s first African-American football player to become an All-American, thanked his alma mater with a video tape from his home in Oakland, Calif. Health-related reasons prevented Brown, 75, from traveling to Lincoln.

“This is a very important moment for me, and it’s important because it all started here at the University of Nebraska,” Brown said in his video from home. “I was given an opportunity by the administration, by the Athletic Department and I was accepted by the fans and this wonderful, wonderful state.

“To have a chance to showcase my abilities here, I played a number of years in the National Football League and I won a number of awards, but this truly is THE most important award ever for me because it did all start here. If there was no Nebraska, there would be no Bob Brown (pictured below via video screen), and I would not have this great, wonderful award. Thank you!”

Brown, a humble man, has been enshrined in both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame.

Overall, Nebraska honored two Honda Broderick Cup Awards recognizing the top student-athletes in their NCAA sport, plus three individual national titles, six national team championships, 19 All-America accolades and four of the Huskers’ nation-leading 329 CoSIDA Academic All-America honorees.

All six members of Nebraska’s 2017 class either have had their jersey retired or have been enshrined into their respective sport’s Hall of Fame.

The other “firsts” in Nebraska’s third Hall of Fame class included Rich Glover, who played a major role in Nebraska’s 1970 and 1971 national championship football teams – the first in school history.

Scott Johnson led Nebraska to four straight NCAA national gymnastics championships and helped Team USA win its first-ever Gold Medal in gymnastics at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games.

Denise Day played a key role in softball, leading Nebraska to its first-ever Women’s College World Series in 1982.

Karen Dahlgren Schonewise led the Husker volleyball team to its first NCAA Final in 1986.

Dave Hoppen became the first and only Husker men’s basketball player to score 2,000 points in his career and helped the Huskers make their first NCAA Tournament in 1986.

Denise Day Delivers Keynote Address at Induction Ceremony, Describes How Young Athletes Aspire for Greatness

A two-time All-American, two-time Academic All-American and softball's 1985 Honda Award winner for her sport, Day described how young athletes aspired for greatness. "We came from across the U.S. to find a home here at Nebraska," Day said, "and were fortunate enough, with the help of top-notch facilities, excellent coaches, and academic support, not only to compete for Nebraska, but to excel.

"We learned to set and achieve goals that pushed us to our limits. I'd like to think our success was earned. And there is a lot of success seated in the front row. It all started on this campus and to know that our blood, sweat and tears have not been forgotten is humbling and it allows us to relive again those glory years that have been long gone. 

"It reminds me to take this moment to call out all those that paved the way for their sacrifices on our behalf," Day said. "For Karen and me, that means thanks to the women that not only went before us to have the opportunities we had, including full sports scholarships as the result of Title 9. Personally, an athletic scholarship was my ticket because the resources were just not there for my family. Because of them, we could more than just dream about attending college and competing at the next level." 

Through all those who helped blaze new trails, Day mentioned a quote from Althea Gibson that hit home: "No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you," Gibson said.

Bob Brown's Voice Is as Relevant Now as It Was in 1960

Rich Glover's Priorities Kept Him Focused on Right Things

10 Reasons Why Dave Hoppen a Deserving Hall-of-Famer

Olympic Gymnast Johnson: Timing Paved Path to Perfection

Schonewise: Huskers Reminiscent of 1986 Final Four Team

Day Explains Why Husker Fans in a League of Their Own

Pat Logsdon, Nebraska's executive associate athletic director/administration, SWA, and Dave Rimington, Nebraska's interim director of athletics, welcomed Hall-of-Famer Rich Glover back to Lincoln.

Former Nebraska assistant basketball coach Tom Baack (left) and former Husker teammate Bill Jackman (right) congratulate new Hall-of-Famer Dave Hoppen.

Former Nebraska gymnastics coach Francis Allen congratulates ex-Husker and new Hall-of-Famer Scott Johnson, who won a gold medal in the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

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