Polk, Alexander Headline Hall of Fame Class
The Nebraska Football Hall of Fame will welcome its 2010 class to Memorial Stadium for induction at a banquet on Friday night, before being formally introduced during Nebraska's game with Idaho on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
All-American linebacker Carlos Polk, who was joined by Doak Walker Award semifinalist Dan Alexander as members of Nebraska's 1997 national championship team, will both be inducted into the Hall of Fame, along with another former NU national champion - Ed Periard - who will be inducted posthumously after earning All-Big Eight honors on Bob Devaney's 1970 championship team.
Other former Huskers who will be on hand for the ceremonies include Steve Lindquist, Todd Millikan and Bob Pickens.
Outland, Lombardi, Nagurski and Bednarik award winner Ndamukong Suh earned automatic induction into the Hall of Fame by winning major national awards as a defensive tackle for the Huskers in 2009. The All-American and AP National Player of the Year will be unable to attend this weekend's festivities because of the Detroit Lions' season-opening game against the Chicago Bears. Suh will officially be recognized as part of the 2010 Nebraska Football Hall of Fame class, and hopes to return in the future to be a part of the formal induction ceremonies.
Former Husker Chris Spachman will also be unable to attend this weekend's induction ceremony.
From the state college ranks, Doane College's Mike Sallier and Nebraska Wesleyan's Noland Urban will join the former Husker inductees in 2010.
The Hall will also recognize former Nebraska Chancellor Clifford M. Hardin with its President's Award, while David and Peggy Sokol and Family will receive the Clarence E. Swanson Meritorious Service Award. Joyanne and Jon Van Bloom will be honored with the Lyell Bremser Special Merit Award.
The Nebraska Football Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Nebraska Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame. The College Football Hall of Fame opened in South Bend, Ind., in 1995.
The 2010 Inductees
Dan Alexander - A Doak Walker Award semifinalist as a senior in 2000, Dan Alexander ranks 14th on Nebraska's all-time rushing list with 2,456 career yards, including the 15th-best season with 1,154 yards in 2000. The Wentzville, Mo., native capped a strong Husker career by earning first-team All-Big 12 honors as an I-back, before erupting for the best bowl game rushing performance in school history. Alexander rolled for 240 yards and two touchdowns on just 20 carries to claim MVP honors in NU's 66-17 Alamo Bowl win over Northwestern. He amassed seven 100-yard efforts as a senior, including 208 yards in a win over San Jose State. He finished with 13 100-yard rushing games in his career. A four-year letterman from 1997 to 2000 and a two-time Nebraska Lifter of the Year, Alexander was a team captain as a senior. Alexander was also a first-team academic All-Big 12 selection in 1997, a five-time member of the Brook Berringer Citizenship Team and chosen to the 1999 AFCA Good Works Team. He was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the sixth round of the 2001 NFL Draft. He spent the 2001 season with the Titans and the 2002 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Steve Lindquist - A second-team All-American as a right guard in 1978, Steve Lindquist also earned first-team All-Big Eight honors as a senior. The Minneapolis, Minn., native earned four letters for the Huskers from 1975 to 1978 and helped Nebraska lead the nation in total offense with 501.4 yards per game as a senior. With the 6-6, 250-pound Lindquist on the right side, the Huskers ranked second nationally with 337.7 yards per game on the ground while averaging 38.2 points per game. Lindquist was also a starter for the Huskers as a junior in 1977, when he claimed second-team All-Big Eight accolades. He was a sixth-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in the 1979 NFL Draft
Todd Millikan - A part of Nebraska's rich tradition of big play tight ends, Todd Millikan hauled in a school position record 14 touchdown passes among his 40 career catches as a Husker. He also had a touchdown catch in the 1987 Sugar Bowl. The 6-3, 235-pounder from Shenandoah, Iowa, averaged 20.6 yards per reception in his career, totaling 825 yards. As a senior in 1988, Millikan earned first-team All-Big Eight honors after catching 16 passes for 308 yards, while tying NU's tight end record with seven touchdowns. Millikan's 82-yard touchdown catch against Missouri in 1988 also ranks as the longest reception by a tight end in the Husker record book. A four-year letterman (1985-88), Millikan added 13 catches for 287 yards with three scores as a junior, after hauling in 11 catches for 230 yards and four touchdowns as a sophomore, including a 73-yarder. Millikan was a 10th-round pick of the Chicago Bears in the 1989 NFL Draft
Ed Periard (posthumously) - At just 5-9, 200 pounds, Ed Periard was not a prototypical middle guard during his playing days. However, the quickness of "Fast Eddie" and his toughness and determination helped the native of Birch Run, Mich., earn first-team All-Big Eight honors as a senior on Coach Bob Devaney's 1970 national championship team. As a senior starter, Periard amassed 79 total tackles, including 48 solos and a team-best 15 tackles for 89 yards lost. His 79 total stops and 48 solos were second on the team, trailing only middle linebacker Jerry Murtaugh's 142 among the Blackshirts. The NU coaching staff named Periard the defensive player of the week after wins over Army, Missouri and Oklahoma. He also had nine tackles, including seven solos, in NU's national championship game win over LSU. Periard earned three letters from 1968 to 1970, recording 10 total tackles as a junior and 12 tackles a sophomore.
Bob Pickens - A world-class athlete, Bob Pickens earned All-Big Eight honors in his lone season as an offensive tackle for the Huskers in 1966. The 6-5, 275-pounder from Evanston, Ill., sat out the 1965 season after transferring from the University of Wisconsin. An outstanding heavyweight wrestler, Pickens was a member of the 1964 U.S. Olympic Team in Tokyo, Japan, and took third place at the 1966 AAU Greco-Roman national championships before focusing his senior season on football. Pickens helped pave the way for a Husker squad that led the Big Eight in total offense with 318.8 yards per game, including a league-high 192.4 rushing yards per game in 1966. Coach Bob Devaney's Huskers also ranked second nationally with 32.1 points per game. Pickens was a third-round pick by the Chicago Bears in the 1966 NFL Draft (future pick) and spent three seasons with the Bears from 1967 to 1969. He closed his professional career by competing for the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL in 1971.
Carlos Polk - A first-team All-American and Butkus Award semifinalist as a senior middle linebacker for the Huskers in 2000, Carlos Polk provided a dominant physical presence as a two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection. Polk led the Huskers with 90 tackles as a senior, including a team-best 40 solo stops. He added nine tackles for loss and five breakups to go along with one interception. As a junior, he contributed 83 total tackles, including 32 solos, while notching 12 tackles for loss, including 6.5 sacks. A four-year letterman from 1997 to 2000, Polk ranks 16th in NU history with 227 career tackles, including 32 TFLs and 10 sacks. The native of Rockford, Ill., was a team captain for the Huskers as a senior and was a two-time member of the Big 12 Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll. Following his NU career, Polk was a fourth-round pick of the San Diego Chargers in the 2001 NFL Draft. He spent seven seasons with the Chargers from 2001 through 2007, before closing his career with the Dallas Cowboys in 2008.
Chris Spachman - A three-year starter at defensive tackle, Chris Spachman claimed first-team All-Big Eight honors as a senior in 1986, after claiming second-team all-conference accolades in 1985. The 6-4, 265-pound Spachman earned honorable-mention All-America honors as a senior. The Kansas City, Mo., native finished his career with 105 total tackles, including 21 tackles for loss with 10 sacks. He added a pair of interceptions and a trio of fumble recoveries. Spachman, who led the Huskers with seven sacks as a sophomore in 1984, earned recognition as a team captain and the Co-Lifter of the Year in 1986. He was also a first-team academic All-Big Eight selection in 1986.
Ndamukong Suh - One of the most decorated defensive players in college football history, Ndamukong Suh earned automatic induction into the Hall of Fame by winning the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award in 2009, while also becoming the first Husker in history to win the Nagurski and Bednarik awards. The first defensive player in history to be named the Associated Press National Player of the Year, Suh finished fourth in 2009 Heisman Trophy voting. The Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Suh was a unanimous All-American in 2009, before being chosen by the Detroit Lions with the second overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. As a senior, Suh led Nebraska to 10 wins while helping the Huskers lead the nation in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense. The 6-4, 300-pounder from Portland, Ore., finished his dominant career ranked second on NU's career tackle for loss list with 57, trailing only College Football Hall of Famer Grant Wistrom (58.5). As a senior, Suh led NU in tackles for the second straight season, while leading NU with 24 tackles for loss, including 12 sacks. He also led all defensive linemen in the nation with a school position record 10 pass breakups. In the Big 12 Championship Game against Texas, Suh tied a school record with seven tackles for loss, including 4.5 sacks.
New Hall of Famers from the State College ranks include:
Mike Sallier (Doane) - A four-year star and two-time NAIA All-American (1968, 1969) for Coach Al Papik's Doane Tigers from 1967 to 1970, Mike Sallier ranks as the school's all-time scoring leader with 354 points, including 59 career touchdowns. No other Tiger in history has come within 100 points of Sallier's mark, and his 59 TDs are 22 more than anyone else on that Doane College list. The 5-6, 150-pound halfback from Port Arthur, Texas, led the NAIA ranks in scoring as a sophomore in 1968, when he scored a school-record 23 touchdowns in just nine games to average a nation-leading 15.3 points per game (school-record 138 points). His season included a school-record five-touchdown performance against Nebraska Wesleyan. Sallier averaged 135.7 yards per game rushing as a sophomore, which ranked as a school record for 30 years. He finished his sophomore season with 1,252 yards. Sallier starred for the Tigers during their most successful stretch in school history, as the Tigers went unbeaten in 1967, 1968 and 1969. As a senior in 1970, Sallier produced a then-school-record 257-yard rushing effort against Missouri Western. Also an outstanding track athlete, Sallier was inducted into the Doane College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.
Noland Urban (Nebraska Wesleyan) - A two-time All-American and four-time All-GPAC linebacker for Nebraska Wesleyan, Noland Urban shattered the Prairie Wolves' career tackles record with 557 from 1997 to 2000. The 6-2, 255-pound linebacker from Osceola, Neb., was named the Football Gazette's NAIA Linebacker of the Year in 2000. A four-year letterman for NWU after transferring from Nebraska following his true freshman campaign, Urban produced three of the top 10 seasons for tackles in school history. As a senior in 2000, Urban amassed 170 total tackles, including 84 solo stops for the second-highest tackle total in NWU history. As a junior in 1999, he produced the No. 3 mark in the record book with 162 tackles, following a sophomore season when he notched 120 tackles. Also a standout in the classroom, Urban was a two-time Daktronics/NAIA Scholar-Athlete (1999, 2000).
Special Merit Award Winners
Clifford M. Hardin (President's Award) - Dr. Clifford M. Hardin was the chancellor of the University of Nebraska from 1954 to 1968 before embarking on a political and philanthropic career that solidified an outstanding legacy on a state- and nation-wide scale. He passed away at his home on April 4, 2010, at the age of 94. He is survived by his wife, Martha; his children and their spouses, Sue (Larry) Wood, Clifford W. (Glenna) Hardin, Cynthia (Robert) Milligan, Nancy (Douglas) Rogers, and James (Mary Pat) Hardin; 15 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.
Hardin is recognized as one of the founders of the University of Nebraska as it is known today. He presided over the University during a period of significant growth, including adding the University of Nebraska-Omaha (formerly Omaha University) to the system in 1969. He earned bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from Purdue University in his native Indiana, and became the youngest person in the country to hold a chancellorship when he was named Nebraska's chancellor in 1954 at age 38.
In addition to his leadership in the University's academic endeavors, Hardin also helped shape the face of Nebraska's athletic program. As the chancellor in 1962, Hardin oversaw the hire of Bob Devaney as the Huskers' football coach, setting into motion the events that led to the tradition of football excellence Nebraska enjoys today.
Following his tenure as chancellor, Hardin served as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture from 1969 to 1971 under President Richard Nixon. In that role, he helped pass the 1970 Farm Bill, extended the food stamp program and set up a new bureau in the Agriculture Department to administer food programs for the poor. He then went on to serve as vice chairman and vice president for research for Ralston Purina and chairman of Ralston Purina of Canada from 1971 to 1980. He became director of the Center for the Study of American Business at Washington University and vice president and board member at Stifel Nicolause, an investment banking firm in St. Louis at age 65. He served on several boards and foundations, and edited the book Overcoming World Hunger as well as several academic articles dealing with the hunger epidemic many poor Americans face.
The President's Award is one of the most prestigious awards given by the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame. It is presented by the Executive Committee to deserving individuals for outstanding leadership and service to the University of Nebraska, the Nebraska Athletic Department and the Husker Football Program. Clifford M. Hardin is just the second winner of this outstanding honor in the history of the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame.
David and Peggy Sokol Fame (Clarence E. Swanson Meritorious Service Award) - David and Peggy Sokol of Omaha are major supporters of the Nebraska football program. Most recently the couple made a significant donation to the Nebraska Student Life Complex, helping to invest in the future of all Husker student-athletes. The donation was made in honor of their son, DJ, who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 18 in 1999. The Sokols are no newcomers to athletic contributions.
In addition to their donations to Nebraska, they have also helped Creighton University and the University of Nebraska-Omaha with facilities needs, also given in DJ's honor. They were lead donors to Creighton's new DJ Sokol Arena, and made a generous gift to David's alma mater, UNO, to help fund a new scoreboard and screens for DJ Sokol Vision at Caniglia Field and the Sapp Field House. Beyond athletics, the Sokols are one of the most prominent philanthropic families in the state.
Each year, they partner with the Salvation Army for the annual DJ's Hero Awards Luncheon in their son's honor to salute local teens who exhibit qualities of faith, selflessness, volunteerism and commitment to the community. The Sokols also serve as trustees to the NU Foundation and donate to Mount Michael High School, Animal Cancer Center, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands, the Nebraska State Historical Society and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and helped fund a sculpture at the Qwest Center Omaha to honor all Nebraskans who have served in the armed forces.
David Sokol is a nationally recognized business leader, serving as the chairman of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. He has also served as chairman and director of several companies and boards in the Omaha metro area, and wrote a book in 2007 entitled Pleased but Not Satisfied.
The Clarence E. Swanson Award is given annually to honor outstanding contributions to the University of Nebraska and the Husker Athletic Department through personal service, personal support of athletic department programs and dedication to the Husker football program and intercollegiate athletics.
Joyanne and Jon Van Bloom (Lyell Bremser Special Merit Award) - The Lyell Bremser Special Merit Award is presented to Joyanne and Jon Van Bloom of Lincoln. Both longtime Lincoln residents and Husker fans, Joyanne and Jon have been key contributors to Nebraska Athletics. In honor of Joyanne's late husband, Ed Gass, who passed away in 2000 while en route to watch the Huskers play Oklahoma in Norman, Joyanne and Jon made a generous gift to Nebraska in 2006.
The outdoor practice football fields between the Hawks Championship Center and Cook Pavilion are named the Ed and Joyanne Gass Practice Fields in their honor, and provide the football team with one of the nation's best practice facilities. In addition to their contributions to Nebraska Football, the Van Blooms are also supporters of several other Husker sports, including men's and women's basketball, volleyball, baseball, golf and the Husker Power Club for all sports' strength and conditioning. They also contribute to the Hardin-Devaney Athletic Fund, helping to ensure academic opportunities for student-athletes of all of Nebraska's 23 varsity sports.
Jon is a member of the sales staff at Murray's for Men and Women of Stature, while Joyanne retired from Quebecor World as the General Accounting Supervisor in 2008. In addition to their support of Nebraska Athletics, they are donors to several community causes, including the Nebraska Children's Home Society and the Friendship Home.
Inaugurated by the Nebraska chapter in 1974, the Lyell Bremser Merit Award was instituted to honor a person with a background of interest in and support of intercollegiate football, who has made a sizeable contribution to society through public service and/or self sacrifice.