Everyone knows that a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle, and such insight is the impetus behind Shawn Eichorst’s decision to restructure the Nebraska Letterwinners Club. An advocate for sharing knowledge and comparing experiences, Nebraska’s first-year Director of Athletics favors an internal approach.
“Shawn thought our athletic department would be well served with the N-Club completely managed internally, so we can integrate our letterwinner alums with our current student-athletes,” said Keith Zimmer, Nebraska’s longtime Associate Athletic Director for Life Skills, which is the new home for letterwinners and a new 16-member Advisory Council serving them.
“It’s really an ideal way for us to reinforce our mission to succeed academically, athletically and in life,” Zimmer said. “Our goals are to make sure we provide opportunity that will connect, engage and involve all of our letterwinners from every sport, so they can share their life experiences and expertise and have a greater impact on our current student-athletes.”
Having the N-Club connected to Life Skills made sense to both Eichorst and Paul Meyers, the veteran associate AD for the Huskers Athletic Fund and one of more than 40 Husker letterwinners who currently work in the Nebraska Athletic Department.
Advisory Council Will Meet Every Other Month
The new N-Club structure was formed in August, and the group’s Advisory Council will meet every other month during the academic calendar year, collaborating to plan events and activities that will provide the opportunity to interact and learn about new initiatives within Husker Nation.
“Basically, our new approach is athletes helping athletes,” Zimmer said. “It’s exciting when you think about enriching the lives of current Huskers with the life experiences of our distinguished letterwinner alumni. They have instant credibility in any conversation because they can explain and describe how they succeeded through persistence.”
Letterwinners can, in essence, take the motivational candles that lit up their own academic/athletic/professional lives and help light the fire for 18- to 22-year-olds who want to succeed and leave a trail, so they can someday mentor others themselves.
Some intentional integration already has happened through Life Skills-sponsored Career Fairs and Network Nights. “We want to take blending the past with the present up a notch and have some additional major events on an annual basis,” Zimmer said.
Communication Depends on Contact Information
All letterwinners are encouraged to provide updated contact information through this form. “That information is critical to us,” Zimmer said. “It will allow the N-Club to provide consistent communication for upcoming events.” One important way that letterwinner alums can serve the current Huskers is through the new Inner-Circle Leadership Group. More than 20 upper class student-athletes have been accepted into the Inner-Circle, and “they are eager to interact with and learn from a panel of five to six letterwinner alums on a monthly basis,” Zimmer said.
The Life Skills Department has a history of planning successful, dynamic major events, and the first in the new structure is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 3. The event will feature a VIP Tour of Pinnacle Bank Arena, plus remarks from Eichorst and representatives from the men’s and women’s basketball staffs. Letterwinners interested in attending are asked to email Stacey Burling at email@example.com as soon as possible. The final deadline to register is Thursday, Sept. 26.
Additional major events are planned next spring, and details will be communicated once they’re finalized. Zimmer said he appreciates the efforts of 16 N-Club members who have volunteered to serve as the group’s new Advisory Council. They include: Frosty Anderson – Football; Troy Branch – Football; Tony Felici – Football; Mitch Krenk – Football; Pat Ricketts – Football; Stephanie Bolli – Basketball; Jami Hagedorn – Basketball; Angee Henry – Track & Field; T.J. Pierce – Track & Field; Anna Caniglia – Soccer; Sarah Sasse-Kildow – Golf; Mark McDonald – Tennis; Steve Anderson – Swimming and Diving; Charlie Colon – Baseball; John Grose – Baseball; and Steve Ronspies – Athletic Training.