Rhonda Revelle is no stranger to spending time on bleachers. She has sat for seemingly endless hours at countless fields across the country, waiting to identify a player she felt could help her Husker softball program. Little did she know, she would find such a player right under her own nose.
In addition to being NU’s head softball coach and a Nebraska alum, Revelle is also an avid Husker football fan. She has owned seats in the Athletic Department staff section on the east side of Memorial Stadium for more than 20 years. Her Husker football seats are probably the only time when Revelle sits on a bleacher and isn’t evaluating talent, recruiting a player or scouting an opponent.
But as luck would have it, Revelle would find a future Husker sitting right in front of her every time she took her seats inside Memorial Stadium. The seats in the row directly in front of Revelle belong to Mike Arthur and his family. Arthur, Nebraska’s Director of Strength and Conditioning, has been a member of the Husker athletic department for more than 35 years. Different family and friends would occupy those seats, but there was always one little girl who would show up sporting a Husker jersey, rain or shine.
“Her dad’s football tickets at Memorial Stadium are right in front of me,” Revelle said. “Rachel would always come with a friend and she always wore a jersey. She usually brought a boy with her because at halftime they would go out and throw a football around. I remember thinking ‘this kid is like a field rat, she can’t get enough.’”
Growing up, Arthur never could seem to get enough. A multi-sport athlete, Arthur began her athletic career by playing coach-pitch baseball at age five. She moved on to coach-pitch softball at age six and has never looked back. Along the way, Arthur also gave tackle football a shot when she was 11 and was the only girl in the entire organization.
Arthur was so diverse in her athletic endeavors that Revelle never discussed the possibility of her becoming a Husker softball player in all the years they sat by each other.
“I thought basketball was her love, and I thought she would go with that,” Revelle said. “We never really looked at her for softball because I thought she was on a path for basketball. It was Mike who told us she was looking at softball.”
Even Rachel never fully considered joining the softball team until her senior year at Lincoln Pius X High School.
“It wasn’t until the fall of my senior year that Nebraska became an option for me,” she said. “I remember talking to Coach Revelle on the phone the day after winning a state title.”
That phone call set the path for Arthur to join the Husker softball program. Last fall, the freshman experienced the thrill of playing in Bowlin Stadium for the first time. A promising middle infielder, Arthur started at shortstop in five of Nebraska’s eight fall games, filling in for injured returning starter Alicia Armstrong.
Arthur could fill in at shortstop again this spring, but at the very least she figures to be a key player off the bench, especially in a pinch-running role. In addition to her skills, Revelle is also counting on Arthur to pass on her Husker passion to her classmates.
“The two most obvious things that Rachel can add this season are, No. 1 understanding the longstanding tradition of Husker athletics,” Revelle said. “Rachel understands that tradition better than anyone. She knows what it means to be a Husker and that’s something she can pass on to our two out-of-state freshmen. Second, Rachel has added instant depth to our infield.”
A two-time all-state selection, Arthur’s role this spring may fluctuate, but regardless of her role, she’s just happy to be a Husker.
“I’ve grown up as a Husker because my dad is a strength coach at Nebraska, and I have known Coach Revelle since I can remember,” Arthur said. “I have grown up in Lincoln and as a Husker, and I didn’t want to change that. Lincoln is my home.”
Lincoln has been Arthur’s home her entire life. She was born in Lincoln on Oct. 23, 1994, and has never called another place home. Rachel couldn’t imagine spending her college years any place but Nebraska.
“The greatest achievement in my life is getting the opportunity to be a Husker student-athlete,” she said. “It is something I always dreamed about as a kid. Now that I am a Husker, the best part is that everyone feels like family.”
Three Things You Didn’t Know About Rachel
1) She played tackle football when she was 11 years old, and she was the only girl in the organization.
2) She owns 63 pairs of shoes, and she only wears about seven of them.
3) She has a tooth in the middle of her mouth, and her dentist calls it a “shark tooth” because it’s like she has an extra row of teeth.