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Jim Hartung, Wes Suter and Tom Schlesinger were honored with the Nissen-Emery Award
Courtesy: NU Media Relations
          Release: 03/06/2014
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Nebraska's Nissen-Emery Award Winners

The highest honor in collegiate gymnastic, the Nissen-Emery Award, has been presented annually since 1966 to an outstanding senior collegiate gymnast based on gymnastic achievement, sportsmanship and academic excellence.

The original Nissen Award was named in honor of George Nissen, a former NCAA champion, for his contributions to men’s gymnastics. The award was re-named the Nissen-Emery Award in 1998 to honor Dr. Robert Emery, a Penn State graduate, who won the Nissen Award in 1969.

The "Heisman Trophy" of gymnastics, the Nissen-Emery Award is inscribed with the following motto:

"The true champion seeks excellence physically, mentally, socially and morally."

Nebraska’s dominance of men’s gymnastics throughout the 1980s and 1990s is best illustrated by the three Huskers who captured the Nissen Award within a period of six years. The Huskers also had a finalist for the award in six consecutive years from 1986 through 1991, and had a finalist five times in a six-year span from 1994 through 1999.

Tom Schlesinger is the most recent NU recipient of the Nissen. He won the award in 1988, following former Huskers Jim Hartung (1982) and Wes Suter (1986).

Jim Hartung, 1982
The most accomplished gymnast in Nebraska history, Jim Hartung captured Nebraska’s first Nissen Award in 1982. A seven-time NCAA champion, Hartung led the Huskers to their first four NCAA team titles. The Omaha native capped his career as a member of the gold-medal winning 1984 U.S. Olympic Team.

Wes Suter, 1986
One of 10 Husker Olympians, Wes Suter won the Nissen Award in 1986 to cap a brilliant career in which he won the 1985 NCAA all-around title and two NCAA individual event championships. He competed for the United States in the 1988 Olympic Games.

Tom Schlesinger, 1988
A member of the U.S. Olympic team, Tom Schlesinger earned the Nissen Award en route to winning the 1987 NCAA all-around title. He earned NCAA All-America status seven times and went on to capture a spot on the 1988 Olympic Team as the United States’ top alternate.

Nebraska's Nissen-Emery Award Finalists (20)

  • Kyle Shanahan (2010)
  • T.J. Schmidt (2009)
  • Grant Clinton (2002)
  • Jim Koziol (1999)
  • Bill Mulholland (1998)
  • Jason Christie (1996)
  • Richard Grace and Rick Kieffer (1995)
  • Dennis Harrison (1994)
  • Brad Bryan (1991)
  • Patrick Kirksey (1990)
  • Mike Epperson (1989)
  • Tom Schlesinger (1988)
  • Neil Palmer (1987)
  • Wes Suter (1986)
  • Phil Cahoy and Scott Johnson (1983)
  • Jim Hartung (1982)
  • Larry Gerard (1979)
  • Gene Mackie (1976)

All-Time Nissen-Emery Award Winners

  • 2012 Paul Ruggeri, Illinois
  • 2011 - Steven Legendre, Oklahoma
  • 2010 - Luke Stannard, Illinois
  • 2009 - Casey Sandy, Penn State
  • 2008 - Jonathan Horton, Oklahoma
  • 2007 - Matt Cohen, Penn State
  • 2006 - Justin Spring, Illinois
  • 2005 - Guillermo Alvarez, Minnesota
  • 2004 - Dan Gill, Stanford
  • 2003 - Daniel Furney, Oklahoma
  • 2002 - Justin Toman, Michigan
  • 2001 - Jamie Natalie, Ohio State
  • 2000 - Jeff LaVallee, Massachusetts
  • 1999 - Todd Bishop, Oklahoma
  • 1998 - Dan Fink, Oklahoma
  • 1997 - Blaine Wilson, Ohio State
  • 1996 - Darren Elg, Brigham Young
  • 1995 - Josh Stein, Stanford
  • 1994 - Kip Simons, Ohio State
  • 1993 - John Roethlisberger, Minnesota
  • 1992 - Scott Keswick, UCLA
  • 1991 - Jarrod Hanks, Oklahoma
  • 1990 - Mike Racanelli, Ohio State
  • 1989 - David Zeddies, Illinois
  • 1988 - Tom Schlesinger, Nebraska
  • 1987 - Michael Maxwell, Penn State
  • 1986 - Wes Suter, Nebraska
  • 1985 - Matt Arnot, New Mexico
  • 1984 - Roy Palassou, San Jose State
  • 1983 - Peter Vidmar, UCLA
  • 1982 - Jim Hartung, Nebraska
  • 1981 - Bart Conner, Oklahoma
  • 1980 - Mario McCutcheon, Southern Connecticut State
  • 1979 - Kurt Thomas, Indiana State
  • 1978 - Tim LaFleur, Minnesota
  • 1977 - Peter Kormann, Southern Connecticut State
  • 1976 - Gene Whelan, Penn State
  • 1975 - Jay Whelan, Southern Connecticut State
  • 1974 - Steve Hug, Stanford
  • 1973 - John Crosby, Southern Connecticut State
  • 1972 - Tom Lindner, Southern Illinois
  • 1971 - Brent Simmons, Iowa State
  • 1970 - Pete Difurio, Temple
  • 1969 - Robert Emery, Penn State
  • 1968 - Dave Thor, Michigan State
  • 1967 - Steve Cohen, Penn State
  • 1966 - James Curzi, Michigan State
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