Athletics is an academic-based endeavor as it combines physical and mental strength with applied art and science.
In that vein, in late March, I had the pleasure of joining Ellen Weissinger, UNL’s Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, on a visit to the Champaign, Illinois, headquarters of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC). As a founding member of the Big Ten, the University of Chicago is also a member of the CIC. With the expansion of the Big Ten, Penn State, Nebraska, Maryland and Rutgers increased the total CIC membership to 15 institutions.
Established in 1958, the CIC collaborates with each member institution, sharing information, expertise, ideas, research, books, art and other aspects of higher learning. On our visit to Champaign, Barbara McFadden Allen, the CIC’s Executive Director, described in detail for us the consortium’s benefits for cooperative purchasing and the increased opportunities for all CIC members in the worlds of technology, licensing, leadership development and global collaborations. I now have a better understanding of how the CIC advances its members’ academic missions, leverages campus resources and expands academic and research opportunities for all students and faculty.
Academically, Nebraska is leading the Big Ten and the CIC in several areas, including our work in Digital Humanities and in head injury research that will be conducted in our Research Center for Brain, Biology, and Behavior, known as CB3. Our own Dr. Dennis Molfese is leading the co-sponsored, cross-institutional research collaboration between the Big Ten and the Ivy League to research the effects of head injuries in sports. Both East Stadium research centers, CB3 and the Nebraska Athletic Performance Lab (NAPL), will be part of a unique collaboration between athletics and academics, as well as with private sector researchers seeking to discover a broader understanding of human performance and behavior.
Nebraska and its CIC partners are changing the world, one day at a time.
My travels continued this past week when I joined my fellow Big Ten Athletic Directors for our Big Ten Spring Meetings in Chicago. There were a number of topics discussed, yet we focused a good deal of our time on football scheduling and future bowl partnerships. Our student-athletes, coaches, staff and supporters will appreciate our new scheduling format and bowl partnerships; however, there are many details to still be worked out. Additionally, we discussed future scheduling in all sports with the integration of Rutgers and Maryland into our conference.
I enjoyed the discussion and dialogue this week but I am eager to turn my attention to our sports competing in postseason action:
- Coach Rhonda Revelle’s softball team will host a four-team NCAA regional on May 17-19.
- Coach Scott Jacobson’s women’s tennis team will make its first appearance ever in the 16-team NCAA Championships in Urbana, Illinois, beginning on May 17.
- Coach Darin Erstad will lead our baseball team in a pivotal series with Michigan on May 16-18 with the Huskers still in contention for the Big Ten regular-season title in the final regular-season series of the year.
- Coach Gary Pepin’s Big Ten Conference Championship outdoor men’s track and field team and our women’s team will compete in the NCAA Championships Preliminary Round in Austin, Texas on May 23-25 before finishing their seasons in the NCAA Championships Final Round on June 5-8 in Eugene, Oregon.
Until next time, stay positive and Go Huskers!
Men's Track and Field Team Crowned Big Ten Champions; Coach Pepin Named Conference Coach of the Year
Congratulations to the Nebraska Men’s Track and Field team and to veteran head coach Gary Pepin for winning the 2013 Big Ten Conference Outdoor Championship last weekend in Columbus, Ohio. With the men’s win, Coach Pepin now has won a men’s title in three different conferences – the Big Eight, the Big 12 and the Big Ten. Coach Pepin’s team was missing several of its best athletes because of injury, yet still finished the meet with 38½ more points than second-place Minnesota. Coach “Pep” has one of the most remarkable coaching resumes in collegiate athletics. Last Sunday marked his 69th conference team championship in 32 years as a head coach and, for his efforts, was named the Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year as voted on by the Big Ten coaches.
McDermott, Southworth Get Postgraduate Scholarships
Wade Gets Strength and Conditioning's Highest Honor
Nebraska is often recognized as the nation’s leader in strength and conditioning, and last week we added another Master Strength and Conditioning Coach designation from the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association (CS&CCA). Congratulations to Chad Wade, who joins fellow strength coaches Mike Arthur and James Dobson as a Master Strength and Conditioning Coach, the CS&CCA's highest designation. Chad was a graduate assistant for our football team in 1996, a full-time basketball strength coach from 1997 to 2002 and has served our department as a football strength coach since the spring of 2002.
Former Husker Hermann New Athletic Director at Rutgers
Julie Hermann, a former All-Big Eight Nebraska volleyball player, has been named the new Director of Athletics at Rutgers University, which will join the Big Ten Conference in July of 2014. Julie will become the first female athletic director in the history of the Big Ten, the oldest conference in intercollegiate athletics, and just the third female athletic director at a College Football Playoff school. A Nebraska City native, she was an outside hitter for Coach Terry Pettit from 1981 to 1984. Julie comes to the Big Ten from Louisville, where she served as a senior level athletic administrator for 15 years and joins Barry Alvarez as one of two former Husker student-athletes who serve as athletics directors in our conference.
Jamie Williams Will Receive Honorary Doctorate for Leadership
A week from Friday, Jamie Williams will wear a cap and gown and receive an honorary doctorate degree from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, the school he served as athletics director before joining the Huskers as an Associate A.D. Jamie earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from UNL, his Master’s degree in Journalism from San Jose State University and his doctorate from the Academy of Art, the only art school competing at any level in the NCAA. Williams led the school’s effort to create and develop an athletic program from scratch and will receive an honorary doctorate for “Leadership in the Arts”. Congratulations Jamie.
After taking home the gold in the discus at the 2012 championships, Chad Wright won the Big Ten Outdoor Championship in the shot put this year with a career-best throw of 63-7½. Congratulations Chad. Our 4x400 relay team also took home the gold. That team, which could push for first-team NCAA All-America honors in the NCAA Outdoor Championships, includes three freshmen – Levi Gipson and Christian Sanderfer from Lincoln, Cody Rush from Grand Island (Nebraska) and Miles Ukaoma, a junior sprinter from Maize, Kansas.
Mara Griva delivered one of the best individual performances in the Big Ten Track and Field Championships as she won Big Ten gold medals in two events – the long jump (6.32 meters) and the triple jump (13.24 meters). Congratulations Mara.