By Randy York, The N-Sider
In recognizing Nebraska Athletics’ strong commitment to diversity and inclusion programming, head football coach Mike Riley and sophomore volleyball outside hitter Tiani Reeves headline a campus-wide event called “Our Nebraska” on Thursday night.
“The Extra Point” event begins at 7 p.m. on the West Memorial Stadium Club’s third floor. A social period, open to the public, begins at 6:30 p.m. with catered food before Nebraska’s head coach shares his thoughts about playing football at Alabama.
“This is a revamped version of UNL’s Empowerment Forum that used to take place at UNL,” said Lawrence Chatters, Nebraska Athletics’ diversity and inclusion coordinator.
“UNL increased the budget and is seeking to increase the reach of the event,” Chatters said. “They have reached out to collaborators across campus and since Nebraska Athletics is one of the leaders in diversity and inclusion initiatives and programs on campus, they asked us to help them with this event that features Coach Riley.”
Lawrence Chatters: Coaches Are Great Diversity and Inclusion Leaders
“The reason we felt it was so important to draw Coach Riley to talk about his experiences is simple,” said Chatters (pictured above). “Coaches, by virtue of what they are tasked to doing, are some of the greatest leaders in regards to diversity and inclusion. There are not many other places where you find so many different people with different backgrounds that have to come together and function seamlessly as a machine.”
“Coaches are asked to do that with their teams, and I think the very nature of their job to help people on their teams understand their position on the team and also how that works in concert with other people on the team,” Chatters said.
“They are united because they have to get everybody going in the same direction, most of the time at the same speed, and with the same goal in mind,” Chatters said. “I think we can learn a lot from Coach Riley. He has been coaching for so many years and has successfully brought teams together in good times and in bad times.”
Keith Zimmer, Nebraska Athletics’ senior associate A.D. for Life Skills and the N Club, points out that Riley played at Alabama during a time where history was unfolding before the eyes of all college football fans. After quarterbacking Corvallis High School to an Oregon state prep championship in 1970, Riley was a cornerback on four Southeastern Conference title teams and one national championship team (1973) under legendary Alabama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant.
“Understanding Coach Riley’s insight about navigating through the challenges he faced was a unique opportunity in athletics to identify and interact with different backgrounds,” Zimmer said. “Coach Riley was in a historical place, and his live interview with Lawrence Thursday night will help all of us better understand how we can continue to go forward in our diversity and inclusion efforts here at the University of Nebraska.”
Tiani Reeves Will Share Experiences Growing Up in Gothenburg, Nebraska
Riley’s experiences working with diverse backgrounds in race, culture and religion are compelling. So is the unique perspective of Reeves (No. 22 above), an outside hitter for the Husker volleyball team. The sophomore psychology major will share her experiences about growing up as an African-American woman in Gothenburg, Nebraska.
Thursday night’s event also will feature a musical performance by Nebraska track and field alum Chris Phipps, a former All-American in the long jump and triple jump.
UNL staff members and family members are welcome to attend the ‘Our Nebraska’ sports-related event, the fourth of five scheduled events through this week on campus.
Send a comment to firstname.lastname@example.org (Please include city, state)
Follow Randy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RandyYorkNsider