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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Nebraska Notables


CORNHUSKER NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS - In addition to five national championships in football, Husker teams won eight national titles in men's gymnastics; and three in women's indoor track and field. Nebraska also won the women's volleyball championship in 1995 and 2000.

ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICANS - Since 1952, UNL has had more GTE Academic All-Americans than any other school in either university or college divisions.

LED THE BIG TWELVE -In 1999, Nebraska led the Big 12 with 32 Academic All-Big 12 selections. Of the honorees, 24 made the first team and eight were on the second team.

TOP EIGHT AWARDS - Thirteen UNL student athletes have won Top Eight Awards. UNL is far and away the leader among schools with student-athletes who have won the Top Eight Award, the most prestigious honor an NCAA student-athlete can earn. Outside linebacker Grant Wistrom won the award in 1997.

MOST ACADEMICALLY DECORATED - Pat Tyrance, former Cornhusker linebacker and team captain, was the most academically decorated athlete in UNL history. Tyrance, '91, won the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Scholar Athlete Award, and was one of the NCAA's top scholar athletes in 1990. A graduate of Harvard Medical School, he is a resident surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital.

NINE OR MORE, 25 TIMES - The Nebraska football team has an ongoing NCAA record of 38 consecutive winning seasons, with 31 straight seasons in which the team won nine or more games.

SURE-FIRE NEW YEAR'S DATE - Spend New Year's Day with the Cornhuskers. Based on past performance, the chances are excellent that the football team will be playing in a bowl somewhere in the United States. The Cornhuskers have appeared in 32 consecutive bowl games.

NO EMPTY SEATS - Memorial Stadium holds the ongoing record for sold-out football games, 220 consecutive sellouts since Nov. 1, 1962. On football Saturdays, the stadium becomes the third largest population area in the state, as 5 percent of the state's total population comes to watch.

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME - The nickname "Cornhuskers" was first applied to Nebraska athletic teams at the turn of the century by sports writer Charles "Cy" Sherman of the Nebraska State Journal. Before adopting Sherman's suggestion, Nebraska sports teams were called "The Bugeaters," "Tree Planters," "Nebraskans," "Rattlesnake Boys," "Antelopes" and "Old Gold Knights."

FAMOUS FOOTBALL FIRST - The first football coach in the nation to use game films as a method of evaluating abilities of football teams and players was Nebraska Football Coach D.X. Bible in the 1930s.

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME - In Nebraska in the 1870s, the "old ball game" was baseball, not football. A baseball association was formed in 1877 and the first recorded intercollegiate game for Nebraska was in 1882, several years before the first football game was played. The football team observed its 100th anniversary in 1989.

MILESTONE IN WOMEN'S ATHLETICS - Intercollegiate athletics for women marked its 25th anniversary at UNL in 1999, although it was actually the 104th anniversary of the birth of the first organized sport for women at the university. The sport was basketball, and the women's team was more popular than the men's. Louise Pound was responsible for the formation of women's basketball teams, which gained wide fame in the early 1900s.

FIRST IN SOFTBALL - The No. 16 jersey worn by Lori Sippel, '88, the most dominating pitcher in UNL softball history, was the first one ever retired by the softball team. A two time All-American, Sippel holds nearly every pitching record, including strikeouts (838), shutouts (39), and best earned run average (0.54). She pitched an unbelievable six no-hitters. Sippel has been assistant coach of the UNL softball team for 11 years.

OLYMPIC SWIMMING CHAMP - Cornhusker swimmer Penny Heyns, Big Eight Female Athlete of the Year in 1996, won gold medals in the 100- and 200-meter breaststroke for her native South Africa in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. She was the first Olympian to win both events, and set an Olympic record in each.

MERLENE OTTEY RUNS IN FIVE OLYMPICS - Former UNL track star Merlene Ottey, a 1978 graduate, appeared in five Olympics, including the 1996 games where she won silver medals for Jamaica in the 100- and 200-meter races. In four previous Olympics, Ottey won four bronze medals on the track.

WOOD, WOOD EVERYWHERE - The biggest hardwood floor in Nebraska is the 23,000 square-feet refurbished floor in UNL's old coliseum, now part of the Lee and Helene Sapp Recreational Facility.

BOWLED OVER - UNL student Jeremy Sonnenfeld made history Feb. 2, 1997, when he bowled the world's first-ever 900-point three-game series. The achievement took place in the Junior Husker Tournament at Sun Valley Lanes in Lincoln. The three consecutive 300 games were the eighth, ninth and tenth of his career.

FIRST LADY HUSKERS - Basketball was the first sport played at UNL by women. The year was 1895 and the women's basketball team of the era was more popular than the men's team. Louise Pound was responsible for forming the early teams, which gained fame in the early 1900s.