Eight Selected for Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame
Six distinguished student-athletes, a legendary head coach and a Title IX Trailblazer make up the eight individuals in the 2022 University of Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame class, announced on June 6.
The class includes: Guy Chamberlin (football, 1913-15); Christina Houghtelling (volleyball, 2003-07); Patrick Kirksey (men's gymnastics, 1987-90); Shane Komine (baseball, 1999-2002); Angela Thacker (women's track and field, 1983-86); Ali Viola (softball, 1995-98); former bowling head coach Bill Straub; and Louise Pound, a pioneer and advocate for women's athletics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who is being inducted in honor of the 50th anniversary of Title IX becoming federal law.
The six student-athletes in the 2022 Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame class combined to win five team national championships and four individual NCAA titles while collecting 31 All-America awards and four Academic All-America honors. The class will be permanently enshrined with a granite plaque with the names of the six members added to the University of Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame Plaza.
"This is an outstanding class who are all extremely deserving of induction into the University of Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame," Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Trev Alberts said. "This distinguished group embodied competitive excellence, using their individual talents to lead their Husker teams to tremendous success. As we prepare to kick off a year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX, we are also pleased to recognize the immense contributions of Louise Pound, a pioneer who was truly one of the first champions for female athletes and whose athletic and academic contributions have left a lasting mark at the University of Nebraska."
The Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame Plaza is located on a walkway, stretching from outside of East Memorial Stadium and continuing to the historic NU Coliseum. The University of Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame Plaza is accessible to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week at no charge and is lit for night viewing. The plaza recognizes each annual Hall of Fame class, along with columns dedicated to the history and successes of each of Nebraska's athletic programs.
Winning a Theme of 2022 Hall of Fame Class
The common theme among the eight members of the 2022 Hall of Fame class is winning.
Nebraska football never lost a game in the three years Guy Chamberlin was on campus (1913-15), compiling a 23-0-1 record and winning the conference title every season. After serving in the U.S. Army following his Husker career, Chamberlin went on to become the first Husker to play in what is now the NFL. He was a winner in the professional ranks as well, winning four professional titles in five seasons as a player-coach.
Nebraska volleyball posted a 154-12 record in the five years Christina Houghtelling was in Lincoln. From 2003 to 2007, Houghtelling helped the Huskers to four Big 12 titles and four top-five NCAA finishes, including a runner-up finish in 2005 and a national championship in 2006. When Nebraska was the NCAA runner-up in 2005, Houghtelling was the National Player of the Year.
Patrick Kirksey added to the legacy of the Nebraska men's gymnastics programs as a four-year standout from 1987 to 1990. A three-time individual NCAA champion, Kirksey played a key role in Nebraska winning the national title in both 1988 and 1990. In Kirksey's career, the Huskers were either the NCAA champion or NCAA runner-up all four seasons.
Shane Komine took the Nebraska baseball program to new heights from 1999 to 2002. He won a school-record 41 games in his career and helped the Huskers to 190 wins in his four seasons, an average of nearly 48 wins per season. Komine was the ace on the first Nebraska team to advance to a Super Regional (2000) before leading the Huskers to back-to-back College World Series appearance in 2001 and 2002, the program's first two trips to Omaha.
Angela Thacker was a 15-time conference champion and the 1983 NCAA indoor long jump champion. Thacker also played a key role in leading Nebraska to NCAA indoor national championships in 1983 and 1984. Thacker had a pair of top-three finishes at the 1983 championship and posted three top-three finishes at the 1984 championship. She contributed 35 team points for Nebraska's back-to-back national championships in 1983 and 1984.
Ali Viola was a key reason for the rapid rise of the Husker softball program from 1995 to 1998. After four straight losing seasons, Nebraska won 162 games and nearly 70 percent of its games during Viola's career. Nebraska ended a six-year postseason drought by making the NCAA Tournament in each of Viola's four seasons. Her career culminated with a record-breaking 1998 season when Nebraska went undefeated in the Big 12, swept the conference regular-season and tournament titles and advanced to the Women's College World Series for the first time in a decade.
Bill Straub produced consistent winners as Nebraska's head bowling coach. Straub's teams won eight national titles in the 22 seasons he led the program as a varsity sport. Bowling became an NCAA sport beginning with the 2003-04 season, and Straub guided Nebraska to the NCAA Final nine times in 16 seasons, winning five NCAA titles. The Huskers won the inaugural NCAA Championship in 2004 and repeated as national champions in 2005, while also winning the NCAA title in 2009, 2013 and 2015.
Louise Pound won big in an era where female athletes had limited opportunities to compete. She was the 1891 and 1892 University of Nebraska-Lincoln tennis champion, competing in a primarily male field to win both titles. She was also the university runner-up in 1894, which earned her a men's varsity letter and the distinction as the only woman in Nebraska Athletics history to be a men's letterwinner. While completing her Ph.D. in Germany, Pound also played the Olympic men's singles tennis champion to a draw. On the links, Pound won the inaugural women's state golf championship in her only appearance at the event, and she won the Lincoln Country Club golf championship 21 times in a 22-year span from 1906 to 1927, missing out on only the 1924 title because she did not compete.
2022 Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame Class
- Guy Chamberlin, Football (1913-15)
- Christina Houghtelling, Volleyball (2003-07)
- Patrick Kirksey, Men's Gymnastics (1987-90)
- Shane Komine, Baseball (1999-2002)
- Angela Thacker, Women's Track & Field (1983-86)
- Ali Viola, Softball (1995-98)
- Bill Straub, Bowling Head Coach (1996-2019)
- Louise Pound, Title IX Trailblazer
Guy Chamberlin, Football (1913-15), Blue Springs, Nebraska
Guy Chamberlin joins the Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame after previously being enshrined in both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame. Chamberlin was a first-team All-American as a senior in 1915, becoming the second player in program history to earn All-America honors. Nebraska won three Missouri Valley Conference titles and never lost a game in Chamberlin's three seasons, posting a 23-0-1 record while in the midst of a school-record 34-game unbeaten streak. Included in the streak was a 20-19 victory over powerhouse Notre Dame in 1915, when Chamberlin had two rushing touchdowns and threw the game-winning touchdown pass. A 1916 University of Nebraska graduate, Chamberlin served in the U.S. Army from 1917 to 1919 before resuming his football career. In 1919, Chamberlin was the first Husker to play in the American Professional Football League, which eventually became the National Football League. Chamberlin was not only an outstanding player, but as a player-coach he won four professional championships in five seasons. Overall, Chamberlin was 56-14-5 in his professional coaching career. Chamberlin was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1962 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965. His jersey was retired by Nebraska in 2017. Chamberlin passed away in Lincoln on April 4, 1967, at the age of 73.
Christina Houghtelling, Volleyball (2003-07), Cambridge, Nebraska
Christina Houghtelling was the National Player of the Year, a two-time All-American, a two-time Academic All-American and a national champion during her distinguished career as a Nebraska volleyball player. She displayed great perseverance by overcoming injuries throughout her career. Houghtelling missed six weeks as a freshman with an injury and had knee surgery prior to her sophomore season. She returned from the surgery to emerge as the top player in the country as a junior in 2005. That season, she was chosen as the National Player of the Year and a first-team All-American after averaging 3.69 kills, 2.49 digs and 1.03 blocks per set. Houghtelling bumped those averages to 4.00 kills, 2.54 digs and 1.29 blocks per set against top-10 opponents, helping the Huskers to an NCAA runner-up finish. Nebraska would go on to win the national championship in 2006, but Houghtelling had to sit out that season following surgery on both her shoulder and knee. She came back for a fifth season in 2007 and earned second-team All-America honors while being named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. In addition to her accomplishments on the court, Houghtelling was also a standout in the classroom. She was a first-team Academic All-American in both 2005 and 2007, being recognized as an All-American and Academic All-American both seasons. Nebraska posted a 154-12 record during Houghtelling's five season, won four Big 12 titles and advanced to a pair of NCAA Finals. Houghtelling earned her degree in elementary education from Nebraska in 2007.
Patrick Kirksey, Men's Gymnastics (1987-90), Tucker, Georgia
Patrick Kirksey was a multi-time individual and team national champion at Nebraska in addition to being one of the top student-athletes in the NCAA. He was a three-time individual NCAA champion, a two-time team national champion, an eight-time All-American, a 10-time conference champion, an Academic All-American and an NCAA Top Six Award winner. After a freshman season where he earned a spot on the U.S. Senior National Team, Kirksey helped Nebraska to the 1988 national championship as a sophomore, when he earned All-America honors on the vault. In 1989, Kirksey was the NCAA all-around and parallel bars champion, while totaling four All-America awards. In his final season in 1990, Kirksey was a finalist for the Nissen-Emery Award as the nation's top gymnast. He repeated as parallel bars champion as a senior and earned three All-America awards to help Nebraska to the national championship. Outside of the gym, Kirksey was named a third-team Academic All-American in 1990, and he received an NCAA Top Six award, which was presented to the top six student-athletes in the NCAA across all sports and divisions. Kirksey graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1991 with a degree in finance.
Shane Komine, Baseball (1999-2002), Honolulu, Hawaii
Shane Komine was one of the top pitchers in NCAA history. Komine rewrote the Husker pitching record book while leading the program to new heights. He posted a 41-8 record with a 2.84 ERA over 68 career appearances and 59 starts, tossing 18 complete games and four shutouts. In 431.0 career innings, Komine posted 510 strikeouts, the fifth-highest total in NCAA history at the conclusion of his career. Komine ended his career with all-time school records for wins, innings, starts, complete games, strikeouts and shutouts. He still holds all of those records except shutouts. Along the way, Komine became the first two-time first-team All-American in program history, and he was a three-time All-American overall. A National Player of the Year finalist in 2000, Komine was selected as the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year in both 2000 and 2001, after being recognized as the 1999 Big 12 Freshman of the Year and a first-team freshman All-American. Nebraska recorded 190 victories in Komine's four seasons, including the first two 50-win seasons in program history (2000 & 2001). Komine also helped lead the Huskers to the first two College World Series appearances in program history in 2001 and 2002. Following his Husker career, Komine was selected in the ninth round of the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft, and he played two seasons for the Oakland Athletics. Komine also excelled in the classroom at Nebraska, as he was a second-team Academic All-American as a senior. He earned his degree in sociology from the University of Nebraska in 2010.
Angela Thacker, Women's Track & Field (1983-86), St. Louis, Missouri
Angela Thacker was a 14-time All-American, a 15-time conference champion, an NCAA long jump champion and an Olympian. In addition to her individual accolades, she played a key role in Nebraska capturing the first two team indoor national championships in NCAA history in 1983 and 1984. Thacker was an all-around athlete, earning All-America honors in five individual events and two relays. As a freshman, Thacker finished second in the long jump and third in the 60-yard dash to help Nebraska win the inaugural NCAA Women's Indoor Championship in 1983. The Huskers repeated as indoor national champions the next season when Thacker won the long jump, finished second in the 55-meter dash and was a member of Nebraska's third-place 4x400-meter relay team. In those two NCAA indoor championships, Thacker scored 35 points for Nebraska, the second-highest career total in program history. At the conference level, Thacker was a 15-time champion. She won multiple conference titles all four years of her indoor career and was a three-time champion in the 300-yard dash and long jump. Thacker owns school records in the indoor (21-10 ¼) and outdoor (22-4 ¼) long jump and was a member of Nebraska's 4x100-meter relay team that owns the top outdoor time in program history (43.44). Internationally, she set the American record for the 300-yard dash in 1985 and finished fourth in the long jump at the 1984 Olympics. Thacker earned her degree in elementary education from the University of Nebraska in 1987.
Ali Viola, Softball (1995-98), Novato, California
Ali Viola is the most decorated All-American in Nebraska softball history. She earned All-America honors in three of her four seasons, missing out on the honor as a junior when she suffered a season-ending injury 21 games into the season. Viola is the only two-time first-team All-American in program history and the only Husker to be a two-time conference player of the year. In her career, Viola posted a .418 batting average with 263 hits, 105 extra-base hits, 48 doubles, 53 home runs, 157 runs, 213 RBIs, 116 walks and a .760 slugging percentage. Viola ended her career with nine Nebraska all-time records and ranked fourth in NCAA history in home runs, fifth in slugging percentage, eighth in walks, 10th in RBIs and 21st in batting average. She also set numerous Nebraska season records, and Viola still holds program records for most home runs and RBIs in a season, while also owning the top season slugging percentage and three of the top four season batting averages. Viola burst onto the scene as the Big Eight Freshman and Player of the Year in 1995, and she was a second-team All-American that season. Viola was a first-team All-American as a sophomore in 1996. After playing less than half of her junior season, Viola capped her career in grand fashion. As a senior in 1998, Viola was the Big 12 Player of the Year, a first-team All-American and a finalist for National Player of the Year. She was a major reason Nebraska went undefeated in the Big 12 and swept the conference regular-season and tournament titles. Viola helped Nebraska advance to the 1998 Women's College World Series, and she was named to the WCWS All-Tournament team as the Huskers finished fifth. Viola earned her degree in sociology from the University of Nebraska in 1998. Her No. 2 jersey was retired by Nebraska in 2018.
Bill Straub, Bowling Head Coach (1983-2019)
Bill Straub is the fifth head coach to be inducted into the Nebraska Athletics Hall of Fame. Straub's name is synonymous with Nebraska bowling, as he led the program for more than 35 years. He played a leading role in the advancement of bowling at both the institutional and national levels, helping elevate the program to varsity status at Nebraska and leading the charge for bowling to become an NCAA sport. Straub led the program from 1983 to 2019, first as a club sport (1983-95), then as a varsity sport (beginning in 1997-98) and finally an NCAA sport (beginning in 2003-04). Straub coached 16 seasons at the NCAA level before he retired following the 2019 season. He guided Nebraska to five NCAA titles and four runner-up finishes, including winning the first two NCAA Championships in 2004 and 2005. Straub led Nebraska to the NCAA Final in nine of the 16 seasons coaching at the NCAA level. He was a three-time National Coach of the Year (2005, 2013 & 2017), and Straub coached seven National Bowlers of the Year, including a stretch from 2000 to 2010 when a Husker was named the nation's top bowler seven times. As a varsity sport, Nebraska won eight national titles and more than 100 tournaments under Straub. He also coached the men's bowling program as a club sport from 1983 to 2003, winning two national titles on the men's side. All told, Straub guided Nebraska to a total of 10 national championships. An outstanding bowler himself, Straub is a member of the Lincoln, Omaha and Nebraska Bowling Halls of Fame.
Louise Pound, Title IX Trailblazer
Louise Pound is the only female in the history of Nebraska Athletics to earn a men's varsity letter. She earned a men's tennis letter in 1894, when athletic opportunities for females were at best limited and often non-existent. Pound paved the way for countless female athletes at Nebraska, making it appropriate she is inducted as a member of the 2022 Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame Class on the 50th anniversary of Title IX becoming federal law. Pound was a pioneering female athlete for more than three decades from the 1890s through the 1920s, winning campus, city and state titles in golf and tennis. The 1890 Lincoln city tennis champion, Pound was also the 1891 and 1892 University of Nebraska-Lincoln tennis champion, defeating all competition for the title, including men. Pound finished runner-up at the 1894 men's intercollegiate tennis tournament, which led to her men's varsity letter. In 1897, Pound won the Women's Western Championship and was rated as the top amateur player in the country. After she was refused admittance for graduate study in America, Pound traveled to Germany to earn her Ph.D. and while abroad, she played the Olympic men's singles tennis champion to a draw. Outside of tennis, Pound organized and captained Nebraska's first women's basketball team as a graduate student before later managing the team. As a golfer, Pound won the first women's state golf championship in the only year she entered the event and was the Lincoln Country Club golf champion every year from 1906 to 1927, except 1924 when she didn't enter. Pound was also a cyclist and figure skater and played a lead role in establishing the Nebraska Spirit Squad. Outside of athletics, Pound was a UNL English professor for 50 years and was the first woman president of the Modern Language Association. A lifelong Lincoln native, Pound passed away in Lincoln on June 28, 1958, at the age of 85.