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.