Monday, December 31, 2007

Bay Area Husker ENews 12-24-07

Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Fellow Bay Area Husker Fans!

For the longest time it looked like Santa was going to leave sticks and coal in the Husker Nation stocking again this year, but lo and behold, the Huskers find tidings of comfort and joy just in time for the holidays. Not only has "Santa Tom" brought us new hope and a new coaching staff, but he has graciously agreed to be the permanent AD for the next 2 and a half years (see below). 2008 promises to be a great year for the Huskers (see "A Good Year to be a Husker" below).

And on a more serious note, please take the time to remember the true meaning of this blessed holiday, and also say a prayer for those on watch around the world who are protecting our freedom to worship and our ability to celebrate the season. May they come home safely, and with honor, to eventually enjoy a "belated holiday" with their families. Please see the comments and link to a wonderful and memorable online video commemorating the recent return of Nebraska troops after 15 months in Iraq. Link and photography courtesty of Todd Rundstrom below.

May you and your family enjoy a warm and wonderful Christmas, and may we all look forward to a Happy New Year!

Go Big Red (White and Blue),


Tom Osborne has agreed to serve as Nebraska's Athletic Director until 2010.

Lincoln, Neb., Dec. 19, 2007 - University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman today announced that the "interim" has been removed from Tom Osborne's title, and Osborne has agreed to serve as Nebraska's Director of Intercollegiate Athletics until June 30, 2010.

"I appreciated Tom's willingness to step in as interim athletic director during a very difficult time for the athletic department," Perlman said. "His presence and his decisions have significantly reduced the controversy surrounding the department and particularly the football program.

"The decision to ask Osborne to serve as NU's permanent athletic director is based on timing.

"It is now beneficial to provide the department with stability in leadership, so it can take full advantage of the progress that already has been made," Perlman said.

"I don't think conducting a search for a permanent athletic director would serve the university's interests at this time," added Perlman. "That's why I offered Tom the opportunity to remove 'interim' from his title and invited him to accept an appointment as athletic director for a term of approximately 2 1/2 years until June 30, 2010."

Perlman and Osborne agreed that a search for Osborne's successor will begin in early 2010 with the intention that Osborne will both assist in the search and help with the transition of a new athletic director.

Osborne, 70, accepted Perlman's offer to direct the department on an ongoing basis and will continue to work as athletic director under the same terms of his original contract, signed on Oct. 24. Perlman and Osborne finalized the new agreement Tuesday.

"When Chancellor Perlman asked me to lead the athletic department and to help unify the state, he gave me the responsibility and the authority to do whatever needed to be done," Osborne said. "We've made some great strides over the last two months, but the chancellor and I agree that these next two years are crucial to keep our program moving forward.

"I have never been enamored with titles," Osborne said. "At the same time, I think it's important for our entire department to realize that we will continue moving down the same path we're already going. Change always breeds at least some uncertainty, and if removing 'interim' from my title helps everyone understand that we'll continue to be consistent in our approach, I'm all for that.

"Everyone associated with the program - coaches, student-athletes, administrators, fans and alumni - want what's best for Nebraska," Osborne said.

"My focus is on working together and giving our best, so the athletic department can continue to improve in every way possible."


Nebraska Head Football Coach Bo Pelini announced Monday that he has completed the process of hiring his first Husker coaching staff. Eight of the assistant coaches have been announced, with all of those having previous coaching experience in the Big 12 Conference, including six coaches who have spent time at Nebraska.

Pelini finalized his staff over the weekend with the addition of a running backs coach. However, Pelini said the announcement of that individual will come in early January, after that coach has finished his work in a bowl game with his current school.

The offensive staff includes Barney Cotton as associate head coach/offensive line coach; Shawn Watson as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks; Ted Gilmore as assistant head coach/receivers coach/recruiting coordinator; and Ron Brown as tight ends coach. Watson and Gilmore were retained from the previous Nebraska coaching staff.

On the defensive side, the Husker staff will include Carl Pelini as defensive coordinator/defensive line coach, Mike Ekeler as linebackers coach, John Papuchis as defensive ends coach and Marvin Sanders as secondary coach.

Pelini also announced that former Husker player and assistant coach Jeff Jamrog will serve as Assistant Athletic Director for Football Operations for the Nebraska football program.

Pelini said the coaching staff he has hired brings the overall characteristics he was looking for in Nebraska assistants.

“I was asked about the qualities I look for in assistant coaches, and I mentioned teachers, communicators and high-energy people,” Pelini said. “I think this group of coaches will be great teachers for the young men in our program, and they are a good fit for Nebraska football.”

Pelini said Cotton and Gilmore will assist him in a variety of roles in their positions as associate and assistant head coach, respectively.

“In addition to coaching the offensive line, Barney will assist me in a number of key administrative duties within our program,” Pelini said. “Ted will continue as our receivers coach and recruiting coordinator, and he will also play a key role in the overall direction of our program.”

The offensive staff will be led by Watson, who directed the Nebraska offense this season. The Huskers ranked eighth nationally in passing offense and 11th in total offense, and Pelini is excited to build on that success.

“Offensively, there has been good success here recently,” Pelini said. “I think we can add some wrinkles to what has worked well the past few years. Coach Watson is a proven offensive coordinator in the Big 12 Conference, and our offensive assistants have extensive collegiate experience, specifically in the Big 12 North.”

Defensively, Pelini said he will be involved in all aspects of the preparation and expects his defensive staff to operate as one cohesive unit.

“Our defensive coaches will all have equal input on what we are doing, regardless of titles or positions,” Pelini said. “Our defensive coaches are outstanding teachers who will bring great energy to the practice field. I have worked with each of them during my career and have great confidence in this group. This staff plans to build on the tradition of hard-nosed Blackshirt defenses at Nebraska.”

Here is a brief capsule on the members of the 2008 Husker staff.

Offensive Staff
Shawn Watson—Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
Watson will be entering his third season at Nebraska in 2008 and his second as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. In 2007, Nebraska threw for a school-record 3,886 yards, including the top three passing days in school history. Watson’s offense averaged 468.2 yards per game, 11th in the country and the best season average at Nebraska since 1997.

Watson coached the Nebraska tight ends and was the recruiting coordinator in 2006, before being promoted to his current post last January.

Watson has a total of seven seasons of experience as an offensive coordinator in the Big 12, serving in the same role at Colorado from 2000 to 2005. Watson was on the staff of four Colorado teams that won the Big 12 North Division, including a conference championship in 2001. He also has head coaching experience, leading the Southern Illinois program from 1994 to 1996.

Ron Brown—Tight Ends
Brown rejoins the Nebraska coaching staff for the 2008 season, after serving as the Huskers’ receivers coach for 17 seasons from 1987 to 2003. During the first 16 of those years, Brown also coached the tight ends, and he was the most veteran member of Frank Solich’s final Nebraska coaching staff in 2003.

Brown has spent the past four years serving as the Nebraska State Director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He also has served as the national spokesman for the FCA and is a regular columnist for the FCA magazine “Sharing the Victory”. Brown and former Husker Stan Parker are co-founders and co-directors of a statewide Christian ministry called Mission Nebraska.

Under Brown, Husker receivers were known for their tenacity and downfield blocking in Nebraska’s run-oriented attack. His receivers helped Nebraska lead the nation in rushing nine times in his 17 seasons. At Nebraska, Brown coached two academic All-Americans, had 12 players picked in the NFL Draft and 14 others who signed professional contracts.

Brown also served as an assistant coach for three seasons (1984-86) at Brown, his alma mater, and was the head freshman coach at the school in 1983.

Barney Cotton—Associate Head Coach/Offensive Line
Cotton will be in his second stint on the Nebraska coaching staff. He served as Nebraska’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach on Frank Solich’s staff in 2003, helping Nebraska to a 10-3 record and a victory in the Alamo Bowl. Most recently, Cotton spent three seasons at Iowa State as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. With the Cyclones, Cotton directed a potent ISU offensive attack led by quarterback Bret Meyer and record-setting receiver Todd Blythe. He helped guide the Cyclones to an appearance in the 2004 Independence Bowl and the 2005 Houston Bowl.

Before arriving at Nebraska in 2003, Cotton was the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator for six seasons at New Mexico State (1997-2002). He also served as an assistant at St. Cloud State for six seasons and was the head coach at Hastings College in 1995 and 1996.

Cotton played for Nebraska from 1975-78, starting on both the offensive and defensive lines during his Husker career. He played four seasons in the National Football League with St. Louis and Cincinnati.

Ted Gilmore—Assistant Head Coach/Wide Receivers/Recruiting Coordinator
Gilmore has served on the Husker staff each of the past three years as the Huskers’ receivers coach and in 2007, he also handled the role of recruiting coordinator. Gilmore’s receivers have posted record-setting numbers under his direction.

Seniors Terrence Nunn and Maurice Purify finished their eligibility as the No. 2 and No. 5 career receivers at Nebraska. Nate Swift will enter his senior season in 2008 as Nebraska’s No. 4 all-time receiver. Gilmore’s receiving corps played a key role in the Huskers ranking eighth nationally in passing offense and 11th in total offense in 2007.

Gilmore has been a collegiate assistant for 11 seasons, also serving in stints at Wyoming, Kansas, Houston, Purdue and Colorado.

Defensive Staff
Carl Pelini—Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line
Carl Pelini, the older brother of Head Coach Bo Pelini, comes to Nebraska after three seasons as the defensive line coach for Frank Solich at Ohio University. Pelini also has experience at Nebraska, serving as the defensive graduate assistant for the Huskers in 2003, when NU set a school record for takeaways and ranked 11th nationally in total defense.

At Ohio, Pelini played a key role in the resurgence of the Bobcat program. Ohio’s recent success was highlighted by the 2006 season, when the Bobcats won the Mid-American Conference Eastern Division and played in the GMAC Bowl against Southern Miss. The bowl appearance was the first by the Bobcats since 1968. The 2006 defense ranked in the top 30 nationally in scoring and total defense. This season, Ohio finished with a 6-6 record and senior defensive tackle Landon Cohen earned second-team All-MAC honors for the second straight season.

Pelini spent the 2004 season as the defensive coordinator at Minnesota State on the staff of former Husker player and assistant Jeff Jamrog. Pelini was an accomplished high school coach prior to his first stint at Nebraska. He was the head coach at Fitch High School in Ohio for three seasons, after serving as the head coach and athletic director at Winnetonka High School in Kansas City for five years. He also served as a graduate assistant at Kansas State in 1989 and 1990, and as a restricted earnings coach for the Wildcats in 1991. He played two seasons at Columbia University.

Mike Ekeler—Linebackers
A native Nebraskan, Mike Ekeler joins the Husker defensive staff after spending the past three seasons on the LSU football staff. Ekeler spent the 2005 and 2006 seasons as a graduate assistant coach working for Pelini and the Tiger defense. In 2007, Ekeler worked as an intern for the LSU program.

Ekeler brings an extensive knowledge of the state of Nebraska and the Big 12 Conference to the Husker staff. Before his recent time with Pelini at LSU, Ekeler was a defensive graduate assistant on Bob Stoops’ Oklahoma staff in 2003 and 2004. He helped the Sooners play in back-to-back BCS national championship games and earn a Big 12 title in 2004.

Before his time with the Sooners, Ekeler spent five seasons as a high school coach in Nebraska and Kansas. He spent time coaching at Omaha Skutt High School and Manhattan (Kan.) High School, before getting back into the college game at Oklahoma in 2003.

After graduating from Blair High School, Ekeler played four seasons under Bill Snyder at Kansas State, lettering from 1991 to 1994. He was a special teams standout and was part of two Wildcat teams that played in bowl games.

John Papuchis—Defensive Ends Coach
John Papuchis comes to Nebraska after spending the past four seasons on the football staff at LSU. While with the Tigers, Papuchis worked as a defensive intern, assisting in every aspect of the defensive game plan for the Tigers.

Papuchis first joined the LSU staff under Nick Saban and over the past three seasons has helped the Tigers rank third nationally in total defense each season. In 2007, the Tiger defense featured a pair of consensus All-Americans in defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey and safety Craig Steltz.

Papuchis joined the Tigers prior to the 2004 season after a three-year stint with Kansas. In 2001, he worked with the Jayhawk secondary and then assisted with the linebackers in Kansas' 2003 Tangerine Bowl season.

Papuchis graduated from Virginia Tech in 2001 and earned his master’s degree from Kansas in 2003

Marvin Sanders—Secondary Coach
Marvin Sanders returns to the Husker staff after serving as the defensive backs coach in 2003. In Sanders’ lone season on the defensive staff with Pelini, Nebraska recorded 47 takeaways, including a school-record 32 interceptions and led the nation in pass efficiency defense. In 2003, safety Josh Bullocks recorded a school-record 10 interceptions and became just the second NU sophomore in school history to earn All-America honors.

After his year at Nebraska, Sanders served for three seasons as the defensive coordinator at North Carolina. He helped the Tar Heels reach the Continental Tire Bowl in 2004. Prior to joining the Nebraska staff in 2003, Sanders had assistant coaching stops at Nebraska Wesleyan, Minnesota-Morris, Nebraska-Omaha, New Mexico State and Colorado State. While on coach Sonny Lubick’s CSU staff, he helped the Rams to appearances in the New Orleans Bowl in 2001 and the Liberty Bowl in 2002.

Sanders earned three letters as a defensive back at Nebraska from 1987 to 1989, playing for Tom Osborne and secondary coach George Darlington. He was a starter as a senior in 1989 and earned honorable-mention All-Big Eight honors for a Nebraska team that reached the Fiesta Bowl.

Assistant Athletic Director for Football Operations
Jeff Jamrog
Jeff Jamrog joins Pelini’s staff as Assistant Athletic Director for Football Operations, following four seasons as the head coach at Minnesota State in Mankato, Minn. Jamrog is one of three former Nebraska players on Pelini’s staff and one of five members of the staff who return to Nebraska after having previous Husker coaching experience.

Jamrog led Minnesota State to a 17-27 record in four years, including a 6-5 mark in 2004, the program’s first winning season since 1994. Several Mavericks earned honors under Jamrog’s direction, including two-time Academic All-American Spencer Dickinson.

Before leaving for Minnesota State, Jamrog was an assistant coach at Nebraska for four seasons from 2000 to 2003, when he coached the NU defensive line. The Huskers finished in the top 12 nationally in rush defense twice in that stretch. Jamrog was a three-year letterman at Nebraska where he was a starting outside linebacker in 1987. He was a first-team Academic All-American in 1987 and an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient.


Athletic and academic All-American Christina Houghtelling will receive her diploma during commencement ceremonies at the University of Nebraska on Saturday morning.

Lincoln - One of the largest-ever December graduating classes of Nebraska student-athletes will receive diplomas during winter commencement ceremonies on Saturday, Dec. 22, at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Nebraska’s graduating class of student-athletes was nearly 30 percent larger than last December’s group of 31 graduates. The Huskers’ 44-member graduating class consists of student-athletes from 14 U.S. states and three foreign countries, including Germany, Latvia and South Africa. Nearly all of Nebraska’s varsity teams are represented in the group, while the Huskers graduated with nearly 20 different majors in their fields of study. Despite the diversity of the group, a total of 20 Nebraska natives made up nearly half of the class.

Nebraska Senior Associate Athletic Director for Academics, Compliance and Planning Dennis Leblanc said the December 2007 graduating class consists of strong examples of student-athletes who have the ability to excel in the classroom, in the community and in competition.

"I congratulate all of these Nebraska student-athletes for the way they have balanced classwork, community involvement and competition," Leblanc said. "These 45 graduates come from a diverse background from around the country and the world and have represented Nebraska at the highest level in academics and athletics. The athletic department, the University and the state of Nebraska are proud of their accomplishments."

The Nebraska football team produced the largest contingent in the group with a total of 20 players earning their degrees. Brett Byford, Ben Eisenhart, Dan Erickson, Cornealius Fuamatu-Thomas, Tierre Green, Victory Haines, Frantz Hardy, Sean Hill, Andy Kadavy, Sam Keller, Lane Kelly, Kevin Luhrs, Corey McKeon, Josh Mueller, Wali Muhammad, Steve Octavien, Bo Ruud, Andy Sand, Matt Senske and Bryan Wilson all completed their undergraduate academic careers.
Coach Gary Pepin’s track and field program added five members to the group, including national champions Arturs Abolins and Dace Ruskule, along with Bryce Dickmeyer, Bubba Kramer and Alec Maduza.

Coach Pablo Morales’ women’s swimming and diving team also produced a strong contingent of five graduates, including Emilee Crawford, Kate Dulgar, Bailey Ingles, Kaci Ressler and Dani Millis. Millis competed her first four years at Nebraska for Coach Dan Kendig’s women’s gymnastics team, which also featured All-American Michele Zabawa among the graduates.

Christina Houghtelling, the 2005 AVCA National Player of the Year for Coach John Cook’s Nebraska volleyball team, joined former teammate Meghan Smith among NU’s class of December graduates. Houghtelling, a native of Cambridge, Neb., was also a CoSIDA Academic All-American for the Huskers.

A trio of former Husker baseball players (Mike Harmelink, Jon Klausing and Al Smith) earned their diplomas for Coach Mike Anderson’s team, along with Husker softball players Ashley DeBuhr and Devin Porter for Coach Rhonda Revelle.

Joerg Barthel and Sean Coetzee earned their degrees as former members of Coach Kerry McDermott’s Nebraska men’s tennis team, while Ty Capps and Chrissie McArdle completed their degrees as members of the Nebraska men’s and women’s golf teams.

Soccer player Jessie Bruch, men’s gymnast Jason Wassung and Husker All-American bowler Amanda Burgoyne rounded out the list of December student-athlete graduates at Nebraska.

Nebraska continues to feature one of the highest graduation rates in the nation with an exhausted eligibility graduation rate of 94 percent.


Sarah Pavan was selected as one of the NCAA Today's Top VIII honorees on Monday.

Lincoln – University of Nebraska volleyball star Sarah Pavan received one of the highest honors a college student-athlete can receive on Monday, as she was selected as one of the 2008 NCAA Today’s Top VIII.

The NCAA Today’s Top VIII honors eight senior student-athletes among all levels for their athletics success, academic accomplishments, community service and leadership. Pavan will receive the award during the NCAA Honors Celebration on January 13, 2008, at the NCAA Convention in Nashville.

The other 2008 Today’s Top VIII are Rachel Buehler, Stanford University, soccer; Roberto Castro, Georgia Institute of Technology, golf; Dennis Dixon, University of Oregon, football; Ben Wildman-Tobriner, Stanford University, swimming; Lisa Winkle, Calvin College, basketball and outdoor track; Jamie Wolf, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, diving; and Sarah Zerzan, Willamette University, cross country and outdoor track.

The Top VIII honorees are selected by the NCAA Honors Committee, which is composed of eight athletics administrators at member institutions and national distinguished citizens who are former student-athletes.

Pavan is the 16th Husker to earn to the honor, a total that leads the nation, and the fourth Husker volleyball winner, joining former greats Nancy Metcalf (2002), Janet Kruse (1992) and Virginia Stahr (1990). Pavan, the only volleyball player in the 2008 Today’s Top VIII, is just the 12th volleyball player ever receive the award which was first presented in 1973.

"It is truly humbling to see your name with such an elite group of student-athletes," Pavan said. "These people have accomplished so much in their sports and in other areas and it is special to be considered in that group."

Volleyball NCAA Today’s Top VIII Winners

Year-Recepient, School
1986-Susan Harbour, Oregon
1987-Lisa Ice, San Jose State
1989-Dylann Duncan, BYU
1990-Virginia Stahr, Nebraska
1992-Janet Kruse, Nebraska
1995-Amy Albers, Washington (Mo.)
1998-Kasey A. Morlock, North Dakota State*
1998-Carrie Ferguson, Capital (Ohio)*
1999-Kristin Folkl, Stanford
2002-Nancy Metcalf, Nebraska
2005-Ogonna Nnamani, Stanford
2008-Sarah Pavan, Nebraska*-two-sport athletes

"When I came on my visit, they showed me the list of the past Top VIII winners, and I was amazed," Pavan said. "I saw it and said ‘to be one of those you must to do something great.’ I didn’t understand how special it was. Being at Nebraska over the past four years, I began to understand how elite that group is. It is not something I ever expected to receive, and I am really honored to accept this."

"After the honors Sarah has earned during her career, this is the one award that eluded her because it is only presented to seniors," Nebraska Coach John Cook said. "Having had the experience of watching Nancy Metcalf win this award in 2002, this is the most prestigious honor that a college student-athlete can receive. It is truly the elite of the elite."

"While the Honda-Broderick is like the Heisman Trophy for athletic and academics, the Today’s Top VIII means even more because it is chosen from student-athletes, both male and female, from every sport from all three divisions. To be selected among the top student-athletes in the country is the ultimate honor, and it shows the commitment that the University of Nebraska has for its student athletes to succeed both academically and athletically. This is a proud moment for the Husker Nation and a great reflection on our program."

Pavan recently wrapped up one of the most decorated careers in college volleyball history, becoming one of only four players in NCAA Division I history to be a four-time first-team All-American. A three-time Big 12 Conference Player of the Year, Pavan was named the 2006-07 Honda Broderick Cup Winner and 2006 American Volleyball Coaches Association National Player of the Year as a junior. She was a four-time, all-conference selection and was selected as the Most Outstanding Player of the 2006 NCAA Championship, helping the Huskers to a national title. As a senior, Pavan averaged 4.83 kills, 1.90 digs and 0.49 service aces per game in earning Big 12 Player-of-the-Year honors for the third straight year. She led the Big 12 in kills and points per game (5.73) and was among the Big 12 leaders in service aces (second) and hitting percentage (.342, 10th). She finished her career with a school-record 2,008 kills, becoming only the fourth player in Big 12 history to reach that plateau.

She has been just as successful off the court, where she carries a 4.0 GPA in biochemistry. She is a three-time first-team Academic All-American and was chosen as the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American of the Year during 2006-07. Pavan has been named to the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor roll every semester at Nebraska and is a three-time Academic All-Big 12 performer. The Kitchener, Ontario, native is also active in Nebraska’s community outreach program, as she has volunteers for SafeQuarters to Benefit Friendship Home, a breast cancer walk and was a motivational speaker for the "School is Cool" Celebration program during her Nebraska career.


Here is the link

NEBRASKA ARMY GUARD RETURNS FROM IRAQ...(Thanks to Duane Tucker for sending this along)...

I do not have festive Christmasy videos on my website right now. I have something better: 2 weeks ago the 755 Chemical Company National Guard unit returned to Lincoln from a year in Iraq. I went there with two other photogs to take pics for the families. I then created a slideshow of the homecoming and posted it on my site. Here is the link to see the

It runs 8 minutes, so pull up a chair, your kids, and some kleenex.
And pass it on!

Merry Christmas,
- Todd
Todd Rundstrom


Sarah Pavan led Nebraska with 16 kills to top 2,000 career kills in her final match as a Husker.

Lincoln – Second-ranked Nebraska’s quest for consecutive national titles ended Saturday night, as the Huskers fell to No. 6 California, 30-28, 31-29, 30-26 at the UW Field House. The Huskers, bidding to become volleyball’s first repeat champion since USC in 2002 and 2003, ended their season with a 30-2 record, while Cal improved to 26-7 and advanced to its first national semifinal in school history.

The loss ended a remarkable run for Nebraska’s quartet of seniors, as Maggie Griffin, Christina Houghtelling and Sarah Pavan helped Nebraska to a 126-7 record, two national semifinal appearances, four Big 12 titles and the 2006 national championship.

Pavan became the first Husker and just the fourth Big 12 player to ever record 2,000 kills, as the senior right side hitter finished with a match-high 16 kills and finished her career with 2,008 kills to rank fourth in Big 12 history. Stalls finished with seven kills on .462 hitting, ended the year hitting a school and Big 12 record .473, breaking Virginia Stahr’s mark of .440 originally established in 1990. Both were chosen to the NCAA Madison Regional All-Tournament team

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