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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Feb. 24, 1999)
Wednesday, February 24,1999 Page 9
While most of us are worrying
about peace in the Middle East, tax
season coming upon us and when the
hell Elizabeth Dole will wipe that
fake perma-gnn off her face, there's
some pretty' scintillating action going
down here with Nebraska athletics.
While most of us are wondering if
the basketball teams will be douig the
dance in March, there's one sport here
where few questions exist - gymnas
Yes, gymnastics. You know, the
sport where athletes do motions and
routines that most hyperactive mon
keys couldn't do. The sport where if
you're not in peak physical shape, you
might as well do a cannonball on the
Gymnastics is one of the unap
preciated jewels of Nebraska sports.
Of course, it will never get the hype or
pub that football, basketball and vol
leyball get, but it beats all of those
sports in national championships
combined (eight for the men's team).
Having solid gymnastics teams at
NU is about as much of a sure thing as
NASCAR driver Dick Trickle getting
a Keith Olbermann mention. And
both teams are on their way to having
banner years. In case you missed it,
they're both ranked in the Top 10. and
they’ve both caught on fire lately.
The men beat No. 4 Iowa Sunday
and provided nothing short of an eye
popping heart-stopper, with their fire
cracker. Jason Hardabura, sticking a
season high on the high bar in the
dual’s final event to knock off their
The women, despite not having
their top performer, junior All
American Heather Brink, have
pounded their opponents the last two
meets and have also won 23 straight
Both teams are deep in talent.
And both teams know how to fire
themselves and the crowd up.
The glue that holds the NU gym
tradition together is the coaches.
Women's Coach Dan Kendig picked
up win No. 200 Monday. Men's
Coach Francis Allen has been here for
three decades, but he took some time
off in 1980 and 1992 to coach the
USA Olympic team.
The best tiling about NU gymnas
tics is the genuineness of its people -
the coaches, gymnasts, boosters and
parents. Because it's not football,
because the cameras aren't always
rolling, the people in it are for real. No
egos. The two teams go to each other's
meets and don't brush away the
But both teams are serious about
one thing: April. The NCAA
Championships. The women will
play host to their regional in Lincoln:
the men will play host to the NCAAs.
And once again, any worrying
about the gymnastics teams w ill not
Gaskins is a sophomore broad
casting major a Daily Nebraskan
Pettit denies retirement rumors
By David Wilson
Nebraska Volleyball Coach Terry
Pettit was blitzed with questions regard
ing the possibility of his ev entual retire
ment Tuesday - just one day after he
announced that Wisconsin Head Coach
Joint Cook would join the Comhusker
staff as an associate head coach.
A former NU assistant under Pettit,
the 42-year-old Cook will return to
Lincoln next week with seven years of
head coaching expenence at Wisconsin
under his belt. Cook, who posted a
career record of 161-73, helped the
Badgers come within one match of the
NCAA Final Four in each of the past
“I can understand why people could
possibly read something into this hire,
because John is an exceptional coach,"
Pettit said. “But there are a lot of things
involved in this."
Though there are no clauses in
Cook's contract that ensure he will be
the next head coach at Nebraska when
Pettit retires. Pettit did not deny the like
lihood that Cook could take over.
Cook said Tuesday that his friend
ship with Pettit and previous ties to the
Nebraska program were factors in his
decision to leave Wisconsin.
“1 have Husker in my blood,” said
Cook, who served as an NU assistant
coach from 1988-91. “I have a very
strong connection with Coach Pettit at
Nebraska. He’s getting ready to wind
down his coaching career, and he’s been
very passionate about asking me to
come and do this. That means a lot to
You not only have to recruit the
best players to play, but you have
to recruit the best talent for your
NU volleyball coach
best players to play,
but you have to
recruit the best talent
for your staff,” Pettit
said. “One person
that deserves a lot of
credit is (Athletic
Director) Bill Byrne.
He's done every
thing he can to keep
me doing this.
John is going to keep
Pettit said other coaches were con
sidered for the position when Assistant
Coach Cathy Noth resigned last month,
but Pettit said be felt Cook was the best
person for the job.
“You not only have to recruit the
But for how long, Pettit wouldn t
At a press conference in Madison,
Wis., Tuesday, Cook also was faced
Please see PETTIT on 10
MAI 1 MlLLkKyUiN
AMANDA WENT battles for the ball in a home loss to Baylor. The Huskers try to snap a two-game home losing
streak tonight with a game against Kansas State. The game at the Devaney Sports Center is the final one for four
By Jay Saunders
It's a must-win situation. Again.
After the Nebraska women’s bas
ketball team lost to Kansas on Feb.
13, Coach Paul Sanderford said the
team needed to w in three of their next
four games to make the NCAA
The Cornhuskers (17-10 overall
and 6-8 in the Big 12 Conference) lost
their second consecutive home game
Sunday to Texas Tech 75-62. Now,
there is no more room for error start
ing with the final home game of the
season against Kansas State tonight.
“We need to win them both,”
Sanderford said. “Every game is
going to be a knee-knocker.”
The Wildcats (13-11 and 6-8)
come into the Bob Devaney Sports
Center for a 7:05 p.m. game.
It will be the second time the
teams have played this season. On
Jan. 13 in Manhattan, Kan., the
Wildcats beat Nebraska 79-67. KSU
was led by freshman Kristin
Rethman, who hit five of 7 3-point
Please see HOME on 10
Johnson gets nod at point; Nee looks for spark
■ The Huskers go to the
6-foot-6 sophomore in a
key game against KSU.
By Adam Klinker
Senior staff writer
Thi ngs were different for the
Nebraska men's basketball team 12
But for a team that seems to be rein
venting itself about every four weeks,
things also seem oddly familiar.
For instance, tonight's 7:05 game
between the Cornhuskers (17-10 over
all. 9-5) and Kansas State in Manhattan.
Kan., mirrors the first NU-K.SU match
up on Jan. 13.
Like last time, the Huskers are rid
ing a two-game losing streak while the
Wildcats (17-10. 6-8) are still maintain
ing a roller-coaster nde through the Big
However, while the song remains
the same, there's a new bandleader at the
head of the Comhusker offense.
Sophomore Chad Johnson, follow
ing his stint at the point guard spot in the
NU loss to Texas Tech on Saturday, will
again get the nod tonight at KSU.
"We're searching," Danny Nee said
in regards to the point guard spot, where
junior Joe Holmes has started and
played for the majority of the year.
“Sometimes they don't guard Joe,
and it's really easy to double-team
(Husker center) Venson (Hamilton),''
Nee said. “With Chad, a scorer in the
point guard position, they have to play
us a little straighten a little more hon
Against Tech. Johnson had 9 points
and three rebounds and was instrumen
tal at the free-throw line down the
Johnson has also proven himself to
be a steady defender. Whereas Holmes
is 5 foot 11 inches tall, Johnson is 6 foot
6 inches tall and. Nee said, it pays to
have some height on both ends.
“We did it for defensive reasons,
too,” Nee said. “We want our biggest
guys out there."
Nee said Holmes will continue to
contribute at the point guard spot, but he
felt that it was time for a change.
"When the games get this big and
get this tight, you try to put your best
chance to win on the floor," he said.
"Whatever that combo is, that’s what
I'm going to do.”
Johnson's teammates also seem
comfortable with the change.
"It’s a little confusing at first," senior
forward Larry Florence said. “But
Chad’s a good player. He can handle (the
pressure). Right now. Coach has made
his mind up to put Chad at the No. 1
spot, and I think it'll work out for the
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