The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, October 13, 1999, Page 13, Image 13

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    NU success lays groundwork for in-state pipeline
VOLLEYBALL from page 12
of her players compete in college.
“Initially, it was the University of
Nebraska program that aroused peo
ple’s interests,” Kappas said. “It’s just
so high profile, and the girls go down
and watch those matches and see that
fervor and, of course, dream of going
Nikki Best was one of those girls
in the late 1980s. Best, Pettit’s assis
tant coach in charge of recruiting and
scouting, grew up in Lincoln and was
the 1993 Big Eight Player of the Year.
She* remembers attending NU
volleyball matches at the Coliseum in
junior high when the Huskers had not
reached their current national status.
Fans and the NU Athletic Department
were supportive, but they weren’t ga
ga for the team.
Then in 1986, Nebraska made it
to the first of Pettit’s six Final Fours,
which got the Lincoln East standout’s
blood flowing a bit faster when she
thought about becoming a Husker.
“That really sparked an interest in
the community,” Best said. “I know
the athletes that I played with were
extremely excited. When they made it
to that Final Four and started winning
the Big Eight over and over, it made
us want to excel more. We came to
camp, we tried to do everything we
could to be as good as (the NU play
ers) were. It was very inspiring.”
The Crop Grows
After that, NU got on a roll and
became a national power, and Terry
Pettit turned into a volleyball icon
that most of the high school coaches
in the state revered.
Since he began coaching, Pettit
has always emphasized the impor
tance of developing strong volleyball
players at an early age. Once he built
the Husker dynasty, he beefed up
NU’s summer camps, which are
attended by the top junior players and
coaches from around the state. He
also promoted club volleyball at the
junior high and high school levels.
Pettit said when he arrived in
Lincoln in 1977, there were two
junior volleyball programs in the
state. Now there are close to 100. The
programs made it possible for towns
across the state — no matter how
large or small — to build the compe
tition level on a year-round, not just
high school season, basis.
A lot of that has to do with Pettit,
according to Sharon Zavala, coach at
Grand Island Central Catholic, who
in 25 years has guided the school to
four Class C-l championships. She
said when NU volleyball became
huge 10 years ago, Pettit and his
assistants went to the high schools
and conducted coaching clinics.
“He has been such a great
resource for high school coaches,”
Zavala said. “A lot of us are just in
awe at him because he is so intelli
gent. His drills are not too advanced
for us to teach. He’s had an influence
on every Nebraska high school
coach’s philosophy.”
Said Pettit: “A lot of coaches,
when they’re not playing themselves,
will come to our matches, so I think
we’re pretty open. And they know that
they’re able to call down here, and
we’re going to help them if we can.”
Role models
Pettit not only gets himself and
his coaches involved in developing
the level of play at the high school
level, he makes sure he gets his play
ers into the mix as well.
The night doesn’t end for the
Nebraska volleyball team when its
home matches do. After each match,
the players sign autographs and talk
with the hordes of grade school and
junior high volleyball players who
idolize them.
And although this interaction is
something Pettit has pushed since he
arrived, it is something players like
co-captain Nikki Henk - one of
Kappas’ two Bellevue West graduates
to play for NU - relishes.
She remembers the NU players
doing the same thing for her when she
came down for the matches as a
junior player from Omaha.
“I looked up to those girls - they
were role models for me,” Henk said.
“I think when you have a lot of young
girls like that, they really do respect
what they see. If they see someone
out there dominating the court and
having a physical presence, it’s fun to
“The thing about (signing auto
graphs) is Coach Pettit doesn’t have
I looked up to those girls - they were
role models for me.”
Nikki Henk
NU co-captain
to remind us or make us do it. We like
sticking around and talking to them. I
mean, how many times do most peo
ple get to give out their autograph? I
know it will never happen to me
For six years, Schrad has been one
of those starry-eyed teenagers who
got to know her NU idols after match
es. Next year, she will become an
“It’s exciting because I’ve always
dreamed of playing here,” Schrad
said. “The players really got me into
volleyball. (The autographs after the
games) is really nice for the young
kids. It makes them feel like they
want to become a part of the pro
There’s no place like home
Pettit will be the first to say
Nebraska’s volleyball strength hasn’t
just boomed out of the pure hard work
and talent propelling his teams to win
championships and the program to
reach out to high school develop
Certainly, living in a state with
few major metropolitan areas or pro
fessional sports teams helps volley
ball’s exposure, as does having a sup
portive athletic department, universi
ty and fan base.
“Everybody in this state at some
point has seen the university play vol
leyball, whether it’s live in-person or
on NETV, and I think that’s had an
impact,” Pettit said.
“It’s given young women the
opportunity to dream and set goals
and stay. Some of them end up here or
go on playing at other colleges and
universities. It’s a relationship that
has certainly improved our program;
and our program, I think, continues to
improve the volleyball in this state.”
Moore put the fortunate situation
of being a part of volleyball in the
state of Nebraska in perspective.
“Every now and then, I just sit and
picture what it would be like to live in
some other state where volleyball
isn’t big, like in the South,” Moore
said. “And I wonder if you’re a person
that wantsrto do volleyball, and it’s
not huge in your state - what do you
have to look forward to or what do
you have as far as a role model to look
up to?”
Basketball great Chamberlain dies
■ The 63-year-old was found
dead in his California home
Tuesday after possibly suffering
a heart attack. c ~ ~
Chamberlain, one of the most dominant play
ers in the history of basketball and the only
one to score 100 points in an NBA game, died
Tuesday at 63.
Chamberlain’s body was found by author
ities who were called to his Bel-Air home
shortly after 2 p.m., said John Black, a Los
Angeles Lakers spokesman.
A fire department spokesman, Jim Wells,
said there were signs that Chamberlain might
have had a heart attack. Chamberlain, who
stayed active after his career as a long-dis
tance runner, was hospitalized with an irregu
lar heart beat in 1992.
Known as “Wilt the Stilt” and “The Big
Dipper,” the 7-foot-1 Chamberlain starred in
the NBA from 1959 through 1973, when he
played for the Philadelphia (later the San
Francisco) Warriors, the 76ers and the
He scored 31,419 points during his career,
a record until Kareem Abdul-Jabbar broke it
in 1984. Chamberlain, who never fouled out
in 1,205 regular-season and playoff games,
holds the record for career rebounding with
He was such a force that the NBA
changed some of its rules, including widen
ing the lane to try to keep him farther from the
“Wilt was one of the greatest ever, and we
will never see another one like him,” Abdul
Jabbar said.
Long after his career ended, Chamberlain
made news by claiming in an autobiography
he had had sex with 20,000 women.
“The women who I have been the most
attracted to, the most in love with, I’ve pushed
away the strongest,” the lifelong bachelor said
in a 1991 interview with The Associated
Press. “There are about five women I can
think of I could have married. I cared for them
a lot but not enough to make a commitment.”
Chamberlain, who began his professional
career with the Harlem Globetrotters in 1958,
was one of only two men to win the Most
Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year
awards in the same season (1959-60). He was
also MVP in 1966 through 1968. He led the
NBA in scoring seven straight seasons, 1960
66, and led the league in rebounding 11 of his
14 seasons.
One of his most famous records is the 100
points he scored in a single game in the
Philadelphia Warriors’ 169-147 defeat of the
New York Knicks on March 2, 1962, in
Hershey, Pa. He also holds the single-game
record for rebounds, 55, against Boston in
Chamberlain averaged 30.1 points a game
in his career, including a record 50.4 in the
1961-62 season with Philadelphia. He also
was one of the most versatile big men ever,
leading the league in assists with 702 in 1967
He led his team into the playoffs 13 times,
winning two world championships. The first
came in 1966-67 with the Philadelphia 76ers,
the second in 1971-72 with the Lakers, which
won a record 33 straight games.
His teams lost in the finals four other
times and were beaten in the conference final
six times.
Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics almost
always seemed to be the nemesis of
Chamberlain-led teams, beating them twice
in the championship series and five times in
the conference finals. Three times, a series
was decided by a seventh game that Boston
won by either one or two points.
“We’ve lost a giant of a man in every
sense of the word,” NBA commissioner David
Stern said. “The shadow of accomplishment
he cast over our game is unlikely ever to be
MU aims for
Big 12 title
TIGERS from page 12
The Tigers’ defense, Blitz said, was what sep
arated MU from the Comhuskers a year ago and
is much improved.
“We are more talented there,” he said, “and
the true test of where we’ve come will be on
NU Head Coach John Walker is aware of
Missouri’s improvement.
“Missouri has gotten to a level where they
will be a top 15-20 team for many years to come,”
he said. “They are definitely a top contender for
the Big 12 title.
“Brian is a good recruiter, and it will be easi
er for them to recruit because of their success.”
MU’s success will not only be determined by
the Nebraska game this weekend. The Tigers host
No. 21 Texas A&M next weekend.
The games with NU and A&M will be one of
the most important stretches in the Tigers’ histo
ry, Blitz said.
“These two weekends will mean a lot as a
measuring stick,” he said. “Those teams play
with a focus and a physical level, and to compete
with the class of the conference, we will have to
match their intensity.”
402-472-176! (FAX)
20 Nebraska Union
P.O. Box 880448
Lincoln, NE 68588-0448
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Other criminal matters, call Sanford Pollack 476-7474. ,
Cycle Works
Prime riding is among us, so don’t put your bike away
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Bikes from Trek, Specialized, Klein, and Bontrager, on
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For all your insurance needs: auto, home, health, life
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Birthright is a confidential helping hand. Please call for
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