The Athletic Hall of Fame at Nebraska Wesleyan University will induct eight new members as a part of Homecoming festivities on Saturday, Oct. 31. The ceremony will be part of an induction breakfast, which starts at 9 a.m., in the Patio Dining Room of the Roy G. Story Student Center. Six former athletes and two Spirit of the Plainsmen award winners will be inducted this year.
Since 1970, NWU’s Athletic Hall of Fame has recognized the outstanding contributions of former student-athletes by inducting teams and individuals, as well as other strong supporters of the athletic program. Profiles on the Class of 2009 follow:
Brad Bohn ‘91
By racking up 18 interceptions, 120 tackles, and 17 pass break-ups over his career as a defensive back, Brad Bohn (Bennington, Neb.) helped make the Nebraska Wesleyan defense one of the most feared in the NIAC. At the time of his graduation, Bohn had the most career interceptions, a mark that stood until last season. Currently he ranks second on the all-time charts in career interceptions and most interceptions in a season. In 1988 and 1989 he was named honorable mention All-NIAC and in 1990 he earned Second-Team All-NIAC honors. He was also named a First-Team NAIA All-American in 1990, First-Team Champion All-American in 1990, and All-Nebraska for his stellar senior season.
Not only did Bohn experience much individual success at Nebraska Wesleyan, but NWU had a 30-11 record during Bohn’s career and earned three straight NIAC Championships by winning the conference championship in 1988, 1989, and 1990. He helped lead the Plainsmen to back-to-back appearances in the NAIA Playoffs in 1988 and 1989. In 1989 Bohn helped lead arguably the best football squad in school history to the second round of the national tournament by beating Chadron State College 46-43 in a double-overtime thriller. Bohn finished his career with 120 tackles, 18 interceptions, 17 pass break-ups, two fumble recoveries, and one defensive touchdown.
Adam Decker ‘96
The list of accolades for hurdler Adam Decker (Norfolk, Neb.) seems to be endless. From 1993-1996 Decker was a nine-time NCAA III All-American, two-time NAIA All-American, two-time NCAA II National Champion (55 Hurdles, 110 Hurdles), 18-time All-NIAC performer, seven-time NIAC individual champion, eight-time All-NIAC team champion, and helped NWU to seven top ten NCAA National Championship finishes.
Today, Decker’s name is littered throughout the All-Time Charts. He currently holds school records in the 55 Meter Intermediate Hurdles, 110 Meter High Hurdles, and the 4x110 Meter High Hurdles as well as holding the first-year records in the 55 Meter Hurdles and the 110 Meter Hurdles and 12 All-Time Top Ten performances. In 1994, Decker earned All-American status in the 60 Meter Hurdles at the NCAA Indoor Championships as the Nebraska Wesleyan men had the school’s highest finish as the national runner-up. At the 1995 Outdoor Championships, Decker earned three All-American awards, ranking him fourth in most All-American Awards in one meet. During his career he earned 11 All-American Awards, which currently ranks him eighth All-Time at Nebraska Wesleyan.
Amanda Jurgenson ‘98
Success and Amanda Jurgenson (Fremont, Neb.) go side by side with each other. In a career spanning from 1995 to 1998, Jurgenson marked herself as one of the best sprinters to ever come through Nebraska Wesleyan. Jurgenson was a nine-time NCAA All-American, two-time NAIA All-American, 22-time All-NIAC performer, nine-time NIAC individual champion, and currently holds the school record in the 440 Yard Dash. She is tied for second for the most All-American Awards in a career and was a National Champion in the 4x400 Meter Relay at the 1996 NCAA Indoor Championships. Amanda’s name appears 19 times throughout the NWU All-Time Charts.
At the 1996 NIAC Championships, Amanda won four events, marking the first of four times that she would accomplish the feat. At the 1997 Outdoor Championships, Jurgenson earned All-American status by placing in the top eight in the 100 Meter Dash, 200 Meter Dash, 4x100 Meter Relay, and the 4x400 Meter Relay. By earning four All-American Awards at one meet, Jurgenson is tied with NWU track greats Kim Oden and Joni Westland for the most All-American Awards earned at one meet.
Matt Kechely ‘95
Throughout the early 1990’s, Matt Kechely (Lincoln Neb.) anchored the Nebraska Wesleyan baseball team, leaving his name littered through out the all-time charts, earning numerous athletic and academic awards, and helping NWU to the 1992 NIAC Championship. After a freshman season that had Matt seeing limited action in 21 games, Kechely exploded on the conference scene as a sophomore, hitting .405 with four home runs and 18 RBI’s. During his junior season, Kechely hit an astonishing .496 with five home runs and 39 RBI’s. To wrap up his career, he hit .405 with five home runs and 22 RBI’s. For his career Kechely hit .417 with 85 RBI’s, 15 home runs, and 70 runs.
He was named to the All-NIAC First-Team in 1993, 1994, and 1995 and was named the NIAC Player of the Year in 1994. In 1994 and 1995 Kechely was given All-Midwest Region Honors as one of the top first-basemen in the region. Kechely, a graduate of Lincoln East H.S., also experienced success in the classroom as he was named an Academic All-American in 1994 and 1995, named the Academic All-American of the Year in 1995, and was the first NWU athlete to be named Academic All-American of the Year and the eighth to earn multiple Academic All-American awards.
Randy Larsen ‘85
Randy Larsen (Lincoln, Neb.), who played forward from 1981-85, was a key player on some of Nebraska Wesleyan’s best basketball teams in school history totaling 75 wins during his career. He was part of two NCAA III Tournament teams and was a key piece of the 1984-85 team that finished third in the country during his senior season.
The four-year letterwinner from Lincoln Northeast started all four seasons at forward for NWU. Larsen was a four-year All-NIAC performer, earning honorable mention honors his first three seasons and Second-Team All-NIAC recognition as a senior.
The 6’8 forward finished his career with 1,097 career points, which was 15th in NWU history when he graduated. He also pulled down 697 rebounds, a number that still ranks 9th all-time today. His 54 steals as a junior is the fourth best single season total in school history and his 45 steals as a senior ranks ninth.
Lotta Nilsson ‘97
Lotta Nilsson, a native of Stjarnhov, Sweden, is the first soccer player to be inducted into the Nebraska Wesleyan Hall of Fame. The most decorated player in NWU women’s soccer history, Nilsson was a prolific goal scorer for Nebraska Wesleyan from 1994-97.
Nilsson scored 75 goals in her career, which still is the school record for NWU women. Her season total of 28 goals as a senior set the school record and still ranks second today, while her goal totals as a freshman and sophomore rank third and fifth. Her junior season was short as she missed the first half of the season due to injury.
The four-year starter saved her best season for last in 1996 when she was named an NAIA honorable mention All-American. She was also the NIAC Player-of-the-Year and was named to the NAIA Great Plains and NSCAA Midwest All-Region Teams.
Nilsson also helped the NWU women’s soccer team to four-straight postseason appearances during her four seasons, including victories in the postseason during the 1994 and 1995 seasons.
Bruce Otto, Les Schmidt
Spirit of the Plainsman Award
Bruce Otto and Les Schmidt are the 2009 Spirit of the Plainsmen award winners. Both Bruce and Les have been dedicated advocates to the Nebraska Wesleyan softball program over the years. Not a NWU softball game day is complete without spotting Bruce and Les in the press box. Bruce has served as the Public Address Announcer and the official “Voice” of NWU softball, while Les has been running the scoreboard and keeping score at all the games.
“Bruce and Les are two of the great statesmen of the game of softball in Lincoln,” NWU head softball coach Lance Kingery says. “These two men have helped encourage and promote our players here at NWU and they have added an element of tradition and dignity to our game days.”