The Athletic Hall of Fame at Nebraska Wesleyan University inducted seven new members as a part of Homecoming festivities. Today’s ceremony was part of an induction breakfast, held in the Roy G. Story Student Center.
For more than 30 years, 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 Hall of Fame’s Class of 2003 follow:
Steven K. Joekel ’75
Steve Joekel of Lincoln, Neb., was a standout basketball player for Nebraska Wesleyan in the early to mid-1970s.
Joekel was a four-year letter winner and three-time All-Nebraska Intercollegiate Athletic Conference performer for coach Irv Peterson. As a starter, he averaged more than 18 points a game, and his 1,299 career points ranked seventh in team history at the time. Joekel was the team’s leading scorer as both a junior and senior. His 570 career field goals still rank ninth at NWU, and his 20.6 scoring average in 1974, when Nebraska Wesleyan finished 14-10, still ranks 18th on the school’s all-time charts. As a senior, he was named to the Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World-Herald Nebraska State College First Team.
Joekel was also a sprinter, middle distance runner and long jumper under Woody Greeno. He earned medals at the conference track meet and was a member of Nebraska Wesleyan’s conference championship teams as a sophomore and junior. He is the second member of his family to be enshrined as a member of the NWU Athletic Hall of Fame. Steve follows his father, Ron Joekel, who was inducted in 1970.
Douglas D. Hahn ’77
Doug Hahn, a native of Hordville, Neb., was a prolific defensive player during his football career at Nebraska Wesleyan.
Despite playing defensive end, Hahn earned the Plainsman Award as the team’s leading tackler in 1974, 1975 and 1976. A two-time All-Nebraska Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NIAC) pick, he was recognized three years by the Lincoln Journal Star and twice by the Omaha World-Herald. In 1975, Hahn was selected into “Best College Football Players of America.” He was also named a tri-captain and chosen the Most Valuable Player by his teammates when NWU shared the conference title in 1976.
As a senior, Hahn earned Nebraska College Defensive Player of the Year honors from the Sunday Lincoln Journal Star. He recorded a sack in every game that season, including four against Peru State College. Hahn’s 151 tackles in 1976 rank fifth on the NWU single-season charts, and his 381 career tackles are the fourth most in team history. In 1977, Hahn’s parents attended his graduation without him after he was invited to tryout with the Denver Broncos.
Kristi Jelinek Hendrickx ’89
In the late 1980s, Kris (Jelinek) Hendrickx established herself as one of the most productive women’s basketball players in NWU history.
Originally from Grand Island, Neb., Jelinek ranks first in career rebounds (912) and second in career scoring (1,398 points) all-time at Nebraska Wesleyan. She also sits atop the single-season charts with 313 boards and a 12.2 rebounding average in 1987-88. In four years with the team, she led the team in points and rebounds per game three seasons in each category. Her 559 career field goals rank second, and she ranks sixth in both career free throws made (280) and career free throw percentage (.702). In all, Jelinek appears on NWU’s Top 10 statistical charts 17 times.
She was named NAIA District 11 Honorable Mention in 1986, All-Nebraska Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Second Team in 1988 and was named to the All-State squad three times.
Lisa Riecken Detlefsen ’90
Lisa (Riecken) Detlefsen of Lyons, Neb., was a dual sport star at Nebraska Wesleyan, competing in volleyball and track from 1985-1989.
In volleyball, the teams on which Riecken played averaged nearly 34 wins per season, and she led Nebraska Wesleyan to its best record in team history (45-9) in 1988. Her awards as a junior included: team MVP, NAIA District 11 Player of the Week, three All-Tournament team selections, All-Nebraska Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NIAC), All-District 11 and NAIA All-America Honorable Mention. As a senior, she led the team into the NCAA Division III Championships and earned All-Central Region, All-NIAC and NWU Outstanding Female Athlete honors. Statistically, Riecken remains one of the best all-around players to ever step on the volleyball court at Nebraska Wesleyan. Her 583 digs (third), 470 kills (fifth), 125 total blocks (seventh) and 41 solo blocks (fifth) in 1988 all rank among the Top 10 best single-season performances in the annals of team history. Riecken also appears on several career charts, including fourth in kills (1,320) and digs (1,459), fifth in kills per game (2.99) and digs per game (3.31), and 10th in career attack percentage (.264).
In track and field, Riecken earned NCAA All-America status in the high jump in 1988. Her career-best high jump marks of 5-4 still rank in the top five of Nebraska Wesleyan’s indoor and outdoor charts. Indoors, Riecken graduated holding the record in the 440 with a time of 60.41, which now ranks fourth all-time at NWU, and her 55-meter hurdle time of 8.66 still ranks sixth in team history. Outdoors, her time of 15.40 in the 100-meter hurdles ranks sixth, and her time of 63.09 in the 400-meter hurdles ranks third.
Daniel J. Routh ’92
Lincoln, Neb., native Dan Routh left his mark on the Nebraska Wesleyan baseball record books like no other first baseman in team history.
Routh was a three-time First Team All-Nebraska Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NIAC) pick and twice earned Second Team All-NCAA Division III Midwest Region as NWU won consecutive outright titles from 1990-92. He was also an honorable mention All-NIAC selection in 1989 when the team finished second in the conference standings. As a sophomore, Routh hit .421 and drove in 45 runs in helping Nebraska Wesleyan set a new record for victories in a season with 25. He was later named to the GTE CoSIDA Academic All-America Team in both 1990 and 1992, earning first team honors as a senior, when he also earned NWU’s Outstanding Male Athlete award.
In all, Routh set 11 school records, including six career marks. He still owns the top spot on the NWU career charts for putouts (902), at-bats (480) and is the team’s all-time leading hitter with 172 total hits. His 264 putouts in 1991 and .996 fielding percentage in 1992 also remain school records. In addition, Routh ranks second all-time at Nebraska Wesleyan for career doubles (35), runs batted in (132) and fielding percentage (.991). He also hit 10 career homers and scored 104 runs.
Gary D. Wasserman ’93
Gary Wasserman, originally from Grand Island, Neb., is the most accomplished distance runner ever to compete for Nebraska Wesleyan.
Wasserman was a 14-time All-American in track and the first athlete in school history to earn All-America status three times in cross country. He won a total of four NCAA Division III individual crowns, including three consecutive championships in the indoor 5,000-meter run and claimed Nebraska Wesleyan’s only national title in cross country (1992). Wasserman’s indoor 5,000 time in 1993 (14:11.54) broke the Div. III national meet record by 14 seconds. He was also the national runner-up in the 5,000 and 10,000 at both the 1992 and 1993 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Wasserman still owns four school records in track (indoor 3,000 and 5,000; outdoor 5,000 and 10,000) and is also the NWU record holder for the cross country team’s 8,000-meter home course at Pioneers Park (25:11). He earned GTE CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in 1992 and 1993, making first team at-large as a senior, when he shared NWU’s Outstanding Male Athlete award with Darren Stohlmann. Wasserman also received the Nebraska Wesleyan Accounting Student of the Year award and received a postgraduate scholarship from the NCAA.
Dr. Anthony R. Epp
Spirit of the Plainsman Award
Dr. Tony Epp, chair of Nebraska Wesleyan’s modern languages department, has been selected to receive the 2003 Spirit of the Plainsman Award.
Dr. Epp has been an enthusiastic supporter of the athletic department during his tenure at NWU and he played an instrumental role in having the names of the school’s NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and National Football Foundation/College Hall of Fame National Scholar-Athlete Award winners added to the Wall of Scholars, which is located in the Smith-Curtis Building.
“Tony Epp is the epitome of a liberal arts professor,” NWU Director of Athletics Dr. Ira Zeff said. “He truly cares about his students in all phases of their lives, and the Spirit of the Plainsman Award is appropriate in appreciation of his tireless support of our student-athletes and the athletic department as a whole.”
In 2003, Dr. Epp even traveled to both the indoor and outdoor NCAA Division III Track & Field Championships. He also served as the keynote speaker at Nebraska Wesleyan’s celebration of National Student-Athlete Day earlier this year. Writing letters of recommendation, sending cards of congratulations and interacting during his lunch hour in the cafeteria are among the ways Dr. Epp impacts NWU student-athletes on a daily basis.