Shawn M. Bouwens ’97
Shawn Bouwens, a graduate of Lincoln Northeast High School, was one of the most dominant offensive linemen ever to don a Nebraska Wesleyan football uniform. In his years as a Plainsman, the four-year starter earned a spot on the All-NIAC first team twice, received NAIA Division II All-America honorable mention in 1988, made first team in 1989 and was an Associated Press Little All-American his senior season.
In 1989, his pass blocking allowed the Plainsmen to rush for 216.2 yards per game, accumulate 421.8 in total offense per game and score an average of 33.7 points, all of which rank second on the NWU all-time charts. The Plainsmen also finished with a stellar 9-1 record that year.
In 1990, Bouwens became only the second player in NWU history to be selected in the National Football League draft when the New England Patriots chose him in the ninth round. He then spent four seasons with the Detroit Lions and played for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995.
In 1997, after his stint in the NFL, Shawn returned to Nebraska Wesleyan to complete requirements for his degree in business administration. Shawn’s #69 is just the second number to be retired in team history.
Ron L. Moran ’86
Ron Moran, a graduate of York High School, was a force on the track during the mid-1980s at Nebraska Wesleyan. The seven-time All-American wrote his name into the NWU record books, having broken three school records individually and as a member of three record-setting, relay teams.
Moran was named an indoor All-American four times with outstanding performances in the NCAA Division III 1500, NAIA Distance Medley Relay and twice in the mile. At the NCAA level in outdoor track, he earned All-America honors in the 800 once and the 1500 twice.
The 1986 graduate holds the school record in the indoor 1000 yards (2:13.4) and mile (4:10.7). He was also a member of the record-holding indoor 4x880 relay (7:44.2) and Sprint Medley Relay (3:34.6). He ran the fastest outdoor 1500 ever at NWU (3:49.0) and was on the record-setting Distance Medley Relay (9:52.0) in 1985.
Moran also guided the 1983 and 1984 cross country teams to a birth in the NAIA national meet. In 1984, he placed 85th out of 350 runners to lead the Plainsmen to a 25th place finish overall.
Michele Anderson Mitchell ’86
Michele (Anderson) Mitchell led a string of powerful volleyball teams at Nebraska Wesleyan in the mid-1980s. While she was playing, the Plainswomen won the conference title twice, finished second once and placed ninth in the nation when she was a first-year player.
The native of Sumner, Neb., was a two-sport athlete having played both basketball and volleyball. During her three years at NWU, she earned All-Conference first team in volleyball twice and second team once. She was also a two-time Academic All-America selection and currently holds the school record for career serving percentage (.975) and serve percentage in a single season (.985).
In 1982, Michele led her team in blocks and kills. In 1983 and 1984, she served as a co-captain and was voted the team’s best offensive player after her sophomore year. On the basketball court, Michele had 90 rebounds and averaged 4.4 points per game during the 1982-83 season.
Diane Humphrey Bean ’89
Diane (Humphrey) Bean was not only a force on the softball team at Nebraska Wesleyan, but also a dominating performer in the classroom.
The native of Fremont, Neb., graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan with a 3.95 GPA while earning a Bachelor’s degree in Math. Her outstanding grades along with her stellar performance in the outfield earned her three GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-America awards.
The lefthander is ranked second all-time at NWU in career batting average, third in career hits, third in career runs and holds the school record in career and single-season stolen bases. As a senior, she led the conference in steals and led her team in hits, runs, batting average and home runs.
Michael D. Higgins ’88
Mike Higgins, a native of Grand Island, Neb., was one of the most productive golfers ever to hit the links at Nebraska Wesleyan. He became a two-time All-American by twice finishing in the top 25 in the NCAA Division III Championships.
When he made his first run in 1987, he finished tied for 24th in the tournament by shooting a four-round 307. In 1988, he captured All-America honors again when he finished in a tie for 25th with a three-day score of 233.
Not only was Higgins one of the top golfers in the nation, he was also a champion in the classroom. He received Academic All-America honors in 1987 and 1988.
Jo E. Bunstock
Spirit of the Plainsman Award
Since August of 1983, Jo Bunstock has served as a major contributor to the success of Nebraska Wesleyan athletics. During her 17 years with the NWU athletic department, she has offered her support in numerous capacities. In 1983, she was hired as a secretary for the department. She then became secretary for the athletic director and later an administrative assistant. In 1991, she was named Assistant to the Director of Athletics, and in 1999, she was appointed Senior Women’s Administrator.
Bunstock has performed at a high level with everyday tasks and has gone above and beyond the call of duty. In addition to her ever-increasing list of responsibilities, Bunstock has served on the task force for women’s issues and has assisted with the booster club golf tournament. She is also on the President’s Council for Cultural Diversity and plays a huge role in the VIP (Ventures in Partnership) program with Huntington Elementary School, in which she has led Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway and Red Ribbon Day efforts.
Bunstock believes that she has given a female perspective to the athletic department. She is a Nebraska Wesleyan graduate and has always considered it “her school”. Bunstock is thankful for having the opportunity to work with some of the best college coaches at this level, and she is thankful for the amount of professional growth she has been able to attain in her career.