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The Osborne Athletic Complex houses Nebraska's weight room.

Nebraska's weight-training program was on the cutting edge in the 1970s and 1980s. Now the school is celebrating 50 years of strength and conditioning by honoring 28 former student-athletes on the Husker Power 50-Year Team.

Nebraska released the names on Thursday in conjunction with the celebration of 150 years of college football.

The group, which includes 10 football players and two players from 18 other sports, will be honored during a private event on Aug. 30, the night before Nebraska's football home opener against South Alabama.

Boyd Epley, the assistant athletic director for strength and conditioning, led a committee that selected each representative for the Husker Power 50-Year Team, as well as 20 other nominees for football, and two other nominees for each of the other sports. In all, 84 former players and three coaches, including former football coach Tom Osborne, will be recognized.

The committee considered All-America status, world records, Olympic champions, performance in the weight room and general overall talent in selecting the Husker Power 50-Year team and nominees.

The non-football honorees are: Alex Gordon, baseball; Shannon Pluhowsky, bowling; Rachel Martin, rifle; Karen Jennings, women’s basketball; Eric Piatkowski, men’s basketball; Penny Heyns, swimming and diving; Sarah Sasse, women’s golf; Steve Friesen, men’s golf; Shelly Bartlett, women’s gymnastics; Jim Hartung, men’s gymnastics; Aubrei Corder, soccer; Lori Sippel, softball; Merlene Ottey, women’s track and field; Kevin Coleman, men’s track and field; Ann Swanson, women’s tennis; Steven Jung, men’s tennis; Laura (Pilakowski) Buttermore, volleyball; Jordan Burroughs, wrestling; Tom Osborne, head coach.

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The football honorees are: Jimmy Williams, defensive end; Neil Smith, defensive line; Rich Glover, middle guard; Barrett Ruud, linebacker; Curtis Cotton, defensive back; Mike Rozier, offensive back; Johnny Rodgers, receiver; Will Shields, offensive line; Dave Rimington, center; Scott Frost, quarterback. 

Nebraska, in 1969, became the first school in the nation to hire a strength coach and lift weights in season when Bob Devaney appointed Epley to begin a strength and conditioning program. Devaney saw immediate results, and Nebraska became a pioneer in the field, as other schools across the nation began adding strength and conditioning programs.

“Basically we’re just trying to have some fun and reflect on what a great history Nebraska has in strength and conditioning,” Epley said in a statement.

Other non-football nominees were: Darin Erstad and Ken Harvey, baseball; Julia Bond and Melanie Crawford, bowling; Hannah Virga and Alex Lorentz, rifle; Jordan Hooper and Amy Williams, women’s basketball; Tom Wald and Larry Florence, men’s basketball; Erin Oeltjen and Anna Filipcic, swimming and diving; Allison Stewart and Joanne Brooks, women’s golf; Peggy Liddick and Michelle Bryant, women’s gymnastics; Phil Cahoy and Pete Studinsky, men’s gymnastics; Sharolta Nonen and Christine Latham, soccer; Marjani Knighten and Peaches James, softball; Melissa Price and Doreen Heldt, women’s track and field; Nick Percy and Ron Childs, men’s track and field; Stacey Tomkiewicz and Mary Weatherholt, women’s tennis; Fungai Tongoona and Christopher Aumueller, men’s tennis; Jordan Larson and Christina Houghtelling, volleyball; Tolly Thompson and Craig Brester, wrestling; John Cook and Francis Allen, head coaches.

Other football nominees were: Willie Harper and Kyle Vanden Bosch, defensive end; Ndamukong Suh and Rod Horn, defensive line; Danny Noonan and Kerry Weinmaster, middle guard; Jerry Murtaugh and Lavonte David, linebacker; Russell Gary and Mike Brown, defensive back; Jeff Kinney and Ameer Abdullah, offensive back; Irving Fryar and Jordan Westerkamp, receiver; Aaron Taylor and Kelvin Clark, offensive line; Rik Bonness and Tom Davis, center; Eric Crouch and Tommie Frazier, quarterback.

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