UNI announces 2010 Athletics Hall of Fame class

Courtesy of the WCF Courier

CEDAR FALLS — Five individuals and one team have been selected for induction into the University of Northern Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame this fall.

The induction will take place on Sept. 18 during this year’s Hall of Fame Weekend as the Panther football team takes on Stephen F. Austin.

The 2010 Hall of Fame class includes former softball standout Lindsay Wood, former football star and NFL veteran Dedric Ward, former All-American wrestler Joel Greenlee, former volleyball player Molly O’Brien and Lee Miller, the recipient of the Dr. Jitu D. Kothari Meritorious Service Award. The 1964 State College of Iowa (now UNI) football team will also be inducted.

Lindsay Wood was a member of the UNI softball team from 1999-2002 and finished her career as one of the most decorated Panthers in school history. A four-time first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference selection, Wood was also named to the all-tournament team twice. She began her career in 1999 as the MVC Rookie of the Year and ended it in 2002 as the conference’s Player of the Year. Along the way, she led UNI to a share of the conference championship in 2000 and set a numerous school records, including a batting average of .446 in her senior season. Wood also became the first UNI softball player to be honored as a first-team All-American in 2002. To this day, she is still the MVC career hits leader, with her 269 career hits totaling more than any other player in the history of the Missouri Valley Conference.

Dedric Ward was an All-American wide receiver on the UNI football team from 1993-96. In his time as a Panther, Ward rewrote the UNI and Gateway Football Conference record books like no receiver ever had before. Over four seasons, he amassed 3,876 receiving yards and made 41 career touchdown receptions – both records that still top the all-time lists at UNI and in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Ward’s consistency showed with three consecutive seasons of 1,000-plus receiving yards, leading the Gateway Conference each year from 1994-96. At one point, he went 27 consecutive games with a reception, and he ended his career as UNI’s all-time leader in receptions with 176. In 1995 – the first of two All-American seasons – he led the nation with 116.4 receiving yards per game. Ward ended his UNI career with 43 touchdowns – the second-most in school history – and 256 career points, the school record for a non-kicker. At the conclusion of his collegiate career, Ward ranked No. 2 in the NCAA in all-time receiving yardage behind only Jerry Rice. Ward went on to play eight seasons in the NFL for the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys, totaling 167 receptions and 2,307 yards.

Joel Greenlee wrestled for UNI from 1986-89, racking up more dual-meet wins than any other Panther in school history. He never lost a match in a collegiate dual meet, putting up a record of 58-0-3 to become the school’s all-time leader. Greenlee also established the best career winning percentage ever for a Panther wrestler with his 127-16-4 (.864) record. His 127 total wins rank him fourth all-time in school history. For his senior season, Greenlee went 44-2 and tallied 18 pins on his way to All-America honors for the second time. He qualified for the NCAA National Championships all four seasons, taking fourth as a junior and second place as a senior at heavyweight.

Molly O’Brien was a middle blocker for the UNI volleyball team from 2000-03. During her storied career at UNI, the Panthers won four Missouri Valley Conference championships and made four NCAA Tournament appearances, twice advancing to the Sweet 16. She was a four-time first-team All-MVC selection – one of only two players in league history to complete that feat. O’Brien was the MVC Player of the Year for three consecutive seasons from 2001-03, and was also honored as all-district by the American Volleyball Coaches Association for those three seasons. O’Brien received All-MVC Tournament team recognition all four years, taking MVP honors in 2001 and 2003. Three times, she was named to the conference’s scholar-athlete first-team. In 2002, O’Brien took third-team All-America honors, and in 2003 she was a second-team academic All-American. She ranks second all-time in the MVC with 653 career block assists and third all-time with 1,779 career kills. Her career hitting percentage of .315 is the second-best in school history. O’Brien was elected to the MVC All-Centennial team in 2006 as the top vote-getter and her 10-time MVC Player of the Week honors are the most ever.

Lee Miller, the recipient of the Dr. Jitu D. Kothari Meritorious Service Award, started a lifetime connection with UNI as a student in 1949, playing on the football team for one season. Miller graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1952 but did not disappear from the University scene, contributing in many different capacities over the next half-century. Over the years, he has served as the Director of Alumni and Development for UNI, the campanile fundraising chair and coordinator of the fund drive for the UNI-Dome. Miller initiated the Parents’ Association and the Students’ Association at UNI, as well as being a longtime member of the President’s Club, recruiting many new members along the way. He also served as director of the UNI Foundation and Director of Athletic Development. Miller has also lobbied the Iowa State Legislature in favor of UNI on numerous occasions.

Under the direction of head coach Stan Sheriff, the 1964 State College of Iowa football team posted a 9-2 record and won the only bowl game in school history. The Panthers dominated the trenches all season long, averaging 267.7 rushing yards per game and allowing only 103.7 rushing yards per game to lead the North Central Conference in both categories. SCI outscored its conference opponents 150-48 on its way to a 5-1 record in the league and a tie for the conference championship. On the strength of their overall 8-2 regular season record, the Panthers were invited to the 1964 Pecan Bowl in Abilene, Texas, where they defeated Lamar Tech, 19-17. The Pecan Bowl also served as the NCAA Midwest College Division Championship, one of only four bowl games in the College Division for the 1964 season. Fullback Randy Schultz was the star of the Panthers’ rushing attack, gaining 1,232 yards in 11 games, including 160 yards in the Pecan Bowl on 38 carries. Schultz was named a first-team All-American and guard Phil Minnick received honorable mention All-American honors.