Six distinguished student-athletes make up the 2021 University of Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame class, announced on Wednesday, June 9.
The class includes Therese Alshammar (women’s swimming & diving, 1998-99), Jordan Burroughs (wrestling, 2007-11), Bob Cerv (baseball and men’s basketball, 1947-50), Kelsey Griffin (women’s basketball, 2006-10), Larry Jacobson (football, 1969-71) and Cathy Noth (volleyball, 1981-84). The six members of the class came to Nebraska from five states and one foreign country.
The 2021 Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame class is an outstanding group who each accomplished historic “firsts” in their respective sports. The class will be permanently enshrined with a granite plaque with the names of the six members added to the University of Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame Plaza.
This year’s Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place on Friday, Oct. 1, a day before Nebraska takes on Northwestern in the annual Homecoming Game at Memorial Stadium. In addition to the 2021 class, the 2020 class will also be inducted in October after last year’s induction ceremony was postponed due to the pandemic. The 2020 Nebraska Athletics Hall of Fame class included Amanda Burgoyne (bowling, 2004-07), Eric Crouch (football, 1997-2001), Sam Francis (football and track and field, 1935-37), Maurtice Ivy (women’s basketball, 1985-88), Jordan Larson (volleyball, 2005-08) and legendary volleyball head coach Terry Pettit.
The Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame Plaza is located on a walkway, stretching from just outside of East Memorial Stadium and continuing to the historic NU Coliseum. The University of Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame Plaza is accessible to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week at no charge and is lit for night viewing. The plaza recognizes each annual Hall of Fame class, along with columns dedicated to the history and successes of each of Nebraska’s athletic programs.
Class Full of History Makers at Nebraska and Beyond
The common theme among the six members of the 2021 Hall of Fame class is that each individual accomplished a historic “first” in his or her sport at Nebraska or made history at the international level.
Alshammar made her mark as the only woman to swim in six Olympic Games. Burroughs was Nebraska’s first two-time national champion wrestler. Cerv was Nebraska baseball’s first All-American and was the first Husker to play in Major League Baseball. Griffin was Nebraska’s first Senior CLASS Award winner who led the Husker women’s basketball team to the greatest season in program history. Jacobson was a member of Nebraska’s first two national championship football teams and was the first Husker to win a major award as the 1971 Outland Trophy Winner. Noth was the only volleyball player to be a three-time Big Eight Tournament MVP in conference history, and she was also the first of Nebraska’s nation-leading total of American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Americans.
Alshammar was a 13-time All-American at Nebraska who went on to a historic international career. She helped Nebraska to the 1998 Big 12 title and then tied the school record by earning seven All-America awards at the NCAA Championships. Alshammar then went on to make Olympic history. A three-time Olympic medalist, Alshammar is the only female to swim in six Olympic Games. She was also a 12-time world champion and the 2010 World Swimmer of the Year. Alshammar set world records in four different events in her career, and she is still the world record holder in the 50-meter butterfly short course.
Burroughs is the most decorated wrestler in Nebraska history and among the most accomplished international wrestlers ever. At Nebraska, he posted the only two undefeated seasons in program history, is the only Husker to be a two-time national champion and is the only Nebraska wrestler to win the Hodge Trophy as the nation’s most outstanding wrestler. Internationally, Burroughs set an American record for the longest winning streak on the senior level (69 matches), and he ranks second in the history of U.S. Wrestling with five combined Olympic and World Championship titles and eight combined medals.
Cerv served a three-year tour of duty with the U.S. Navy in World War II before beginning his Husker career. At Nebraska, he helped the Huskers win two conference titles in men’s basketball and two more in baseball. The first All-American in Nebraska baseball history, Cerv was also the first Husker to play in Major League Baseball, the first to be an MLB All-Star and the first to be a World Series champion.
In 1958, Cerv hit 38 home runs with the Kansas City A’s, a franchise record that stood until 2017.
Griffin elevated the Nebraska women’s basketball program during her outstanding career. As a senior during the 2009-10 season, Griffin helped the Huskers to the first perfect regular season in Big 12 history (29-0). Led by Griffin, Nebraska achieved its highest ranking in school history (3rd), was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the program’s first Sweet 16. Griffin was the Big 12 Player of the Year, a first-team All-American and Nebraska’s first Senior CLASS Award winner in any sport.
Jacobson played a prominent role in establishing Nebraska football’s winning tradition as a member of the Huskers’ first two national championship teams in 1970 and 1971. Individually, Jacobson was the first Husker to win a major national award. He won the 1971 Outland Trophy, becoming the first of Nebraska’s nation-leading nine Outland Trophy winners.
Noth was a two-time All-American for the Husker volleyball program and was the first female Nebraska student-athlete to have her jersey retired. She earned first-team All-America honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) in 1983, becoming the first of Nebraska’s nation-leading total of 47 players who have been AVCA All-Americans. The only player in conference history to be a three-time Big Eight Tournament MVP, Noth went on to serve as an assistant coach at Nebraska from 1988 to 1998, helping the Huskers to their first national championship in 1995.
2021 Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame Class
Therese Alshammar, Women’s Swimming & Diving (1998-99)
Jordan Burroughs, Wrestling (2007-11)
Bob Cerv, Baseball (1947-50); Men’s Basketball (1947-50)
Kelsey Griffin, Women’s Basketball (2006-10)
Larry Jacobson, Football (1969-71)
Cathy Noth, Volleyball (1981-84)
2021 Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame Class Bios
Therese Alshammar, Women’s Swimming & Diving (1998-99), Stockholm, Sweden
Therese Alshammar came to Nebraska from Sweden and left her mark on the Husker program by capturing 13 All-America awards in her two seasons. Alshammar helped Nebraska to a Big 12 championship in her first season in 1998. She then tied a school record by earning seven All-America awards at the 1998 NCAA Championships, leading Nebraska to an 11th-place finish. In her final season in 1999, Alshammar was the Big 12 champion in the 100-meter freestyle. She went on to earn six All-America accolades at the NCAA Championships. Alshammar set four individual school records in her career and was a member of three relay teams that posted the fastest times in program history. Alshammar went on to a decorated international career, becoming the only woman to swim in six Olympic Games. She was a three-time Olympic medalist, winning silver in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where she was also a member of Sweden’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay team that won the bronze medal. A 12-time world champion, Alshammar was named the World Swimmer of the Year in 2010. She set four world records in her international career.
Jordan Burroughs, Wrestling (2007-11), Sicklerville, New Jersey
Jordan Burroughs is the most decorated wrestler in Nebraska history and one of the most accomplished international wrestlers of all-time. Burroughs was a three-time All-American, three-time Big 12 champion and two-time NCAA champion at Nebraska. After winning the Big 12 title at 157 pounds as a sophomore, Burroughs was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the 2008 Big 12 Championships. He went on to a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships. As a junior, Burroughs went 35-0 and was the national champion at 157 pounds, posting the first perfect season in program history. He suffered a season-ending injury in the eighth match of the 2009-10 season but returned to go 36-0 en route to the 165-pound NCAA title as a senior. He was named the 2011 Hodge Trophy winner as the nation’s most outstanding wrestler, the only Husker to win the award. In his final three full seasons, Burroughs posted a 105-7 record with three conference and two national titles. Burroughs was only just beginning, as he went on to win his first 69 international matches, the longest winning streak ever by an American wrestler on the senior level. Included in his winning streak were a pair of World Championship titles and a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics. A two-time Olympian, Burroughs ranks second in the history of U.S. Wrestling with five combined Olympic and World Championship titles and eight combined medals. At the conclusion of the United States Olympic Team Trials in 2021, Burroughs boasted an international career record of 197-14. Burroughs graduated with his degree in sociology from the University of Nebraska in 2011.
Bob Cerv, Baseball (1947-50) & Men’s Basketball (1947-50), Weston, Nebraska
Bob Cerv didn’t begin his illustrious Nebraska career until after he served a three-year tour of duty with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific in World War II. Following his service, he attended the University of Nebraska on a G.I. bill and was a two-sport standout as the only Husker to earn four letters in basketball and baseball. On the hardwood, Cerv helped Nebraska to back-to-back Big Seven Conference championships in 1949 and 1950. But it was on the baseball diamond where Cerv really made his mark as a four-year starter from 1947 to 1950, leading Nebraska to a pair of Big Seven titles. In 1950, Cerv hit .444 with nine homers and 36 RBIs and led the nation with an .878 slugging percentage. For his efforts, he became Nebraska’s first baseball All-American. Cerv went on to a 12-year Major League Baseball career, becoming the first Husker to play in MLB. He hit .276 in his career with 105 home runs. In 1956, he became the first Husker to win a World Series title with the New York Yankees. In 1958 with the Kansas City A’s, Cerv beat out Ted Williams as the American League All-Star starter in left field. He finished fourth in MVP voting that season and ranked in the top five in the American League with 93 runs, 38 homers and 104 RBIs. His 38 home runs were a Kansas City franchise record that stood until 2017. Cerv earned his degree from the University of Nebraska in education in 1951. He passed away at the age of 91 on April 6, 2017 in Blair, Nebraska.
Kelsey Griffin, Women’s Basketball (2006-10), Eagle River, Alaska
Kelsey Griffin took the Nebraska women’s basketball program to new heights during her career. Griffin led the Huskers to three NCAA Tournaments, including the best season in program history. The first player from Alaska in the history of Nebraska women’s basketball, Griffin was named to the Big 12 Conference All-Rookie team as a freshman. She earned first-team All-Big 12 honors and led Nebraska to the NCAA Tournament each of the next two years before missing the 2008-09 season due to an injury. Griffin returned from the injury with one of the most complete seasons in program history in 2009-10. As a senior, Griffin was a first-team All-American, the Big 12 Player of the Year and a finalist for every national player-of-the-year award. She also earned a spot on the Big 12 All-Defensive Team and was Nebraska’s first Senior CLASS award winner in any sport. Griffin led the Huskers to their first-ever NCAA Sweet 16 appearance and only Big 12 regular-season title. Along the way, Nebraska posted the first perfect regular season in Big 12 Conference history, achieved the highest ranking in school history (No. 3) and was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Griffin ended her career with a school-record 127 starts and 40 double-doubles, while ranking second in program history in rebounds (1,019) and third in points (2,033). Following her Husker career, Griffin was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 WNBA Draft, and she was named to the 2010 WNBA All-Rookie Team. After five seasons in the WNBA, Griffin went on to play in Australia’s WNBL where, as of 2020, she was a three-time WNBL champion and three-time Grand Final MVP. Griffin graduated with a degree in biological sciences from the University of Nebraska in 2010. Her No. 23 jersey was retired by Nebraska in 2014.
Larry Jacobson, Football (1969-71), Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Larry Jacobson helped lay the foundation for the winning tradition of Nebraska football, as the Cornhuskers posted a 33-2-1 record in his three seasons with three conference titles and two national championships. A three-year letterwinner, Jacobson was a member of Nebraska’s first two national championship teams, helping the Huskers to back-to-back titles in 1970 and 1971. He left his mark as a senior in 1971, totaling 73 tackles as a defensive lineman with several individual accomplishments that have since become synonymous with Husker football. A consensus first-team All-American, Jacobson was the first player in program history to win a major national award when he won the 1971 Outland Trophy. He was the first of Nebraska’s NCAA-leading nine Outland Trophy winners. In addition to his play on the field, Jacobson was also a first-team Academic All-American as a senior, contributing to Nebraska’s nation-leading total of football Academic All-Americans. Following his Husker career, Jacobson was a first-round pick in the 1972 NFL Draft, and he went on to play four years in the NFL. Jacobson graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1972, and his No. 75 jersey was retired in 1994.
Cathy Noth, Volleyball (1981-84), Bettendorff, Iowa
Cathy Noth played a prominent role in the growth and success of the Husker volleyball program, both as a player and a coach. Noth played outside hitter and setter during her four-year career, leading Nebraska to sweeps of the Big Eight Conference regular-season and tournament titles all four seasons. She was the only player in the history of the Big Eight Conference to be a three-time Big Eight Tournament MVP. Noth led Nebraska to its first-ever NCAA Tournament berth in 1982, and the Huskers have played in every NCAA Tournament since. She was also the first Nebraska player to earn All-America accolades from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), becoming the first of Nebraska’s NCAA-leading 47 AVCA All-Americans. Noth was a first-team All-American as a junior and a second-team selection as a senior. She hit .398 her senior season, which was the highest attack percentage in Nebraska and Big Eight history at the time. The first player with 1,000 kills in program history, Noth ended her career with a then-school-record .366 hitting percentage. Following her Husker career, Noth spent four years with the U.S. National Team and was an alternate for the 1988 U.S. Olympic Team. She returned to Nebraska as an assistant coach from 1988 to 1998, helping the Huskers to five NCAA Semifinals and the program’s first national championship in 1995. In 1988, Noth had her No. 11 jersey retired, becoming the first Nebraska female student-athlete to have her jersey retired. Noth graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1990 with a degree in education.