UNK Sports Hall of Fame class announced, ceremony to return in 2021
KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - Five former student-athletes will be inducted into the University of Nebraska at Kearney Athletic Hall of Fame during ceremonies on Homecoming weekend this Oct. 8-9. The 2021 Hall of Fame members are volleyball player Erin (Brosz) Byrd (‘06), men’s golfer CJ Farber (’99), men’s basketball player Anthony Harms (‘03), women’s basketball player Kalee (Modlin) O’Connor (’08) and football player Lannie Shelmadine (’68).
Due to the pandemic, there wasn’t a 2020 Athletic HOF Class.The Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet will be on Friday, Oct. 8, in the Ponderosa Room with a social hour, dinner and induction ceremony. The social hour begins at 5:30 p.m. with dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 per person ($15 for youths) and reservations can eventually be made on the UNK Alumni Association website. On Saturday, Oct. 9, the class will be recognized at half time of the homecoming football game vs. Missouri Western State. That contest kicks off at 2 p.m.
Byrd was a two-time All-American middle blocker for the Lopers, earning honorable mention honors in 2004 and named second-team in 2005. The Grand Island native is one of 10 UNK volleyball players to earn multiple All-American honors in a career. Redshirting in 2001, she also was a three-time AII-RMAC pick, making the second-team in 2003 and advancing to the first-team in 2004 and 2005. On the UNK career lists Byrd is first in attack percentage (.372), sixth in blocks (475) and 15th in kills (1,192). A two-time Academic All-District selection, her play helped UNK go a combined 109-10 between 2003-05. The Lopers reached the Elite Eight each season, finishing as national runners-up in 2005, and winning RMAC titles in 2004 and 2005.
Byrd stayed involved with volleyball after player days, serving a graduate assistant coach at Nebraska-Omaha before serving as head coach at Millard West High School for eight seasons. Holding degrees from UNK and UNO, she currently resides in Elkhorn with her husband, Ryan, and their five children; Emma, Emily, Ellie, Austin and Isaac.
A Kearney-native, Farber is one of just four UNK men’s golfers to earn NCAA Division II All-America honors. He was a 1999 PING honorable mention selection and also an All-RMAC pick. His single season stroke average of 74.58 during 1997-98 set a new school-record and now ranks sixth on the all-time list. Farber averaged a 75.47 as a senior, making him one of just five Lopers to have two season stroke averages in the UNK all-time top 18.
The 1997 RMAC Championships runner up, Farber helped the Lopers win three RMAC titles and finish as runners up once. Posting a 75.46 career stroke average, eighth best in UNK lore, he also set the program’s 36-hole record with a 141 at the Baker (Kan.) Invite. Farber and his wife, Mandy, live in Kearney with their children, Macie Farber and Hannah Hardin. He currently is an Account Manager with Coca-Cola.
Harms is among the top scorers in Loper history, finishing with 1,643 points in a career that spanned from 1999-02. The Filey-native was a three-time All-RMAC selection who played on teams that went a combined 86-31 and reached the NCAA Tournament twice. A three-time Academic All-RMAC qualifier, Harms had one of the most memorable games in UNK history when he went for 37 points in a 1999 NCAA Tourney second round win at Wayne State. The effort helped the Lopers upset the top-seeded Wildcats and reach the Sweet 16 for the first time. Subsequently, he made the all-tournament team.
Three years later Harms was named to the 2002 All-RMAC tourney squad. Harms currently ranks 12th on UNK’s career scoring list, is second in made threes (238), fourth in three-point percentage (41.3), ninth in assists (352) and 10th in steals (156). Finally, he is one of eight Lopers to have two games of at least 35 points in a career. After graduation, Harms remained in the game, serving as the head boys basketball coach at Waverly High School for six seasons. He currently serves as the WHS head strength & conditioning coach. He lives in Waverly with his wife, Sarah, and their children; Preston, Anastyn and Emery.
O’Connor starred on the UNK women’s basketball team between 2003-06. The Iowa-native was a rare four-time All-RMAC pick, a two-time all-region selection and a 2004 honorable mention All-American. The post player is one of seven Lopers to have been named a Division II All-American. The 2003 RMAC Freshman of the Year and the 2004 RMAC Tournament MVP, O’Connor played on teams that won 85 games and reached two NCAA Tournaments. UNK also won two RMAC regular season titles and one RMAC tourney title during her career. She currently ranks in the Lopers all-time top 10 in six different categories including second in points (1,700), third in scoring average (14.9) and double doubles (20) and fourth in blocks (113).
A three-time RMAC All-Academic qualifier, O’Connor resides in Ankeny, Ia., with her husband, Jason, and their daughters, Korie and Averie. She currently is a Nuclear Technologist with Nuclear Sonics.
Shelmadine is among the most accomplished running backs in Kearney State College/UNK history. He was a two-time All-Nebraska Conference College (NCC) selection who led the Lopers in rushing in 1965 and 1966. He also was KSC’s leading receiver in 1965 and was twice named NAIA All-District 11. Finishing with 1,606 career rushing yards with 20 touchdowns, the Alliance-native was on teams that went a combined 31-5 and won three league titles. That included the 1967 team that went 9-0, just the second Loper team to post an undefeated record.
KSC also finished that fall ranked sixth nationally. During these years, KSC was among the nation’s best at running the football.nA longtime teacher and coach in his hometown, Shelmadine resides in Alliance with his wife, Karen. They have three children (Stephanie, Tim and Brian) as well as 12 grandchildren.
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