On Friday, September 16, UNI Athletics inducted seven individuals and the 1963 men’s basketball team into the UNI Athletics Hall of Fame. The field included athletes from six different teams, spanning several decades throughout UNI’s rich history in men’s and women’s sports. The event kicked off the 2022 Hall of Fame weekend, coinciding with the opening of home football against Sacramento State last Saturday.
“Our Hall of Fame selection committee selected a fantastic class of Panthers that are indicative of the high standards of UNI Athletics,” said the Director of Athletics. David Harris in a press release on UNIPanthers.com. “Their achievements are a great demonstration of the national success that UNI has achieved in all sports. We look forward to coming together to honor this class and all of its achievements.”
Former NFL Offensive Lineman and UNI Standout Chad Rinehart highlights the list of notables to make it to the Hall. Rinehart wore Purple & Gold in the mid-2000s. He was part of the 2005 UNI team that ran for the FCS Championship game, as well as the 2007 Panther team that went undefeated in the regular season. Rinehart was selected by Washington in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft and played seven seasons in the NFL, with stints with the Buffalo Bills and San Diego Chargers. He is one of the most successful Panther footballers and one of the best Missouri Valley Football Conference offensive linemen of all time.
Wrestler Mark Schwab was inducted with a career record of 114-18 at UNI, which was one of the best in the show’s history. He achieved the NCAA Championship several times throughout his UNI career, and after his wrestling career, he switched to training. He had stints at Purdue and the University of Minnesota, with which he won two NCAA team titles.
The 1963-64 men’s basketball team is arguably the most successful in the show’s history. They made only the second postseason appearance for the team, but also made the team’s only Final Four. After winning their first 10 regular season games, they ended the year 20-2 and 11-1 in the conference. They lost to eventual national champion Evansville in the Final Four that season. Guard Duane Josephson led the Panther team with 16.8 points per game. Craig Kneppe led UNI with 8.6 rebounds per game. He went on to win the North Central Conference Player of the Year the following year.
Other entries for the class of 2022 were volleyball player Kate Witte, softball player Sarah O’Byrne (Smerage) and cross country/track runner Bob Friedman. The Doctor. Bill Thrall was the recipient of the Dr. Jito Kothari for Meritorious Service, and Dirk Homewood was a recipient of the Merlin Taylor Academic Hall of Fame.