7 Hawkeyes Enter Athletics Hall of Fame

Aug. 12, 2015


IOWA CITY, Iowa — The National Iowa Varsity Club and the University of Iowa Athletics Department announced Wednesday the seven members of its 2015 Hall of Fame Class.

Don Norton (football 1957-59), Neil Schmitt (gymnastics 1966-68), Lori Cole (gymnastics 1989-92), Jim Heffernan (wrestling 1983-87), Karen Jackson (softball 1991-94), Tom Roemer (swimming 1980-82, 84) and Bill Brashier (football coach 1979-96) represent the 27th Hall of Fame class.

The 2015 class will be inducted into the National Iowa Varsity Club Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday, Sept. 4, 2015 — the night prior to the Iowa football team’s season opener against Illinois State.

All former Hawkeye athletes who have won at least one major letter are eligible for the Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame. Athletes must have completed their eligibility at least 10 years and coaches/administrators at least five years prior to their selection.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is Sept. 4 at 6:30 p.m. (CT) inside the Grand Coral Ballroom at the Coralville Marriott Hotel and Convention Center. A reception precedes the dinner at 5:30 p.m.

The induction banquet/dinner is open to the public. Tickets may be purchased for $35 by sending your name and check to the National Iowa Varsity Club, ATTN: HoF Banquet, University of Iowa, N411 CHA, Iowa City, IA, 52242 by Friday, August 21st. For more information please call the Varsity Club office at (319) 335-9438.


Heritage Era — Athletes

Don Norton — Don was a three-time letterwinner in football from 1957-59. He was named team captain, first team All-America, and first team All-Big Ten in 1959, leading the conference in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. He was Iowa’s Most Valuable Player in 1959, leading Iowa to the FWAA Grant Rice National Team Championship following a win over California in the 1959 Rose Bowl. Following his career as a Hawkeye, Don played in the AFL with the San Diego Chargers for seven seasons.

Neil Schmitt — Neil was a three-time letterwinner in gymnastics from 1966-68. The two-time team captain was a Big Ten champion in the high bar in 1967 and 1968, and an All-American in high bar at the 1967 NCAA Championships. After graduating from Iowa, Neil qualified for the Olympic Trials and served as assistant coach for Iowa’s 1969 NCAA championship team.

Modern Era – Athletes

Lori Cole — Lori was a four-year letterwinner with women’s gymnastics from 1989-92. She was the Hawkeyes’ first Big Ten Champion, earning titles in the floor exercise (1990), balance beam (1991), and all-Around (1991). In 1991, she led Iowa to its first NCAA regional and became the first Hawkeye in program history to be named Big Ten Gymnast of the Year. She was a three-time All-Big Ten honoree (1989-91), three-time NCAA regional qualifier (1989-91), and was voted to the Iowa Athletics All-Decade (1981-1991) and Big Ten All-Decade (1981-1991) teams.

Jim Heffernan — Jim was four-time Big Ten Champion and All-American (1983, 85-87) while earning four varsity letters in wrestling from 1983-87. He won the 1986 NCAA championship at 150 lbs. and was NCAA runner-up in 1985 and 1987. He was a member of four Big Ten and three NCAA championship teams, and was elected team captain in his junior and senior seasons. In 1987 he was named the University of Iowa Male Athlete of the Year.

Karen Jackson — Karen was a four-year letterwinner in softball from 1991-94. She was a three-time All-American pitcher (1991, 93, 94) and three-time first team All-Big Ten selection (1991, 93, 94). She was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Year in 1994, Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 1991, and is one of only three Iowa softball players to be named Big Ten Player of the Year (1991) – the only Hawkeye softball player to be named Big Ten Freshman and Player of the Year in the same season. Prior to graduation, she set Iowa records for strikeouts (season and career), wins (season and career), complete games (career) and innings pitched (career). She still holds school records for ERA (career and season) and shutouts in a season.

Tom Roemer — Tom earned four varsity letters in swimming (1980-82, 1984) on his way to becoming a 12-time NCAA All-American. He was a 10-time Big Ten champion (400 medley relay, 200 backstroke, 400 freestyler, 800 freestyle relay, 100 backstroke and 200 individual medley) and a member of the 1981 and 1982 Big Ten Championships teams. He set the pool record in the 400 and 800 freestyle relays, and competed in the 1980 Olympic Trials in the 100 individual Medley.


Bill Brashier — Bill was Iowa Football’s defensive coordinator and secondary coach from 1979-86, and assistant head football coach and defensive coordinator from 1983-96. He assumed coaching duties with the linebackers in 1987. During his time at Iowa under Hayden Fry, he coached four NCAA top-10 defenses and led the Big Ten in forced turnovers three times. Bill’s defense helped the Hawkeyes earn trips to 12 bowl games, including three Rose Bowls. He coached five defensive All-Americans, one Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and three Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year.

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