2022 UNI Athletics Hall of Fame class inducted



The 2022 class of the UNI Athletics Hall of Fame posing with their plaques. This class includes seven individuals as well as the 1963-64 men’s basketball team.

COLIN HORNING, Sports Editor

On Friday, Sept. 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 football home opener against Sacramento State last Saturday. 

“Our Hall of Fame selection committee has selected a fantastic class of Panthers who are indicative of the high standards of UNI Athletics,” said Athletics Director David Harris in a press release on UNIPanthers.com. “Their accomplishments are a great demonstration of the national success UNI has achieved across all sports. We look forward to gathering to honor this class and all their achievements.”

Former NFL offensive lineman and UNI standout Chad Rinehart highlights the list of notables to make the Hall. Rinehart donned the Purple & Gold in the mid-2000s. He was a part of the 2005 UNI team that went on a run to the FCS Championship game, as well as the 2007 Panther team that went undefeated in the regular season. Rinehart was drafted 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 football players and one of the best Missouri Valley Football Conference offensive lineman ever. 

Wrestler Mark Schwab was inducted with a career record of 114-18 at UNI, which was one of the best in program history. He reached the NCAA Championships multiple times throughout his UNI career, and following his wrestling career made the switch to coaching. He had stops at Purdue and the University of Minnesota, the latter of which he won two NCAA team titles with.

The 1963-64 men’s basketball team is arguably the most successful in program history. They made just the second postseason appearance for the team, but also made the team’s only Final Four run. After winning their first 10 games in the regular season, they finished the year 20-2 and 11-1 in the conference. They lost to the 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 into the 2022 class were volleyball player Kate Witte, softball player Sarah O’Byrne (Smerage) and cross country/track runner Bob Friedman. Dr. Bill Thrall was the recipient of the Dr. Jito Kothari Meritorious Service Award, and Dirk Homewood was the recipient of the Merlin Taylor Academic Hall of Fame Award.