Former Pros Headline List of Husker Graduates

Fourteen current and former Husker student-athletes earned bachelor's degrees from the University of Nebraska during summer commencement exercises at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Saturday.

A collection of past Husker stars headlined the list of graduates, including former NFL football player T.J. Hollowell and former professional baseball players Todd Sears and R.D. Spiehs.

Hollowell, who was a linebacker for the Huskers from 2000 to 2003, earned his degree in sociology after a three-year NFL career that included stops with the New York Giants, New York Jets and Denver Broncos. A native of Copperas Cove, Texas, Hollowell was joined by fellow Husker football players Cody Glenn and Justin Baumgartner among NU's list of summer graduates.

Glenn, who was a fifth-round NFL Draft pick of the Washington Redskins in April, completed his Husker football career in 2008. The native of Rusk, Texas played both running back and linebacker for the Huskers. Justin Baumgartner, a long snapper from Cheyenne, Wyo., also joined Glenn in picking up a bachelor's degree in sociology on Saturday.

Sears, who was a three-year letterman as a first baseman for the Nebraska baseball program from 1995 to 1997, completed his bachelor's degree in business administration after a long professional baseball career. Sears made Major League stops with the Minnesota Twins and San Diego Padres from 2002 to 2004, before ending his pro career in 2006. The Ankeny, Iowa, native was a third-team All-American and a first-team All-Big 12 pick for Nebraska in 1997, batting .421 with 17 homers and 79 RBIs as a junior.

Spiehs, a Grand Island, Neb., native, was a pitcher on some of the most successful baseball teams in Nebraska history. The right-hander helped guide NU to its first College World Series appearance and first Big 12 regular-season title in 2001, to go along with a trio of Big 12 Tournament titles in his three-year Husker career. He compiled a 21-6 career record at NU, before spending six seasons in affiliated minor league baseball with the San Franciso Giant and Seattle Mariner organizations. He made 250 career professional appearances, climbing as high as the Triple-A level in 2005. Spiehs, who earned his bachelor's degree in communication studies from Nebraska, was recently named the assistant baseball coach at Grayson Community College in Texas.

Current Nebraska men's basketball player Chris Balham will also collect his bachelor's degree in international studies and Spanish. The 6-8 forward who is originally from Paris, France, is entering his senior season with the Huskers after starting 23 games for Coach Doc Sadler's Huskers last season. Balham came to Nebraska after playing three years of high school basketball at Shawnee Mission West in the Kansas City area.

The Nebraska men's and women's track and field team produced three summer graduates, with Natalja Callahan, Keith Lloyd and Daniel Roper earning degrees. The Nebraska wrestling (Brandon Browne), soccer (Meghan Hungerford), softball (Haley Long), swimming and diving (Lynn Siemert) and rifle teams (Kirsten Weiss) also produced graduates during the summer term. Weiss, a three-time All-American from Cornwall, Pa., was the NCAA runner-up in smallbore in 2007.

Nebraska's most recent graduates help continue one of the richest academic traditions in collegiate athletics. Nebraska leads the more than 1,400 NCAA member schools with a nation-leading 269 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans across all teams and all sports. The Huskers also continue to lead the Big 12 Conference with a 93 percent exhausted eligibility graduation rate.

August 2009 University of Nebraska Graduates (14)

Chris Balham (Basketball), International Studies/Spanish, KansasCity, Kan.

Justin Baumgartner (Football), Sociology, Cheyenne, Wyo.

Brandon Browne (Wrestling), Psychology, Plattsmouth, Neb.

Natalja Callahan (Track & Field), Finance/Accounting, Valmiera, Latvia

Cody Glenn (Football), Sociology, Rusk, Texas

T.J. Hollowell (Football), Sociology, Copperas Cove, Texas

Meghan Hungerford (Soccer), Nutrition Sciene,Manhattan, Kan.

Keith Lloyd (Track & Field), Insect Science, Omaha, Neb.

Haley Long (Softball), Sociology, Brenham,Texas

Daniel Roper (Track & Field), BusinessAdministration, Plantation, Fla.

Todd Sears (Baseball), Business Administration, Ankeny, Iowa

Lynn Siemert (Swimming & Diving), Textiles, Clothing and Design, Sterling, Ill.

R.D. Spiehs (Baseball), Communication Studies, Grand Island, Neb.

Kirsten Weiss (Rifle), International Studies, Cornwall, Pa.

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