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Class of 1996
Inducted as a member of the Pioneer Category
Nebraska at Omaha coach: 1969-1976
Connie Claussen, the former associate athletics director and associate professor of physical education for the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), was inducted into the NFCA Hall of Fame in 1996.
By far the most pivotal figure in the history of the UNO women's athletic program, Claussen excelled as a coach, administrator and fundraiser in leading the Lady Mavericks to the upper echelon of Division II athletics. A graduate of Omaha Benson High School, Claussen began her career at UNO in 1963, when she taught physical education, and became chair of the department two years later.
In 1969, Claussen began coaching softball, winning the AIAW national championship in 1975. During her nine-year stint as Mavericks' coach, Claussen went 98-59 and won three softball state championships. She also became the volleyball coach in 1971, where she amassed a 84-61 record.
After stepping down from her coaching duties, Claussen became the first woman ever to hold the position of associate athletics director at UNO, and she was instrumental in bringing six new women's sports to the institution (cross country, golf, swimming and diving, track, and soccer -- which won a national championship in 2005). As a fundraiser, she started the Diet Pepsi/UNO Women's Walk, which still serves as the primary fundraiser for the women's athletic program and has raised over $3 million since 1986.
She was a member of the UNO Alumni Board and was given the Chancellor's Medal in 1981. She is the first woman member of the UNO Athletic Hall of Fame and has also been inducted into the Omaha Benson High School Hall of Fame, and the Omaha Softball Association Hall of Fame. Claussen was named UNO's Boss of the Year by the Educational Office Professionals Association (EOPA) and also received the UNO Alumni Association's Citation for Alumnus Achievement in 1997.
Active in NCAA work, Claussen served on the NCAA Executive Committee and was chair of the NCAA Division II Championships Committee. She retired as a UNO full-time employee in 1998, but remains as an assistant athletic director on the Maverick staff. A graduate of Omaha University (now UNO) in 1961, Claussen went on to get a master's degree from Adams State College in 1963.