As a youth football player, Larry Station said he was afraid to get hit.
It's safe to say he overcame those fears.
A 2009 inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame, the former Iowa and Omaha Central great was a two-time All-America linebacker, three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection and an NFL draft pick. At Omaha Central, he was twice named to the All-Nebraska team.
"I've been around a long time and I still ain't seen anyone better than Larry Station," said Dan McCarney, an assistant coach with Iowa in the 1980s.
Station started four years at Iowa, becoming the only player to lead Iowa in tackles each season. His total of 492 career stops still ranks as the best in school history, and he was a finalist for the Lombardi and Butkus Awards as a senior in 1985 — when Iowa won the Big Ten.
Station was an elite athlete in other sports, too.
Before junior high, Station won a pair of state tennis titles. Former Iowa coach Hayden Fry was so impressed with Station's tennis skills that he offered to allow Station to try out for the Hawkeyes' tennis team. At Omaha Central, Station set records in the shot put and discus for the Eagles' track and field team. His throws of 64 feet, 9 1/2 inches in the shot and 202-1 in the discus rank No. 2 on the Nebraska all-time prep chart.
"When I was younger, football was never my No. 1 sport," Station said. "To go from being one of the last guys picked for those games to being one of the 800 or 900 picked for the Hall of Fame, that’s phenomenal."
His accomplishments off the field are just as impressive. Station was a two-time first-team academic All-American, holds a master's degree from Washington University in St. Louis and is a published author — "Taking It to the Next Level, a Parents' Guide to Developing Your Student-Athlete's Potential."
Station’s career after Iowa was short-lived. Station suffered a back injury in his final game as a Hawkeye. That injury lingered into the next year and eventually ended his NFL career after one season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
However, he was not forgotten.
He's since been named to the College Football Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Black Sports Hall of Fame and the Iowa Sports Hall of Fame.
"Larry is truly a special person. In my entire coaching career, he was probably the best defensive player I had the privilege to work with," Fry said in 2009. "He could anticipate where the ball was going better than any linebacker I was ever associated with. He combined superior mental and athletic skills to become the best at his position."
Said Station: "It was a great ride. To go from being afraid to get hit to being the guy doing all the hitting, that was a miracle turnaround."
Played for: Omaha Central High, Iowa Hawkeyes and Pittsburgh Steelers
Best athlete from Nebraska played with or against: Central teammate Pernell Gatson, an all-state quarterback and state championship wrestler. "He had speed, agility and he was a really hard worker,'' Station said.
Best moment as an athlete: Playing on Iowa's 1985 Big Ten Conference championship team that was ranked No. 1 for more than a month and finished the season in the Rose Bowl.
Station was No. 63 in the inaugural Nebraska 100 list in 2005. See more about the 2005 list »