#86 Louise Pound

SportsBasketball, Tennis, Golf, Cycling, Ice skating

Louise Pound, in so many fields, was the trailblazer for women's athletics in the state.

And this while becoming a preeminent educator in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln English department over a half-century.

"In my book," The World-Herald's Gregg McBride wrote in 1966, "she was the state's greatest woman athlete.

"She parlayed state and Western tennis and golf titles during the era when the gals were hobbled by long skirts. Louise would have starred in any sport."

In 1890, Pound won the Lincoln city tennis championship. She captured the university's men's singles and doubles titles in 1891 and 1892 — the only female in school history to receive a men's varsity letter.

In 1897, she won the Women's Western Championship " after beating the Canadian and U.S. champion in the finals, she was rated the top player in the country. "It was men's tennis " and a high quality of that,” the Chicago Tribune wrote.

She played a tie match with the Olympic men's singles champion while working on her doctorate at Heidelberg, where she was tennis champion in 1900. She was a cyclist and a figure skater and introduced skiing to Lincoln.

As a graduate student, Pound was captain and played center in NU's first women's basketball game in 1898 and later managed the team until the university abolished women's athletics in 1908.

At age 43, she and Carrie Neely won the 1915 Central Western and Western doubles championships.

The next year, Pound won the first women's state golf championship — and never entered again. She was Lincoln city champion, however, in 1926 at age 54.

"Most of that time, I held the championship," she said in a 1945 newspaper account. "But I didn’t always enter. I never cared so much for golf."

Quick facts about Pound

Best moment as an athlete: Winning the Women's Western amateur tennis title in 1897, defeating the national singles champion and national doubles champion in the process

Nebraska 100: 2005 edition

Pound was No. 64 in the inaugural Nebraska 100 list in 2005. See more about the 2005 list »