Four former athletes with numerous achievements on and off the playing field were the newest additions to the Central College Athletics Hall of Honor Oct. 10.
Two-time NCAA Division III volleyball player of the year Abbie (Brown) Sogard ’00, record-breaking football receiver Randy Busscher ’75, state champion wrestling coach Jason Christianson ’91 and academic all-America football player Chris Hulleman ‘93 were inducted as part of Central’s homecoming festivities.
Established in 2002, Central’s hall of honor is intended to recognize those who were exceptional performers in the athletics arena as a student-athlete, coach or administrator, and who have distinguished themselves in life after graduation through service and leadership. To be eligible for consideration, a nominee must have graduated or served as a Central coach/ administrator at least 15 years earlier. Current Central staff members are not eligible for consideration.
RANDY BUSSCHER ’75
Most Central football receiving records were once in Busscher’s skilled hands. A four-time letter-winner, Busscher was a three-time first-team all-Iowa Conference pick and received honorable mention all-America distinction. He was also a four-time track and field letterwinner and competed one season in tennis. Busscher set school career receiving records for receptions (103), yards (2,009) and touchdowns (27), and game records for receptions (12) and yards (259), despite missing the last half of the 1974 season due to injury. He also was a three-time conference placewinner in the 120-yard high hurdles. The Dutch wouldn’t have won their 1974 NCAA championship without his memorable 77-yard touchdown reception with just 8 seconds remaining in a dramatic 22-17 triumph over Ferris State (Mich.), preserving their undefeated season.
After a tryout with the Minnesota Vikings, Busscher earned master’s and doctoral degrees at Western Michigan University. He was a teacher in Hart and Hamilton, Mich., then an elementary and junior high principal at Hamilton and at West Ottawa in Holland, Mich.
JASON CHRISTENSON ’91
Among Iowa’s winningest wrestling coaches, Christenson was a 1991 NCAA Division III qualifier at Central, placing third in the Iowa Conference at 190 pounds (1989-90) and 177 (1990-91).
As coach at Southeast Polk High School since 2002, Christenson swept Class 3A state team and dual titles (2013, 2015) with 12 top-four finishes through 2015, when the squad ranked No. 7 nationally. He also coached six seasons at Collins-Maxwell-Baxter and four at Oskaloosa. He was named coach of the year for Class 3A (2001, 2012), the Iowa Wrestling Federation (2001, 2010, 2012), and The Open Mat’s Midwest Region (2012), was USA Wrestling’s Developmental Coach of the Year (2007) and Junior Person of the Year (2014) and received the National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s first Bob Siddens High School Coaching Excellence Award (2013).
An Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association past president, Christenson was a USA Wrestling team leader for the 2013 Junior World Tournament in Bulgaria and served as 2015 Cadet Pan American Games U.S. Greco-Roman coach.
CHRIS HULLEMAN ’93
Hulleman was an offensive guard for three Iowa Conference champion football squads with three NCAA playoff berths. A 1992 team co-captain, Hulleman was named to two All-America teams, was a CoSIDA Academic All-America pick and a two-time all-conference honoree. He was a Central assistant coach from 1997-2001.
He received a graduate diploma at the University of Western Australia with master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Wisconsin. Hulleman was a postdoctoral fellow and research associate at Peabody College’s Learning Services Institute at Vanderbilt University and research affiliate at Peabody’s National Center for Performance Incentives, then assistant professor of graduate psychology at James Madison University and Motivation Research Institute co-director.
In 2012, Hulleman became research associate professor in the Department of Leadership, Foundations and Policy Studies in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, and a fellow of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Hulleman spent 2014-15 on a fellowship with the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.
ABBIE (BROWN) SOGARD ’00
A two-time AVCA Division III player of the year, Sogard led Central to two NCAA volleyball championships (1998, 1999) and a third-place finish (1997) after transferring from Kansas State. Sogard was a three-time Iowa Conference MVP and first-team all-America honoree, a two-time team MVP and co-captain. A four-time national player of the week, Sogard gained all-tournament honors in every tourney Central entered. She set Division III records for most career kills per set (4.70) and most kills in a three-set match (34), ranking seventh in career hitting percentage (.388). Combined with 374 kills at Kansas State, Sogard had 2,112 for her career. She also set Central marks for most season kills (631) and career ace serves (136).
In basketball, Sogard was a three-time all-conference pick, two-time team MVP and a team co-captain, helping Central win a share of the 1997-98 league title and an NCAA berth. Sogard was active in campus religious and service activities. Sogard and her family live in Leawood, Kansas.