SEE IT BEav IT: Nikki Neuburger
Some of the details are a little bit fuzzy more than 20 years after the fact.
"I do not know all of the honors off the top of my head," said Oregon State volleyball great Nikki Neuburger in attempting to recall the awards she received in her stellar 1999-2002 career.
"I do know there were some all-academic honors, all-conference my last year and I did win a Pac-10 (at the time it was 10!) Athlete of the Year award" she thinks it was sponsored by Cooper Tires.
"I believe I am also on the top-10 digs list for OSU. I'm not sure how you fact check or get more specific on any of that!"
Indeed, some of her accomplishments are lost in time. But others are spot-on: Neuburger earned Pac-10 all-conference and all-academic honors, played in the 2001 NCAA tournament, and now ranks 15th all-time with 1,036 career digs.
What can't be forgotten are the memories she made as the only player in program history to wear No. 31.
"I loved it," said Neuburger, a Portland native and Central Catholic High School grad who was a key member of four OSU teams under former coach Nancy Somera. "College is the one and only time in my life where every minute was spent with friends; school, all meals, roommates, teammates, everything.
"I miss that. As you get older, friends move, you build your own family, and everyone in your life is on a different path. For those four years, we were all on the same path together, and it was so much fun!
"When it comes to my athletic experience, what I remember most is my team, for the same reason. I spent all of my time with an amazing group of women who were going through the exact same victories and losses as me personally and in the gym.
"No matter what was going on, I had a built-in family of folks pushing me, supporting me, making me better and making me laugh 24/7. Who wouldn't miss that!?"
Neuburger is being showcased in conjunction with OSU's SEE IT, BEav IT initiative, marking the 50th anniversary of Title IX. It will focus on celebrating the stories of OSU prominent women's athletes and athletics.
"Title IX set the stage for important growth, and we are grateful to all of the pioneers of women's athletics who helped create opportunities for our current generation of student-athletes," said OSU Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Scott Barnes.
"We look forward to sharing the stories of some of our outstanding past and present female student-athletes, coaches and staff members throughout the 2022-23 year."
These days Neuburger lives in Venice Beach, Calif., and for the past 2 ½ years has been the Chief Brand Officer for lululemon, an apparel company specializing in technical athletic clothes for yoga, running, working out and most other sweaty pursuits.
She previously was the Global Head of Marketing for Uber Eats, and before that she worked in many roles at Nike and was the VP of Global Brand Marketing for Nike Running when she left the company.
Despite living near the beach, Neuburger no longer plays volleyball, either the six-woman or beach variety. She now is a competitive runner, with nine marathons to her credit.
"I've shifted my focus to improving my performance in the half-marathon," she said. "And when I'm not running or working, you can find me eating at as many restaurants as possible, watching all of the shows on all of the platforms and consuming as much new and old music as possible."