Former University of Texas volleyball player Nell Fortner was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame on April 7th. The hall, which recognize’s the states best in athletics, was founded in 1951 in Waco. It was the first-ever hall of fame dedicate to sports from a specific state.
Fortner has established a professional reputation in the game of basketball. She started her coaching career at Killeen High School the year after she graduated from Texas, and eventually would become the head coach at Purdue, for the Indiana Fever in the WNBA, with Auburn University, and for USA Basketball. She led Purdue to a Big Ten title in 1997 and Auburn to an SEC title in 2009.
At Texas, however, she was a two-sport athlete, playing basketball and volleyball from 1978-1981. She played middle hitter and helped the Longhorns win the 1981 AIAW National Championship – the last year before the NCAA began offering a full complement of women’s national championship events.
On the basketball court, she led Texas to its first-ever national ranking in women’s babsketball and a 7th-place finish at the AIAW national championship tournament. She also represented the United States internationally in basketball.
She now works primarily as an analyst for ESPN, and has also been inducted into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame (2013) and the University of Texas Women’s Athletics Wall of Honor (2001).
Fortner’s speech can be seen in its entirety below: