Diandra Asbaty could possibly be one of the most iconic Husker athletes that the University of Nebraska has ever produced if not the most.
The former Diandra Hyman was the lynch pin of the famous run that the Nebraska Women’s Bowling team went on at the beginning of the 2000′s, leading the Huskers to two national championships and becoming a three-time All-American.
Asbaty was not only a great bowler for Nebraska, but the definition of a student-athlete. She was UNL’s recipient of the Female Student-Athlete of the Year in 2001-02 when she received her BA in Journalism.
Her success didn’t end after she left the friendly confines of Lanes ‘N Games on the East Campus.
She has been a constant on Team USA every year since 1998, and has over 60 international medals to her credit. She has been named Bowlers Journal International Player of the Year four times, earned two US National Amateur Championships and has pocketed two PBA national titles.
For all her accomplishments, her most significant came last week at the 2012 United States Bowling Congress Queens tournament where she defeated USBC Hall of Famer Carolyn Dorin-Ballard 244-227 to win her first Women’s major championship.
I caught up with Diandra to talk about both her past experiences and where she finds herself now.
Q: Tuesday night was a culmination of years of hard work for you. From before the disappointment in the 2007 stepladder finals to today, you have won many awards and titles in both international play for Team USA and two PBA titles. What made this Queens title so special to you?
Asbaty: It was my first “Major” win. Although my other international and professional wins meant a lot, there is nothing like winning your first “major.” It was all the hours of practice and all the coaches that helped me along the way that made this possible.
Q: How did you go from a freshman from Dyer, Indiana to someone that became the face of not only the Nebraska bowling program, but a role model for all student-athletes four years later.
Asbaty: The University of Nebraska is where I feel I really learned how to bowl. I also learned a lot about who I was as a person.
Anytime you go outside your comfort zone and you leave home for the first time, you are forced to learn about the real world quickly. I am so grateful for the experiences I have had at UNL and so fortunate to have had the best coaches in the world at my disposal.
Q: How did coaches like Bill Straub and Paul Klempa along with everyone in the background and teammates help you become Nebraska’s Student-Athlete of the Year in 2002 along with being a three-time All-American and the 2000 National Collegiate Bowler of the Year while in Lincoln.
Asbaty: Coach Straub and coach Klempa guided me through everything in college. They were my home away from home. Not only did they help me on an athletic level, but they were always there for me personally.
I will always be thankful of my wonderful experience at Nebraska but know it wouldn’t have been possible without the great coaches and teammates I had.
Q: Can you give us some insight about your current projects that you and your husband John (also a Nebraska alum) have being working on lately?
Asbaty: Just when I feel like I have a handle on everything going on in my life, I add something new to it.
I’m currently one of the owners of The International Art of Bowling. The IAB is where you can find all things bowling. We have bowling clinics and innovative ways to interact with our coaches whether it be Skype a Coach sessions, or Video Analysis.
We have most recently decided to start a Youth Bowling Tour called The International Art of Bowling Elite Youth Tour that will launch in late May.
This will give us a way to give back to the sport that has given us so much. I also spend time marketing for High 5 Gear and writing for the Bowlers Journal.
Not to mention my most important job – being the best mother I can be! John is a great chef. His place was just featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive Ins and Dives”. He is busy cooking and feeding his family.
Q: Being from Indiana and now living in Chicago, how do you view Nebraska’s move to the Big 10 conference?
Asbaty: I think UNL is better aligned with the Big 10 academically, and especially athletically. I always believe change is good!
Q: Finally, let’s say a 18-year old young adult asks you why they should go to Nebraska. How do you answer that?
Asbaty: If they want to learn more about the sport of bowling, then they should go to UNL. I don’t believe there is a better place to go to college than in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Coach Straub and coach Klempa have developed what I believe is the No. 1 program in the world. Many great athletes have come out of their program so that speaks for itself. Being a part of the NCAA and having the athletic department’s support was another big reason I chose UNL. We were treated as athletes, just as the football players were.
The education I received at UNL was also top notch. The bottom line is that I didn’t go to school to bowl, but for a great education, and I got both!
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