After one weekend already in the books at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, there have been plenty of memorable moments. UNO has also had its fair share of memorable Olympic moments, though there is nothing that quite compares to the lifetime of successes experienced by three members of the Class of 1966.
Spanning multiple decades and experiences, Rudy Haluza, Loren Drum and Mike Moran are unique in Maverick history as being the only trio within the same alumni class to have made an impact on the Olympic Games.
The story of Rudy Haluza actually begins in 1956, well before he was even a UNO student. It was in 1956 that Haluza tried to make the Olympic race-walking team but finished 12th, which put him out of contention. Four years later he made the 1960 Olympics in Rome, but at the last minute came down with a severe illness, leaving him unable to compete.
Joining a number of other nontraditional students at UNO, Haluza came to UNO at the age of 31, having spent time as a captain in the U.S. Air Force between Olympic competitions. It was just two years after he graduated, at the age of 37, that Haluza was finally able to compete on the Olympic stage in Mexico City. As the oldest member of the U.S. Olympic Team in 1968, Haluza finished just out of contention for a medal in fourth place.
Loren Drum, the president of the Class of ’66, didn’t end up being an Olympic competitor, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t try. After graduating, Drum joined the Air Force and trained for the pentathlon, which combines running, horseback riding, fencing shooting and swimming. He was unsuccessful in making both the 1968 and 1972 Olympics, though he was named an alternate to the later and traveled to Munich for the games.
Drum’s story wasn’t over there, though. In 1973 he joined the U.S. Olympic Committee as secretary of the U.S. Modern Pentathlon and Biathlon Assoc. He was also elected to the board of directors for the U.S. Olympic Games Committee. He was part of the team that helped select Lake Placid as the U.S. site for the 1980 Olympic Games, as well as the 1984 games in Los Angeles. According to his hometown high school’s website, Drum resides with his wife of 30 years in Canyon Lake, Texas.
The final member of the Class of 1966 with Olympic connections, Mike Moran, worked alongside Drum during the 1980 and 1984 Olympic games as a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee; however, unlike Drum, Moran continued his work with the organization for another two decades.
As the Maverick with the most extensive Olympic ties, Moran served as a communications expert for the United States during Olympic Games and site selections for over 25 years, retiring as the U.S. Olympic Committee’s chief communications officer in 2003.
Prior to his work with the U.S. Olympic Committee, Moran was a writer for the Gateway and a full-time intern at KMTV during his time as a student. After graduation he worked as UNO’s sports information director for one year before taking the same job at the University of Colorado in 1968. Ten years later he joined the U.S. Olympic committee.
During his time on the committee, Moran experienced everything from the famous “Miracle on Ice” game at Lake Placid to the Tonya Harding-Nacy Kerrigan scandal. Moran was honored by the U.S. Olympic Committee in 2002 with the General Douglas MacArthur Award. Today, Moran currently lives in Colorado Springs and is a consultant for the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation.
So, while there many be many Maverick Olympic moments in the school’s 105-plus year history, there is perhaps no more impactful group of alumni than the UNO Class of 1966.
Photos courtesy of the UNO Alumni Association