The Big Sky Conference has been celebrating the league's success both on and off the playing field by honoring 50 years of men's athletics and 25 years of women's athletics. The 50th anniversary celebrates the all-time individuals, teams and moments in the Big Sky's history, including the selection of the league's "50 Greatest Male Athletes" and the "25 Greatest Female Athletes." Along with these lists, the league will unveil the most memorable moments for both men's and women's competition.
Middle blocker Lindsay Haupt, who played for the Hornets from 2004-07, made the list of "greatest female athletes" where she checks in at No. 19 after an incredibly successful career. The Etna, Calif., native finished her career with an abundance of accolades including two-time Big Sky Most Valuable Player (2005, 2007), two-time Big Sky Tournament MVP (2005-06), three-time first team all-Big Sky (2005-07) and four-time Big Sky all-academic (2004-07). Haupt currently ranks second in school history in total blocks (616), tied for fifth in hitting percentage (.332), seventh in points (1,732.5) and ninth in kills (1,359). She remains the only player in school history to earn multiple Big Sky Volleyball MVP awards, and is one of just three Hornets to earn multiple Big Sky Tournament MVP awards.
Below is a story published on the Big Sky Conference's website....
Lindsay Haupt rose from a small town in northern California to become a two-time Big Sky Conference volleyball MVP.
Haupt, from Etna, Calif., was named the 2005 and 2007 Big Sky Most Valuable Player. She ranks 19th on the Big Sky Conference's list of "25 Greatest Female Athletes."
"It's amazing to hear and it's quite an honor to be recognized so many years after graduating," said Haupt, a 6-foot-1 middle hitter. "There are so many amazing athletes and so many volleyball players, and people that have gone on to play professional sports as well. This is quite an honor."
Haupt's graduating high school class consisted of just 50 students, and only 250 were enrolled. She had to drive two hours one way to Redding, Calif., to play club volleyball. Most of her matches were played seven or eight hours away on Sundays. Haupt was also playing high school softball at the time.
"When I recruited Lindsay, she was really an unknown," said Debby Colberg, who was Sacramento State's highly successful volleyball coach from 1976-2007. "We didn't even stand by her court when we recruited Lindsay because we didn't want anyone else to notice her. She was really raw, but she was an athlete."
Despite being raw, when Haupt came to Sacramento State, she did not redshirt. In fact, during her freshman year, she was named the Big Sky's Outstanding Freshman. A three-time Big Sky all-tournament selection, Haupt also earned Big Sky Tournament MVP accolades in 2005 and 2006.
"When I came to Sacramento State, I was athletic," said Haupt. "I was not a polished player like many players who come into Division I. I could jump and I was fast, and that was about it. So Debby told me, 'I just want you to be a sponge and soak up everything.' and I did. Anytime a coach was coaching me, I listened and worked hard. But I also listened when other players were being coached. I just wanted to soak everything in and just become as good as I could."
Haupt helped Sacramento State to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances (2004-07), four consecutive Big Sky Tournament titles (2004-07) and three straight Big Sky regular season championships (2005-07).
"The biggest challenge for us was getting into the NCAA Tournament and winning a first-round match," said Haupt. "We expected to reach the NCAA Tournament every year, but we were really pushing to win that first match."
At the NCAA Tournament in 2004, Sacramento State lost to Saint Mary's, 3-1. A year later, Santa Clara ended the Hornets' season, 3-1. In 2006, Stanford swept the Hornets.
The 2007 season marked Colberg's last as head coach, and Sacramento State was able to win its first-round matchup against Minnesota, 3-1. They fell to Stanford in the second round, 3-0.
"The most memorable moment was my senior year when we played Minnesota, a very good team, and beat them in the first round of the NCAA Tournament," said Haupt. "We were finally able to advance to the second round. What an honor for us to have done that, especially with Debby's last year before retiring. It really was an achievement to fight so long for four years, and finally have that pay off and win our first round match."
Haupt ended her career at Sacramento State with 533 block assists, which ranks second in Big Sky history. She is also third in total blocks with 616.
"She had good size, she had the ability to hit and play with a lot of aggressiveness," said Colberg. "She was the perfect person to coach. She brought a lot of energy to the court. She was sturdy, and had all the attributes we wanted in an athlete. She was a joy to coach.
"I think she helped us with our future recruiting. She was really personable and a great ambassador to go out and meet people in the community or the kids that came to campus. She was about as perfect as they came."
Haupt now lives in Walla Walla, Wash., with her husband Nathan. She works as an emergency room nurse.