I Association to Honor Four Individuals


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – This fall, Indiana University will honor four athletics associates with some of the I Association’s highest awards.

Three women will be recognized with the Leanne Grotke Award, bestowed on living individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Indiana University’s women’s athletics program.

The Bill Orwig Award recognizes outstanding contributions made by a non-alumnus to IU Athletics, and will be awarded during the Grotke ceremony .

The recipients will be honored on Friday, Sept. 13, in Memorial Stadium’s Henke Hall of Champions.

Following are summaries of the award recipients:

Leanne Grotke Award

Linda Cotter

Linda Cotter, BS’70, PED’78, is a pioneer in women’s athletics. An outstanding athlete, she has gone on to national prominence coaching and officiating women’s sports at universities across the country. Cotter lives in Rohnert Park, Calif.

As an undergraduate at IU, she was co-captain of the basketball and softball teams, lettering in both sports, and was awarded the James Darwin Maxwell medal.

After graduation, her professional accomplishments include establishment of the first women’s intercollegiate basketball team at Illinois Wesleyan University, and back-to-back California Community College Division II Basketball Championships as head coach of Cabrillo College.

She later returned to IU, working as an associate instructor and a graduate assistant coach for the varsity volleyball team, and head coach of the junior varsity volleyball team.

Brenda Hacker Freije

Brenda Hacker Freije, BS’91, JD’94, and her IU women’s tennis teammates won the Big 10 Championship four consecutive years, from 1988 to 1991.

After completing her undergraduate degree, Freije returned to IU to attend law school, graduating with Magna Cum Laude and Order of the Coif honors. Subsequently, Freije has earned her International Coaching Federation Certification and Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching Training and Certification. She was inducted into the Indiana Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Fort Wayne Tennis Hall of Fame in 2017.

Taking a hiatus from the legal profession, Freije pursued divinity studies at Christian Theological Seminary and pastored with the United Methodist Church. Much of Freije’s subsequent professional work has been with non-profit and religious causes and organizations. She lives in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Debbie Millbern Powers

The first female athlete in IU history to be awarded the Elvis J. Stahr Distinguished Senior Award, Debbie Millbern Powers, BS’73, excelled in both academics and athletics.

Powers played basketball for IU from 1969 to 1973 and softball and field hockey from 1971 to 1972. She was captain and leading scorer of the 1973 basketball team, leading her teammates to the Final Four.

After graduation, Powers was drafted to play in the first professional women’s basketball league. Instead, she pursued a career in teaching and coaching, as Title IX brought new athletic opportunities to women across the nation.

She led the Muncie (Ind.) Northside High School volleyball team to two state championships—winning the 1975 title against a team with boys—before accepting a head women’s coaching position with Ball State University. She retired from this position in 2006, and has become a celebrated author in the intervening years. Powers lives in St. Augustine, Fla.

Bill Orwig Award

Hugh Shanahan

Hugh A. Shanahan, of Bloomington, Ind., is a lifelong fan of IU Athletics. His father, Hugh N. Shanahan Sr., BA’76, was on the first IU football team to defeat Michigan and on the first to win The Old Oaken Bucket.

Shanahan’s career path initially led him to serve in the FBI and DEA. After making his way back to Bloomington, he gave lectures to NFL, NBA, NHL, and Major League Baseball teams, including Bo Schembechler’s Michigan Wolverines. Curtiss S. Mallory, MS’99, one of Schembechler’s players, suggested to his father, Bill, that he use Shanahan to speak to the IU football team.

Shanahan thereafter gave a lecture to the Hoosier football team each year, a tradition continued by coaches Cam Cameron, BS’83, and Bill Lynch. Shanahan is a charter member of the IU 12th Man Club, a Legacy Locker Donor, and a regular at IU football practice during the spring and fall.

The I Association is made up of letter-winning IU alumni and is one of only two athletic alumni associations in the country managed by its alumni association. The IU Alumni Association is a global alumni organization that brings 690,000 IU graduates together to support one another and Indiana University throughout their lives. The IUAA activates IU’s powerful network through live events, webinars, scholarship programs, and traditions.