OMAHA, Neb. -- The Creighton University Athletic Hall of Fame will add two alumni to its ranks on Monday, April 9, at the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Omaha. This year’s inductees are Jody Schwartz Longballa and Ross Paule.
Jody Schwartz Longballa becomes the sixth softball representative to enter into the Creighton Athletic Hall of Fame, and first since Heidi Geier Woodard in 2006.
Playing under her maiden name Jody Schwartz, she was named a first-team All-American as a senior in 1988, when she hit .340 with 10 doubles, four home runs and 36 RBI to go with a .989 fielding percentage. She was also 10-5 in the circle with a 1.14 ERA and 12 complete games in 17 starts.
She twice led the team in home runs and slugging percentage, and led the team in total bases three times. She finished her years at Creighton as the Bluejays’ career leader with 36 doubles, 113 RBI and 78 walks in a school-record 222 games played, all of which still rank in the Bluejay top-10.
Creighton went 151-71 in her four seasons, including a fifth-place finish in the 1986 Women’s College World Series, and the 1988 squad began a run of three straight trips to the NCAA Regionals.
Noted as a leader off and on the field, she and her husband Ken live in Reno, Nev., where she has been active in sports instruction for more than 20 years. She has remained active in the sporting landscape upon graduation, later becoming the first woman in the men’s adult baseball world series on a semi-pro team in Reno.
Ross Paule played only three years at Creighton (1994-96) before being drafted into Major League Soccer, but he made significant and lasting contributions to the sport that helped him become the eighth player in program history to earn a spot in the Creighton Athletic Hall of Fame.
He remains the only soccer player in school history to have earned first-team all-Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) honors in his first three seasons and one of only 10 players overall to have earned the honor three times. He’s also the only man in CU’s storied history to earn MVC Freshman/Newcomer of the Year, MVC Player of the Year and MVC Tournament MVP honors during his career.
He was named MVC Player of the Year and also a finalist for the Hermann Trophy and the Missouri Athletic Club Player of the Year award (before the two were combined) in 1996, the year he led Creighton to its fifth straight MVC regular-season title and its first College Cup.
Paule’s name remains prominent in the Bluejay record book to this day, ranking fifth in multi-goal games (6), ninth in goals scored (28) and 10th in points (77). In 2006, he was named to the MVC’s All-Centennial Team.
Following his junior season, he was drafted 11th overall by the Colorado Rapids in the second round of the 1997 Major League Soccer (MLS) draft. He played for the Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew and N.Y./N.J. Metrostars during a nine-year MLS career, in which he was named twice to MLS All-Star teams. He was named Colorado’s MVP in 1998 and Columbus’ MVP in 2003.
Upon retiring due to post-concussion syndrome, he also was an assistant coach for the Columbus Crew. Paule now serves as the National Soccer Executive Director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He also currently has his own Realpro Soccer Programs that provide camps and training for players in Lakeland, Tenn., with a focus on helping youth soccer players strive and achieve the next level no matter where they are currently.
Ross and his wife Laurie have three children, Jorden (12), Emma (9) and Rossi (7).