History

HISTORY Of The NEBRASKA HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS HALL OF FAME FOUNDATION

This brief history was written by Randy Cordes in January of 2008 (with updates added as recently as February of 2017); major contributions to this history were provided by Dennis Smith, Roger Neujahr, and Buck Mahoney.

 

Where should a history of a new organization begin? The answer is with the idea. Where did the idea for a Hall of Fame come from? Who were the contributors to this dream? To answer these questions we first look at two groups of people.

One of the groups contributing to the idea of having a Sports Hall of Fame in Nebraska was a group of interested persons from Gothenburg. One day (in July of 1990) several members of the Gothenburg Rotary Club (following their weekly meeting) had a discussion outside the Swede Café …. “Wouldn’t it be great to have a high school sports hall of fame?” That conversation included several individuals, including three future members (Steve Windrum, Ted Rowan, and Roger Neujahr) of the Board of Directors of the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame.

At about the same time, the Nebraska School Activities Association (N.S.A.A.) Board of Control had been discussing the potential of creating a Hall of Fame. Dennis Smith, Board of Control Member from District II, initiated discussion on preserving the history of athletics in Nebraska. In the late 1980’s, he attended a number of meetings and workshops dealing with the creation of Halls of Fame. At the N.S.A.A. Board of Control Meeting on February 8, 1991, a vote (6-0) was taken to create a committee to pursue the feasibility of establishing a Hall of Fame.

After reading the N.S.A.A. Board Minutes reporting the establishment of this Hall of Fame Committee, Roger Neujahr, Gothenburg Activities Director, called Dennis Smith; Roger indicated to Dennis that a group of people in Gothenburg had been working for about a year to bring an Athletic Hall of Fame there. That conversation led to the first of several meetings between the N.S.A.A. Committee (Dennis Smith, Conde Sargent, Jim Riley, and others) and those Hall of Fame organizers from Gothenburg.

The first official meeting (when Minutes were kept) of the two groups was held on September 12, 1991, at the N.S.A.A. Office in Lincoln. This meeting was for discussion purposes only; no decisions or votes were taken. The committee then met in Gothenburg on October 10, 1991. The Gothenburg Committee presented to the Hall of Fame Committee a comprehensive look at the planning that had been taking place there over the past year. The Hall of Fame Committee was so favorably impressed with the commitment of the Gothenburg Committee, that at the subsequent November 25, 1991, meeting, the eight Hall of Fame Committee Members unanimously approved a motion to place the Nebraska High School Hall of Fame in Gothenburg. The N.S.A.A. Board of Control on December 13, 1991, (by a 6-0 vote) also endorsed Gothenburg as the future site of the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame.

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The initial idea (the Gothenburg promoters had) was to link the Pony Express in Gothenburg and the Hall Of Fame together at the same site. Over the course of the next several years, however, it became apparent that sufficient support could not be generated in the community of Gothenburg to have the Hall of Fame and the Pony Express located at the same site. Therefore, the Hall of Fame Board of Directors later (in 1997) decided that Lincoln would replace Gothenburg as the site of a future Hall of Fame Facility.

Organization of a decision making body for the Hall of Fame began in June of 1992, when letters were mailed to a number of Nebraskans asking them to serve on the Hall of Fame Board. The original Board would eventually have eighteen Directors (see next paragraph). On July 30, 1993, Articles of Incorporation for the Hall of Fame were prepared by Steve Windrum, a Gothenburg attorney and the first Hall of Fame President. Following the filing of the Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State, this new organization would officially be known as the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame Foundation. The first meeting following the creation of this Non-Profit Corporation took place on August 27, 1993, in Lincoln.

The original Directors were: Conde Sargent (Lincoln), Steve Johnsen (Lincoln), Chuck Jura (Columbus), Dennis Smith (Papillion), Jerry Neely (Norfolk), Bill Shoemaker (Cambridge), Hoppy McCue (Alma), Bill Madden (Scottsbluff), Ken Fischer (Lincoln), Tom Mihane (Scottsbluff), Jerry Mathers (McCool Junction), Buck Mahoney (Kearney), Dick Thompson (North Platte), Roger Neujahr (Gothenburg), Ted Rowan (Gothenburg), Jack Hallstrom (Omaha), Steve Windrum (Gothenburg), and Carol Frost (Wood River).

The Hall of Fame is very fortunate to have had several outstanding leaders; the following have served as President of the Board of Directors. The first President, selected in 1993, was Steve Windrum (Gothenburg); Duane Haith (Omaha), took over the helm in 1996. Bob Whitehouse (Omaha), became President in 2000; Wally McNaught (Lincoln), presided over the Board beginning in 2005. Bob Whitehouse resumed as President in 2007, followed in 2009 by Jack Guggenmos (Lincoln), Dick Beechner (Kearney) was President in 2011 and was followed by current President Pat Salerno (Omaha), who took office in 2015.

See the List of Officers & Board of Directors Document, which includes Current and Former Officers as well as Current and Former Board Members.

In those early years, as the Hall of Fame became organized, many decisions had to be made. One was to establish the criteria for individuals to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. See the brochure of the Hall of Fame, which includes that criteria. Another decision to be made was the adoption of a Hall of Fame Slogan; “Honoring Our Past to Inspire the Future” was ultimately selected. Over time, legal issues had to be dealt with. The Foundation was fortunate to have Britt Ehlers, from Lincoln, be the first to provide legal counsel for the Hall of Fame; today, legal advice comes from Tara Tesmer. That counsel has included advice on non-profit status, liability protection, contract wording with the N.S.A.A. concerning the new facility, and many other items.

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The first class of Hall of Fame Inductees was picked by the Selection Committee and approved at the February 7, 1994, Board Meeting in Gothenburg. The Class of 1994 included Contributor Gregg McBride, Coaches Skip Palrang, Ed Johnson, and Dutch Zorn, Pioneers Grover Cleveland Alexander, Nile Kinnick, and Ed Weir, and Athletes Bob Gibson, Nancy Kindig, Tom Osborne, Johnny Rodgers, and Julie Vollertsen. These individuals and others were honored at the Great Hall of the Lincoln Train Station on Friday, September 23, 1994.

The first six Classes (1994 through 1999) had ceremonies at the Great Hall of the Lincoln Train Station; those events included a full banquet dinner prior to the Induction Ceremony. From 2000 to the 2014, the site in Lincoln changed to the Lied Center for the Performing Arts with a “Dessert Buffet Social Hour” preceding the Induction.  Beginning in 2015, the Lincoln East High School Theater became the site for the Induction Ceremony.

See the list of all Banquets / Induction Ceremonies and the lists of all Hall of Fame Inductees and all other Hall of Fame Award Recipients.

In 2001, the Board of Directors created the officer post of Executive Director. This part-time position (which is more full time than part time) was first filled by Dick Beechner. Beechner, who had been a Board Member beginning in 2000, was unanimously approved as the first Executive Director of the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame Foundation at the February 21, 2002, Board Meeting. Randy Bates, served from 2010 thru 2011; Larry Munksgaard, served from 2011 thru 2014; and, Chuck Johnston, was selected on October 5, 2014, to be our new Executive Director.  Our Assistant Executive Director, Mike Rasmussen, was hired in 2014: his primary duties center on development of the Exhibit hall, located in the NSAA building.

The Hall of Fame has several Standing Committees which do much of the work of the organization. Those Committees include: The Executive Committee (composed primarily of the Hall Of Fame Officers), the Induction Ceremony Committee, the Selection Committee, the Fund Raising & Finance Committee, the Public Relations Committee, the Nominations Committee, the Memorabilia Committee, the Newsletter Committee, and the position of Historian. See List of Current Members on each of these Committees.

The Hall of Fame has four regular Board Meetings each year. Since Board and Officer Terms of Office begin and end with the meeting in September or October, we will refer to it as the first meeting of the year. That meeting is held in Lincoln in the morning prior to the Induction Ceremony on or about October 1st each year. The second meeting of the year, which is held in York at the Cornerstone Bank (5th Floor), usually takes place on the first Monday in December. The third meeting held in early March will take place before either the Girls or Boys State Basketball Tournament; the meeting site is the N.S.A.A. Building (across the hall from the Hall of Fame Exhibit Hall). The fourth Board Meeting is held in May in Omaha on the Thursday before the State Track Meet; the site used for the May meeting the last several years has been Burke High School.

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The Hall of Fame has a Newsletter, which provides updates to supporters on its activities; Buck Mahoney from Kearney is in charge of this twice a year publication.

The Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame Foundation also has a web site. It lists the Current Officers, the Current Board of Directors, the most recent Class of Inductees and Honorees, how to nominate an individual, a video of scenes from the Exhibit hall, and much more.  The web site can be found at nebhalloffame.org

One unique Member of the initial Board of Directors was Jerry Mathers. Being the author of a book entitled, “Nebraska High School Sports” (2nd edition), made him a natural; his book dealt with the history of athletics in Nebraska from the 1890’s through the 1979-1980 school year. Mathers had also prepared documents to be included in a subsequent book that would take the History of Nebraska Sports through the 1999-2000 school year. That 3rd edition was never published (for a variety of reasons). Jerry Mathers died in 2003. Following his death, the Hall of Fame acquired Mather’s manuscripts about Nebraska athletics for the last two decades of the twentieth century. Hopefully, this 3rd edition will some day be published in some form.  Jerry Mathers’ knowledge (while he was living) and his printed research (following his death) have been tremendous aids in helping to select each group of Nebraska Hall of Famers.

Since the early 1990’s, the Board of Directors has had a dream that a Hall of Fame Exhibit Hall would some day be built. As a part of that dream, the Board was also hopeful that some day that the Hall of Fame, the Nebraska School Activities Association, and the Nebraska Coaches Association (N.C.A.) could all operate under one roof. Both of those dreams became a reality in the spring of 2006 when Hall of Fame Board of Directors accepted the N.S.A.A. invitation to join the N.S.A.A. (and the N.C.A.) in their new facility. The Hall of Fame Board of Directors extends a big “Thank You” to Dr. Jim Tenopir and the N.S.A.A. Board of Control (now Board of Directors) for their willingness to include the Hall of Fame in their new building.  Construction on this new structure, which is located in the Haymarket Ballpark Area just north of the Baseball and Softball Complex, began in 2007. The N.S.A.A. Offices were completed in the spring of 2008. The exterior of the Exhibit Hall for the Hall Of Fame was completed at the same time, with interior furnishings to be added in the future.

A major fund raising project (which was officially launched on November 22, 2008) began the process of raising approximately $1.5 million.  The Exhibit Hall (partially completed at the time) opened with a Press Conference & tour on December 9, 2013.  To date (2017) substantial progress has been made in development of the Exhibit Hall.  Funding is still being sought to help with the on-going attractions that are to be added to the facility.  Today, the Exhibit Hall  is normally open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (10:00 AM to 4:00 PM) and on special days (i.e. State Basketball Tournament), and staff will be available to provide tours to groups (schools and others) making appointments.  If you would like to donate funds to help with the development of the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, please see the web site.


NEBRASKA HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS HALL OF FAME FOUNDATION

 OFFICERS & BOARD OF DIRECTORS

MOST RECENT UPDATEMARCH 1, 2017

 

 

CURRENT OFFICERS        EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – – – – CHUCK JOHNSTON

ASST. EXEC. DIRECTOR – – – MIKE RASMUSSEN

PRESIDENT – – – – – – – – PAT SALERNO

VICE PRESIDENT – – – – – – JERRY BARTEE

SECRETARY – – – – – – – – SUE WILCOXSO

TREASURER – – – – – – – – JEFF RITZ

 

OFFICERS TENURECURRENT & FORMER

 

+ EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – – DICK BEECHNER – – – 2002 – 2010

                            RANDY BATES – – – – 2010 – 2011

                            LARRY MUNKSGAARD – 2011 – 2014

                            CHUCK JOHNSTON – – 2014 – PRESENT

 

& ASST. EXEC. DIRECTOR – MIKE RASMUSSEN – – 2014 – PRESENT

 

    PRESIDENT – – – – – – STEVE WINDRUM – – – 1993 – 1996

                           DUANE HAITH – – – – 1996 – 2000

                           BOB WHITEHOUSE – – 2000 – 2005

                           WALLY MCNAUGHT – – 2005 – 2007

                           BOB WHITEHOUSE – – 2007 – 2009

                            JACK GUGGENMOS – – 2009 – 2011

                            DICK BEECHNER – – – 2011 – 2015

                            PAT SALERNO – – – – 2015 – PRESENT

 

    VICE PRESIDENT – – – – BILL SHOEMAKER – – 1993 – 1995

                           JACK HALLSTROM – – 1995 – 1999

                           BOB WHITEHOUSE – – 1999 – 2000

                           DUANE HAITH – – – – 2000 – 2003

                           WALLY MCNAUGHT – – 2003 – 2005

                        STEVE SHANAHAN – – 2005 – 2007

                           JACK GUGGENMOS – – 2007 – 2009

                            STEVE SHANAHAN – – 2009 – 2012

                            SHANAHAN / HAITH – 2012 – 2013

                            JERRY BARTEE – – – 2015 – PRESENT

 

    SECRETARY – – – – – – ROGER NEUJAHR – – – 1993 – 1996

                           STEVE SHANAHAN – – 1996 – 2005

                           NANCY BECKER – – – 2005 – 2008

                            JERRY STINE – – – – 2008 – 2010

                            PAT SALERNO – – – – 2010 – 2015

                            SUE WILCOXSON – – – 2015 – PRESENT

 

    TREASURER – – – – – – ROGER NEUJAHR – – – 1993 – 1996

                           DENNIS SMITH – – – 1996 – 2016

                            JEFF RITZ – – – – – 2016 – PRESENT

 

    NOTE – FROM 1993 TO 1996, THE OFFICES OF SECRETARY & TREASURER WERE COMBINED

        INTO ONE POSITION; IN 1996 THEY WERE SEPARATED, CREATING TWO OFFICERS.

 

    TERM OF OFFICE – OFFICER TERMS & BOARD MEMBER TERMS (3 YEARS EACH) BEGIN AND

                 END WITH THE FALL (SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER) BOARD MEETING.

 

+ – THIS POSITION WAS CREATED IN 2001 & FIRST FILLED IN 2002.

 

& – THIS POSITION WAS CREATED IN 2013 & FIRST FILLED IN 2014.

            NEBRASKA HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS HALL OF FAME BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

CURRENT BOARD MEMBERSMAXIMUM OF 33 ACTIVE DIRECTORS

NAME                    TERM EXPIRES       YEARS SERVED

 

BUCK MAHONEY *             2018           1993 – PRESENT

 DENNIS SMITH *             2018           1993 – PRESENT

 RANDY CORDES               2019           1995 – PRESENT

 BOB WHITEHOUSE             2018           1995 – PRESENT

 JIM PAIGE                  2018           1995 – PRESENT

 DUANE HAITH                2018           1995 – PRESENT

 RAY EHLERS                 2019           1996 – PRESENT

 GENE HAYNES                2017           1996 – PRESENT

 JERRY STINE                2019           1996 – PRESENT

 ROGER BARRY                2017           1998 – PRESENT

 SUE (SOKOLL) WILCOXSON     2019           1999 – PRESENT

 DEL SCHOENFISH              2018           1999 – PRESENT

 JACK GUGGENMOS             2017           2000 – PRESENT

 JO DUSATKO                 2019           2002 – PRESENT

 DAN MOORE                  2018           2004 – PRESENT

PAT SALERNO                 2018           2004 – PRESENT

 CHARLES MEYER              2019           2006 – PRESENT

 BOB MARTIN                  2017           2008 – PRESENT

 STEVE SHANAHAN              2017           1996 – 2007 / 2009 – PRESENT

 DICK BEECHNER               2017           2000 – 2002 / 2011 – PRESENT

 RANDY YORK                  2017           2011 – PRESENT

 DARIN BOYSEN                2019           2011 – PRESENT

 JIM EBERLY                  2018           2012 – PRESENT

 RYAN HOGUE                  2017           2012 – PRESENT

 BRUCE PARISH                2019           2012 – PRESENT

 MITCH STINE                 2019           2014 – PRESENT

 JERRY BARTEE                2017           2014 – PRESENT

 JEFF RITZ                   2017           2014 – PRESENT

 

* – MEMBER – ORIGINAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS…

CURRENT HALL OF FAME BOARD MEMBERS – (CONTINUED)

 

NAME                    TERM EXPIRES       YEARS SERVED

 KAREN HAND                  2019           2015 – PRESENT

 KENT HALLEY                 2018           2016 – PRESENT

 DENNIS DOLLIVER         2018            2016 – PRESENT

 LARRY KING                  2017           2017 – PRESENT

 MARK BRAHMER 2019           2017 – PRESENT

 

NUMBER OF BOARD MEMBERS TERMS ENDING BY YEAR & # OF VACANCIES – 3/1/2017

 

    2017 – 11 – – – – – – 0 VACANCIES

    2018 – 11 – – – – – – 0 VACANCIES

    2019 – 11 – – – – – – 0 VACANCIES

 

HISTORY OF THE SIZE OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

    ORIGINAL BOARD IN 1993 – – – – – – 18 MEMBERS

    BOARD EXPANDED IN 1995 – – – – – – 25 MEMBERS – #

    BOARD EXPANDED IN 1998 – – – – – – 30 MEMBERS – #

    BOARD EXPANDED IN 2007 – – – – – – 33 MEMBERS – #

 

        # – MAXIMUM NUMBER OF BOARD MEMBERS ALLOWED BY THE CONSTITUTION…

 NOTE: WHEN CHARLES MEYER WAS APPROVED AS A BOARD MEMBER AT THE

      FEBRUARY 15, 2006, MEETING, THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME THE

     BOARD OF DIRECTORS HAD ACTUALLY REACHED THIRTY (30) MEMBERS.

 

NOTE: WHEN BOB MARTIN, DAVE VAN METRE, AND BOB DANENHAUER WERE

       APPROVED AS BOARD MEMBERS AT THE FEBRUARY 13, 2008, MEETING,

    THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS HAD ACTUALLY

       REACHED THIRTY THREE (33) MEMBERS.

 

CURRENT EMERITUS HALL OF FAME BOARD MEMBERS

 

NAME                                       YEARS SERVED

 

HOPPY MCCUE *                            2011 – PRESENT

 KEN FISCHER *                             2011 – PRESENT

 AL PAPIK                                   2011 – PRESENT

 DAVE VAN METRE                             2011 – PRESENT

 CONDE SARGENT *                         2011 – PRESENT

 STEVE WINDRUM *                         2011 – PRESENT

 SANDY PILFOLD                             2015 – PRESENT

 BUCK EDWARDS                               2016 – PRESENT

 

  • – MEMBER – ORIGINAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS…

 FORMER HALL OF FAME BOARD MEMBERS

 NAME                                YEARS SERVED

 JERRY NEELY *                      1993 – 1994

 STEVE JOHNSEN *                    1993 – 1995

 BILL SHOEMAKER *                   1993 – 1995

 BILL MADDEN *                      1993 – 1996

 TOM MIHANE *                       1993 – 1996

 DICK THOMPSON *                    1993 – 1996

 TED ROWAN *                        1993 – 1998

 STEVE WINDRUM *                    1993 – 1998

 CHUCK JURA *                       1993 – 2000

 CAROL FROST *                      1993 – 2000

 JERRY MATHERS *                    1993 – 2003

 JACK HALLSTROM *                   1993 – 2004

 ROGER NEUJAHR   *                   1993 – 2008

 HOPPY MCCUE *                     1993 – 2011

 KEN FISCHER *                     1993 – 2011

 CONDE SARGENT *                   1993 – 2011

 TOM MILLSAP                         1994 – 1996

 GEORGE SHINKER                      1994 – 2000

 ROY POUNDS                          1995 – 1995

 CON MARSHALL                        1995 – 1996

 SANDY PILFOLD                      1995 – 2015

 BARB WAGNER                         1996 – 199

 LARRY MOLLRING                      1996 – 2000

 STEVE SHANAHAN  @                   1996 – 2007

 ROGER SAYERS                        1996 – 2009

 WALLY McNAUGHT                     1997 – 2014

 LINDA CARLSON                       1999 – 2000

 

* – MEMBER – ORIGINAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS…

 @ – REJOINED BOARD OF DIRECTORS IN 2009

 # – REJOINED BOARD OF DIRECTORS IN 2011

FORMER HALL OF FAME BOARD MEMBERS – (CONTINUED)

 NAME                                YEARS SERVED

 AL PAPIK                            1999 – 2011

 ALDIE JOHNSON                       1999 – 2014

 BUCK EDWARDS                        1999 – 2016

 DICK BEECHNER #                 2000 – 2002

 DICK DAVIS                          2000 – 2003

 NANCY BECKER                        2001 – 2008

 STEVE ERWIN                         2002 – 2003

 BOB JENSEN                         2005 – 2012

 STEVE JOEKEL                        2007 – 2012

 DAVE VAN METRE                      2008 – 2011

 STEVE BORER                         2008 – 2011

 KATHI WIESKAMP                      2008 – 2012

 BOB DANENHAUER                      2008 – 2014

ADRIAN FIALA                      2011 – 2013

 RYAN RUHL                           2012 – 2016

 TOM ASH                             2013 – 2014

 CHUCK JOHNSTON                      2013 – 2014

 TOM ERNST                           2014 – 2016

 

 

* – MEMBER – ORIGINAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS…

 @ – REJOINED BOARD OF DIRECTORS IN 2009

 # – REJOINED BOARD OF DIRECTORS IN 2011

 FORMER EMERITUS HALL OF FAME BOARD MEMBERS

 NAME                                YEARS SERVED

 DICK BEECHNER                       2010 – 2011

 JACK HALLSTROM *                   2012 – 2014

 ALDIE JOHNSON                       2014 – 2016

 * – MEMBER – ORIGINAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS…