Rik Bonness-Bellevue


Bellevue (Class of 1973)

A three-sport athlete at Bellevue High School, Rik Bonness shone brightest on the football field where he played center and linebacker, earning all-state honors his senior season and earning a scholarship to play at Nebraska. For the Cornhuskers, Bonness achieved the honor of being the seventh two-time All-American playing center. The Oakland Raiders drafted him in the third round of the NFL Draft. Converted back to linebacker, he played 59 games in the NFL for the Raiders and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was a member of the Raiders’ Super Bowl championship team of 1977.

Richard Brown-Omaha South


Omaha South (Class of 1958)

Richard Brown played a crucial role in bringing a championship atmosphere to Omaha South. A four-time state wrestling finalist and three-time champion, he led the Packers to three straight state championships in wrestling. In football, the standout halfback and cornerback helped the Packers win the mythical state championship in 1957. He furthered his wrestling career at Iowa State, finishing third in the Big Eight Tournament in 1960. After college, Brown taught and coached at Wesley House for 26 years and served as the youth district director for USA Wrestling Nebraska.

Larry Bornschlegl-Hastings

An outstanding athlete at Geneva High School and the University of Nebraska, Larry Bornschlegl never got far away from the playing field, enjoying a long career as a coach, school administrator and referee. Considered one of the premier basketball referees in the 1970s and ‘80s, Bornschlegl completed a basketball officiating career that covered 20 years and included 10 state tournaments and eight state championship games. After putting away the whistle, he dedicated his efforts to improve the quality of officiating, offering advice while helping develop the Nebraska School Activities Association’s program of observing and evaluating officials. He has served as an observer for more than 20 years.

Kim (Behrends) Buckendahl- Chappell

Chappell (Class of 1997)
Kim (Behrends) Buckendahl rewrote Nebraska high school volleyball’s record books. From her 42 kills in the state championship match to her 1,643 career kills, Behrends dominated small-town volleyball like no other. She led Chappell to back-to-back undefeated state championships and a 55-match winning streak. All-class all-state for two years and Class D-1 all-state all four years, she earned Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year honors in 1996 and was Volleyball Magazine’s runner-up for National Player of the Year. Also a basketball standout, she finished her career with 1,384 points. The Lincoln Journal-Star’s 1997 Female Athlete of the Year, Behrends went on to letter four years on the Nebraska Cornhuskers volleyball team and was one of the tri-captains on the 34-0 national championship team of 2000.








Jim Barker arrived at Scottsbluff in 1988 and turned the Bearcats into a cross country power – a project that has resulted in 11 boys state championships, more than any other coach in Nebraska history. In addition, the Scottsbluff boys accumulated five runner-up finishes. In his 28 years at the helm, the Scottsbluff boys qualified for state 26 times, finishing in the top four 22 times. Dedicated to the success and improvements of all on his team, not just the best, he also coached a number of highly successful girls cross country teams, including two state runner-up squads. He coached girls and boys track and field for nine years, including the 2012 boys team that won the Class B championship and the 2013 and 2015 boys squads that placed second. He retired as the school’s track coach in 2016, but he continues to coach cross country.



Omaha South (Class of 1991)





Terrance Badgett, a two-time all-state player, led the Packers to the Class A state championship in 1990 and averaged 24 points and 11 rebounds per game the following year while earning honors as the Gatorade Nebraska Player of the Year. A Nebraska Cornhusker recruit, he made the Big Eight All-Freshman team and, as a senior, was named to the Big Eight All-Bench team. As a Husker he played in 127 games and scored more than 200 points each season, finishing with a career total of 953. He played professionally for five seasons in the U.S. and overseas.

Dale Bubak – Hayes Center & Tekamah

 Coach.  After being a standout athlete at both Cozad High School and the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Dale Bubak excelled in coaching at Hayes Center, St. Paul and Tekamah-Herman.

Bubak coached the Hayes Center basketball team from 1957 to 1959 and led the school’s football team to a 72-36-4 record. He coached the unbeaten and No. 1-ranked eight-man team in 1962 and an unbeaten team in 1961. As a track coach, Bubak led Hayes Center to five consecutive Class D state championships starting in 1968. He coached 14 individual state champions, including nine individuals and five relay teams. From 1981 to 1985 Bubak served as the Tekamah-Herman athletic director and retired from teaching in 1991. In 1970 the Omaha World-Herald awarded Coach of the Year to Bubak. In 1998 he was the recipient of the Nebraska Coaches Association’s Binnie and Dutch award for meritorious service to track and field.

Kelli Benson Jeffries – Grand Island

2009Athlete. Class of 1980. Kelli (Benson) Jeffries was not a stranger to the state tournaments, or state championships. She was the Class A high jump champion and an all-state volleyball player who helped her Grand Island team to a state runner-up finish her junior year. In basketball, she started every game on Grand Island’s state runner-up team as a sophomore, then led the Islanders to a 21-0 state championship year as a junior. She averaged 20.7 points per game as a senior while being named the captain of the Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World-Herald all-state teams. She also earned high school All American honors and played in the first Nebraska Coaches Association All-Star Girls Basketball Game, a game she would later return to as a coach, coaching her daughter, in 2007. She played for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, starting 87 of 118 games in her college career. She led her team in field-goal percentage and graduated as the second-best shooter in school history, making just over 50 percent of her field goals (.511).




By Terry Douglass

Published: Friday, October 2, 2009 10:04 AM CDT


Kelli (Benson) Jeffries doesn’t consider her induction into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame an individual honor.

Far from it.

“It’s a big honor for me, but the other part of that is a lot of other people went into that,” said Jeffries, a former Grand Island Senior High three-sport standout, who is now the Islanders’ girls golf and girls basketball coach. “To me, it’s a team honor. A lot of great people along the way helped in this.”

For Jeffries, this year’s induction into the Nebraska High School Hall of Fame came as a bit of a surprise.

“I always just thought that’s what happens to old people,” Jeffries said, smiling. “But it’s a nice honor. The last couple of months, I’ve heard a lot of I-remember-when stories, so it’s been kind of fun talking with people and getting to reminisce about what happened.

“I guess it’s one of those things where you find out when you grow older just how special it really is.”

During her high school career, Jeffries and her Islander teams were regular fixtures in state championship events. She was the Class A high jump champion and an all-state volleyball player who helped her Grand Island team to a state runner-up finish her junior year, but basketball was her best sport.

Jeffries started every game on Grand Island’s state runner-up basketball team as a sophomore and led the Islanders to a 21-0 state championship year as a junior. She averaged 20.7 points per game as a senior, while being named the captain of the Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World-Herald all-state teams.

In addition, Jeffries earned high school All-America honors and played in the first Nebraska Coaches Association all-star girls basketball game — a game she would later return to as a coach, coaching her daughter, Johnna Jeffries, in 2007.

In college, Kelli Jeffries played for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, starting 87 of 118 games in her college career. She led her team in field-goal percentage and graduated as the second-best shooter in school history, making just over 50 percent of her field goals (.511).

“Obviously, I’m kind of a hometown girl — grew up here in Grand Island and came back here — and always wanted to play at Nebraska,” Jeffries said. “In fact, I went to Nebraska not even knowing who my head coach would be because they were in the middle of a coaching change, but that really didn’t matter to me.

“That’s just where I knew I wanted to be and it ended up being a great experience and a lot of fun.”

Jeffries said that of all her sports memories, winning a state basketball title tops the list. Jeffries said she and her teammates continue to share a special bond — they still get together every year — and she credits former coach Ed Bills for much of her team and individual success.

“Ed is just a great guy,” Jeffries said. “He was instrumental in a lot of things that happened for me.”

Jeffries enjoyed athletic success despite not playing in organized sporting events until her sophomore year of high school. However, she said she honed her skills while playing against boys in pick-up games.

“There just weren’t many girls playing organized ball then because it was such a new thing for girls, but it was just a passion for me,” Jeffries said. “I just loved it and couldn’t do enough of it.”

Grand Island Senior High activities director Joe Kutlas said Jeffries has carried the same traits that made her a successful player into her coaching career.

“Kelli is caring and compassionate and provides a great experience for her student-athletes,” Kutlas said. “She works hard at it and does everything first-class and is a genuine pleasure to work with. Kelli is a true Islander — she bleeds purple.”

Jeffries said many things about the game of basketball have changed since she played. However, she said the formula for success remains the same.

“We had a group of girls who really wanted to win and worked their tails off,” Jeffries said. “Really, that’s what it’s all about. The same thing goes now: If I can get a competitive group of kids who work hard, I think we’re going to be pretty good.”

Leonard Bond – Omaha North

HOFCoach. High school coaches the caliber of Leonard Bond always seem to credit good fortune regarding outstanding players under their guidance. Usually, it is no accident. As head football and track coach at Omaha North High School between 1948 to 1975, Coach Bond worked constantly to increase the quality of athletes under his guidance. His varsity record was a healthy 114-26, with many protégés all-conference and all-state. On the gridiron, the 1960s were particularly outstanding, such as the undefeated state champion 1961 team which had a legendary backfield  known as the Four Norsemen (Bob Churchich, Rick Davis, Danny Miller and Rookie Taylor).



When Leonard Bond wanted to get his team’s attention, it didn’t take much. Simply straightening his tie was usually enough.

That’s how much respect his players had for the longtime coach, who died Thursday of cancer at age 81. Bond taught at North for 27 years and was the Vikings’ head football coach for 16.

“Leonard was a great man,” said Jerry Murtaugh. “He and his two assistants really taught me everything about life.”Murtaugh played for Bond and went on to star at Nebraska. He still holds the Huskers’ career record for tackles with 342.

“Coach Bond taught me the importance of going to class, and the importance of staying out of trouble,” Murtaugh said. “He was all about hard work and determination, and I never would have made it to college without him.”

Murtaugh added that all of Bond’s players knew when it was time to quiet down in the locker room.

“When he straightened that tie and cleared his throat, that was enough,” he said. “We knew we’d better listen to what he had to say.”

Bond, who was inducted into the Nebraska High School Hall of Fame in 1998, had plenty to say in his years at Omaha North. Shortly after arriving there, he coached four sports – football, basketball, baseball and track.

“He got paid $50 per sport,” said his son, Mike. “Coaching was something he really enjoyed.”

He coached the Vikings’ freshman and junior varsity football teams for 11 years before guiding the varsity from 1959 to 1974. His teams won or shared Metro Conference American Division titles four times and went undefeated twice.

Bond coached North’s famed Four Norsemen – Bob Churchich, Rick Davis, Danny Miller and Rookie Taylor. Those four, who played together in 1962, made up what’s still considered to be one of the best high school backfields in the state.

Bond’s son, Tim, was a Metro Conference head football coach for 25 years. He stepped down last season after 20 years at Omaha Bryan and is now an assistant at Millard South.

In addition to raising six children, Bond and his wife, Bette, also cared for foster children for several years.

“He instilled in all of us a sense of right and wrong,” said Mike Bond. “It’s something that was always very important to him.”

Shelly Block Tvrdy – Gothenburg

Athlete.  Shelly (Block) Tvrdy was a standout in track, cross country and basketball at Gothenburg High School where she holds school records in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs. In cross country, Block placed in the top three in every meet her sophomore, junior and senior years, except for the state meet her sophomore year. In basketball, she was a member of the 1983 Class B Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal Star All-State basketball teams, as well as the 1983 Super State and All-State Tourney teams. As a junior she was the leading scorer in the state, averaging 24 points per game, and Gothenburg was the state runner-up her senior season. In track, Block won 15 state meet medals – four as a freshman, three as a sophomore, and four in her junior and senior years. Block attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she was a two-year starter on the basketball team.