JIM BARKER – Coach

Coach
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.

TERRANCE BADGETT – Omaha South

 

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.

Roy Bassett – Hastings

2009

Coach. Roy Bassett earned the title of “Coach.” For 40 years, he coached high school athletics at Nelson and Hastings High Schools. From 1932 to 1937, he coached football, basketball and track at Nelson, a coaching load he would take on for a few years at Hastings High School. He was the head football coach at Hastings from 1944 to 1953, the head basketball coach in 1944 and from 1947 to 1952, and the head track coach from 1944 to 1972. His basketball team of 1949 was the state runner-up. In track, he coached 16 gold medalists and the Tigers brought home the runner-up trophy from the state meet in 1963 and 1971. He added another coaching title in 1956 when Hastings added cross country. He continued to coach that team until 1972.His Tigers were considered the best team in the state in 1958 and 1959. A standout athlete at Hastings High, he was the all-state basketball center in 1927, leading the Tigers to a school-record 17 straight victories.

 

Bill Brown – Omaha

Athlete.  Perhaps no Nebraska high school athlete dominated a sport the way Bill Brown dominated tennis.  A 1963 Omaha Creighton Prep graduate, Brown was undefeated in his high school career, winning the city and state singles championships four consecutive years from 1960 to 1963.  In 1960, Brown was ranked as the #7 player in the nation in boys’ singles.  He won the National Junior Indoor Doubles championships in 1962 and 1963 and was awarded the Bill Talbert Sportsmanship Award at the National Junior Championships in 1963.  Following his spectacular prep career, Brown accepted a tennis scholarship to Notre Dame, where he became the team captain and #1 singles player, and won All-American honors in 1967.

Brown went on to successful career in professional tennis, competing against many of the superstars of that era, including Rod Laver, Stan Smith, Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, John Newcombe, and Ilie Nastase. He defeated Nastase in singles and was ranked 84th in the world in 1975. During his professional career, he won six international doubles titles, competed at Wimbledon six times, and played in four other Grand Slam tournaments.  Brown enjoys the particularly unique distinction of having been one of the participants in the longest set of singles at the time in the history of tennis – a 36-34 match in Kansas City in 1968.

 

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).

 

—————-

GRAND ISLAND INDEPENDENT PREP SPORTS

By Terry Douglass
terry.douglass@theindependent.com

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).

 

BY MIKE PATTERSON WORLD HERALD STAFF WRITER, 8/27/04  

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.

Bob Boozer – Omaha Tech

Athlete. Today in western Omaha is situated an interesting junction of history. The main line of the Union Pacific Railroad’s push west across America intersected Pacific Street. Years later another street crossed Pacific, Bob Boozer Drive, appropriately bearing the name of one of the finest basketball players in our nation’s history. Graduating from Omaha Technical High School in 1955 and an all-state caliber player at any early age, he starred at Kansas State and on into the professional ranks. The only Nebraska high school basketball player to ever achieve All-American status at the top college level, he then played for nearly a dozen years in professional basketball, averaging over twenty points a game in his best years. K-State honored him as the leading vote-getter on its 10-man Team of the Century. “We were No. 1 in the nation for part of my junior year. We made it to the Final Four. We were undefeated in the Big Eight,” he said. As one who believed in hard work and practice, he covets many well-deserved honors, especially the gold medal earned while a member of the 1960 American Olympic basketball team. Later, in his post-basketball life in hometown Omaha, he completed an Olympic torch run through Omaha by lighting a cauldron that was part of a downtown ceremony. “It was a great experience and brought back memories of 1960 in Rome,” he said. He was the first player picked in the 1959 NBA draft and played 11 years in the NBA with Chicago, Seattle, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, New York and Los Angeles  He was an NBA All-Star in 1968 and on an NBA basketball champion in 1971.

Boozer spent 27 years working at Northwestern Bell, which became U.S. West. The last 10 of those years were as a federal lobbyist. He retired in 1997 and soon after was selected to serve on the Nebraska Board of Parole.

Former Kansas State All-American Bob Boozer, of Omaha, Neb., a member of the United States’ 1960 gold medal basketball team at the Rome Olympics, held the Olympic torch on Thursday, Jan. 10, after lighting a cauldron in downtown Omaha to wrap up the flame’s visit to Nebraska.

Dan Brand – Bellevue

2010Athlete. Dan Brand’s path to the 1964 Olympic bronze medal in wrestling followed a round-about path. At Bellevue High School, he participated in football, basketball and track, achieving modest success. At the University of Nebraska, the 6-foot, 5-inch Brand played on the freshman basketball team but was cut from the varsity as a sophomore. He signed up for the intramural wrestling meet, winning the heavyweight division and beating the Huskers’ varsity heavyweight. On the varsity, he went 3-15 as a sophomore, improved to a .500 wrestler as a junior and earned All-American honors by finishing fourth at the NCAA meet his senior year. In 1960, he placed second in the AAU freestyle championships and fifth at the Rome Olympics. From 1961-64, he won four national AAU freestyle championships, one Greco-Roman championship and placed third in the world championships in 1962 before finishing third in the Tokyo Olympics in 1964.