After two years as an assistant boys basketball coach at Elm Creek, Randy Carpenter started the girls basketball program at Lexington in 1974, creating an after-school program that would feed his varsity. The early success of his teams helped steer Nebraska into the modern era of girls basketball. Throughout his career, the passionate and colorful Carpenter earned a reputation for producing teams that played solid player-to-player defense and were well-prepared. In a coaching tenure that lasted 37 years, he led the Minutemaids to state championships in 1978 and 1987, two runner-up trophies in 1977 and 1991, 13 district championships and 12 Southwest Conference titles. He retired in 2011 with a 492-276 record. His last team set a school record with 23 victories.
Athlete. Mike Cielocha put up impressive numbers on the track, winning or sharing five all-class gold medals, while winning nine Class B gold medals and leading Columbus Scotus to the Class B team titles his junior and senior years. As a sophomore in 1977, Cielocha won the Class B 220- and 440-yard dashes with times of 23.6 and 48.9 seconds, respectively. He also placed second in the 100 and was on the runner-up 880-yard relay team. As a junior, he won the 220 (21.9) and 440 (49.8) and ran on the winning 880-yard relay team (1:32.3), while again finishing second in the 100. During his senior year, Cielocha won the 100 (10.2) , 220 (22.2) and 440 (48.7) and ran a leg on the winning 880-yard relay. He was three-year starter in football, making the Class B all-state team in 1978. He also played basketball and was the captain of the track team at the University of Nebraska.
Athlete. Wahoo High School Class of 1898. As a high school star, Crawford led Wahoo to two state football championships in 1896 and 1897 and was also noted for foot racing wherever he played. Crawford showed a prodigiousness for baseball at an early age and he left his home at 17 to play in the minor leagues, taking his hometown with him as a nickname, “Wahoo Sam” Crawford.
Crawford was considered by baseball experts to be the the premier power-hitter of his day and still holds baseball’s career record for triples with 312. In fact, he led the American League in triples 5 times. Sam played in the outfield with Hall of Fame legend Ty Cobb. He played with the Detroit Tigers for 15 of his 19 big league years during which Detroit won the pennant 3 years in a row. Sam became the first player in the modern era to win home run titles in both the NL and the AL. Named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1957. Died in 1968 in California.
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Coach. A graduate of North Loup High School, Ken Cook began coaching in 1959 at Trumbull, went to Douglas and landed in Adams for a career spanning six decades, most of which was spent at Adams then Freeman High School. In coaching football, he has a 260-94-3 career record that includes three state championships, four runners-up; 12 undefeated regular seasons, 12 state playoff teams and 14 conference championships. In basketball, he coached five girls state championships, three state runners-up and 16 state tournament appearances while posting a record of 550-123. When combined with his years of coaching boys basketball, he has a 656-210 record, amassing the most victories by any basketball coach in state of Nebraska. In track, he coached two state runners-up (88-89), four district championships and four district runners-up teams. He is a High school Coach of the Year winner, an inductee into the University of Nebraska at Kearney Athletic Hall of Fame, an all-star game head coach and twice a national coach of the year finalist. He helped form Eight-Man Football Association and started eight-man football all-state game. High School: North Loup. College: Kearney State.
Coach. Conrad “Cornie” Collin coached basketball at South High for 30 years. He won 400 games. He won basketball state championships in 1937, 1944 and 1960. He also was a football, track and baseball coach. His 1960 basketball team was 21-0 and the only unbeaten Class A team for a 29-year period. At one time he was the only public-school coach in Nebraska to have state-championship teams in football, basketball and baseball.
At Huron SD, he played sports and led the high school to two state basketball titles, was all-state four years in basketball and two years in football and also excelled in track and baseball.
Captained both the basketball and football teams at Creighton. In 1933, he was an All-America selection in basketball after leading the Missouri Valley Conference in scoring. In football, the halfback was all-conference twice and he was an outstanding punter as well. Played for the Chicago Bears in the first college all-star football game in 1934 (though he never played an NFL game). He also spent one year in the Detroit Tigers’ baseball organization. He officiated in the Big 8 and Big 10 for a dozen years in football and basketball.
Coach. Coleman’s McCook golf teams won seven Class B state championships and two runner-up trophies from 1990 to 2004. He also was an assistant football and assistant basketball coach, playing a part in two state championship football teams, two state runner-up football teams and a state runner-up basketball. He started coaching at Barneston where he was head football and head basketball coach for two years. He was the co-head basketball coach at McCook in 2004. He was a standout athlete at Aquinas.
Coach–Where Nebraska highway 91 meets the Cedar River in northeastern Greeley County is the home country of the Spalding Academy High School. One who dedicated his life for nearly a half century to the improvement of athletics here was Coach Ed Colleran, between 1933 and 1980. Doing double duty as both boys basketball and football coach, he doubled as a mailman-coach for several years and became a teacher when the state rules changed to require the head coaches to be on the staff. His football teams had a 169-84-8 record. This important member of the community compiled an enviable lifetime list of 648 wins in basketball and 169 victories in football. During the late 1960s, the green & white-clad Shamrocks of Spalding Academy were high on list of successful boys basketball teams in the state tournament, reaching the semifinals in Class D in 1967.
Coach. Carlson started the volleyball and track programs at North Platte, guiding the Bulldogs to the inaugural Class A state track championship in 1971. But it was in volleyball where she made her mark, compiling a 476-252 record from 1970-2003. Her teams won state championships in 1979 and 1980 and was runner-up in 1975. North Platte qualified for the state volleyball tournament 15 times and won 14 conference championships. She also coached tennis for 17 years.
Athlete–Just a farm boy from the village of Blue Springs in Gage County, high school statistics were rarely kept in his time but his prowess quickly was known statewide at Nebraska Wesleyan College, where he developed into a ferocious football player. He transferred to the University of Nebraska and his skills became legendary skills as an athlete became nationally noticed. One of the earlier Cornhuskers to be named an All-American, he played on the undefeated 8-0 team of 1915. A veteran of World War I, Guy Chamberlin then proceeded to play football for a variety of early professional football teams. He is now properly respected as a member of both the college and the professional football halls of fame.
Chamberlin was all-state in football in 1908, 1909 and 1910. He is in both the College Hall of Fame and the Pro Hall of Fame.
Chamberlin played professional football from 1919-1926 for such teams as the Canton, Ohio Bulldogs, Chicago Bears, and Philadelphia Yellow Jackets. During his football career, he played in about 160 games. In an 11-year period to time, his team lost only two games, and was undefeated in nine of these years. He was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1962. He played or coached for six pro championship teams in a seven-year period. George Halas called him the greatest two-way end of all time.
Athlete. Class of 1944. For two hours, Don “Moose” Cooper was the best pole vaulter in the history of college athletics. On April 21, 1951, Cooper cleared 15 feet, 1/8 inch at the Kansas Relays – the first collegian and fourth person ever to clear 15 feet. Later that day, Don Lax of Illinois went 15-1 ¾ in a meet at Los Angeles. Cooper had been an outstanding pole vaulter throughout his career, using bamboo and steel poles and landing in dirt and sawdust pits. He was a two-time Nebraska high school all-class gold medalist, a three-time winner at the Drake Relays. At York High School, he also lettered in football and basketball and was the starting guard on York’s state championship basketball team of 1944. He was named to the all-state tournament and all-state teams of 1944.