TONY DAVIS – Tecumseh

Tecumseh (Class of 1971)
Tony Davis’ hard-nosed running style churned up yard after yard and touchdown after touchdown for the Tecumseh Indians. A four-year starter, Davis rushed for more than 5,000 yards, including 1,700 yards his junior and senior seasons. The leading tackler on defense, he also returned punts and kicks. He earned all-state and All-American honors in 1969 and 1970, averaging more than 10 yards per carry both years. He started in basketball and was a state qualifier in track as a hurdler. In college, he started at I-back and fullback for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, earning MVP honors in the Cotton Bowl in 1973 and Sugar Bowl in 1974. A fourth-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL, he left the Cornhuskers as their all-time leading rusher. He played six seasons in the NFL and one in the USFL.

Howard Debus – Lincoln High

Athlete. The 1940 graduate of Lincoln High School earned his way into a very elite club of Nebraska athletes who held a best-in-the-nation record while in high school. His 174-foot discus throw in 1940 was a national high school record which lasted through World War II. One of the most versatile athletes in state history, he was an all-state halfback for two years on a Lincoln High teams with a winning record of 23-1-1. At the 1940 boys state track meet, he won gold medals in the pole vault, discus, shot  put and the javelin. While a student at the University of Nebraska he won the discus event at the 1943 NCAA outdoor national track meet and in the NCAA national championships in 1943, he scored 19 points for the Huskers. Scores of boys grew up in Nebraska inspired by the accomplishments of this great athlete, who perhaps was Lincoln High’s best-ever athlete.




Mike Dugan – Creighton Prep

2011 InducteeClass of 1955
Magic Mike Dugan collected all the honors–All-Catholic All-American, Wigwam All-American and a two-time all-state quarterback–while leading the Junior Jays to back-to-back state titles and 20 straight football victories. An outstanding pitcher as well, he earned two all-city selections while carrying Prep to back-to-back inter-city championships. He also played forward on the basketball team where he was a three-year letterman. Prep was the Class A basketball runner-up in 1955.  After high school, he went to Notre Dame where his athletic career was plagued by injuries.

Chuck Deter – Gering

Coach. In the last half of the twentieth century, a talented coach who had a yearning for wrestling joined the faculty at Gering High School in Western Nebraska. Chuck Deter was a successful football coach, an athletic director and educator. Yet his specialty was being a superb wrestling coach, one of the best in the nation. Under his 30-year- leadership, the Gering Bulldogs won six state wrestling championships, including a Class A title in 1983. His boys were runners-up seven times, in the top five 20 times. His teams had a state record 96-match dual winning streak that ranks nationally. His teams won 96 tournament championships, also ranking on a national basis.

Deter compiled an amazing career dual record of 264-43-5 at Gering. At one point, the Bulldogs had an 11-year stretch in which they competed in 96 straight dual matches without a loss. It’s one of the longest streaks in the nation.

A number of Deter’s former wrestlers established the Deter Dynasty. The Annual Deter Dynasty Golf Tournament, which benefits the Gering Wrestling Club, is held during Oregon Trail Days at Monument Shadows Golf Course.


Matt Davison – Tecumseh

2013 InducteeAthlete, Class of 1997

Best known for his touchdown off a deflected pass against Missouri, a catch that saved Nebraska’s national championship season of 1997, Matt Davison honed his receiving skills at Tecumseh High School where he set numerous state records for receiving yards, including career (3,623), season (1,516) and single-game (313). He also set single-game and career-records for touchdown receptions, finishing with 51. All-state in basketball as well as football, Davison led Tecumseh to its first state championship. He scored a school-record 1,976 points in his career, 702 points in a season and 54-points in a single game on the hard court. He also qualified for the state track meet in three events.


3-30-13 Ryle Jane Hambleton, Lincoln Journal Star

Nebraska football fans remember Matt Davison for “The Catch.”

Davison dove to scoop up the ball when a pass from Scott Frost bounced off Shevin Wiggins’ foot in the end zone. The touchdown, in the closing seconds of the 1997 game at Missouri, tied the game and the Huskers went on to win.

But when Davison thinks about his high school sports career, football isn’t his first memory.

“I didn’t think I’d be playing football. During my freshman and sophomore years, people could have come to football games and barely know I played,” the Tecumseh graduate said. “My junior year, our quarterback, Danny Thies, could throw as well as anybody in the state. We threw the ball a little bit and I had a big season.

“Even then, Nebraska was the best team in nation and to get a scholarship offer was something I didn’t think would happen. I went to only one football camp in my life, at Nebraska, and Tom Osborne offered me a scholarship.”

Davison is one of 10 athletes, four coaches, one official and two contributors who will be inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame this fall. Davison was the Lincoln Journal Star athlete of the year in 1997 after earning Super-State honors in football and leading his basketball team to an undefeated season and the Class C-2 state title en route to all-state honors.

Davison said basketball was his passion, although he also ran track and played baseball.

“Basketball was my first love. I enjoyed playing it more than anything else. My football memories are more from college,” Davison said. “When I think about high school, I think about our state championship basketball season. Chris Hutt was such a good influence on me, and not just as a coach.”

Davison said high school sports provided some special times for him.

“I think about the hard work I learned being from a small town and growing up on a farm. I had parents who taught me work ethic and I was very lucky to have good coaching in a small community,” he said. “When I think about games, I think about my buddies, my friends. That’s what’s special about high school to me.

“We had big goals to win a state championship. Our football team only lost six games in four years. But in basketball, we did win state. Winning a state title with friends you’ve known your whole life is really special.”


Dick Davis – Omaha North

Athlete.  Of the many fine athletes to wear the blue and gold of the Omaha North High School Vikings, this 1966 graduate was a tremendously gifted football star. He averaged 10.4 yards per carry as a fleet-footed halfback and has held the Metropolitan Conference record for most touchdowns per game for nearly a half-century. In addition to his all-state status on the gridiron, he was a two-time state champion wrestler, and a track standout for the Vikings. World-Herald athlete of the year.  As a Nebraska Cornhusker football competitor, he was a leading rusher and an all-conference running back. Perhaps more impressive, he was also twice named as an Academic All-American. This most bright young man finally did well in professional football, playing for the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints.  Inducted in the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame.

Joe di Natale – North Platte

Contributor. Competitors and spectators alike came to the Nebraska High School Track and Field championships to see the action, but for 40 some years, they also reveled in the distinctive voice of the announcer, Joe di Natale of North Platte. His booming reports of the action added a special cachet to the atmosphere of the state meet. If someone ran the 100-yard dash in ten seconds flat, his feat would be reported by di Natale as being run in a time of “TEN SECONDS E-E-E-EVEN.” He was a pioneer broadcaster of Cornhusker football. Deservedly honored with many awards, he was inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Any athlete who ever competed at the state track meet during his era likely will never forget the most interesting announcements by Joe di Natale.


Karen Dahlgren Schonewise – Bertrand

Athlete.  From the heartland of America, this bright and successful high school and college athlete, three times an academic college All-American, graduated from Bertrand High School in Phelps County south of the Platte River in 1982. A four-year high school star in basketball, track and volleyball, she was all-state in both basketball and volleyball and the state champion in the l00-meter low hurdles in both 1981 and 1982. She was the all-class gold medal winner in the l00-meter lows in 1981. In volleyball, her knack for blocking the opponent’s slams created some unprecedented statistics, a trend which held true in college as she led the Nebraska volleyball team in blocks four consecutive years. In college, she was twice as All-American and the college player of the year in 1986. She completed her athletic career with success  in professional volleyball.

Karen Dahlgren played a key roll in Nebraska’s 1986 national runner-up finish. A two-time All-American, Dahlgren was honored as a Honda-Broderick Award winner in 1986 after being named to the GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-America team three straight years. She is also Nebraska’s only player to be named all-conference all four years. One of the best blockers in school history, Dahlgren holds school records for solo blocks in three- and four-game matches. She also holds the top two single-season solo block marks as well as NU’s career solo block record. She ranks third on the all-time total blocks chart with 550. The Bertrand native is also second in school history with a career hitting percentage of .386. She is the only player to lead the Huskers in a statistical category (blocks) all four years. She also led the team in hitting percentage for three years.

JoAnne Dusatko – Omaha Central

Coach. As a teacher coming to Omaha Central in 1967, her first assignment was cheerleader sponsor which she handled for 20 years,  plus organizing Central’s Pom-Pom Squad in 1968.  With the surge of girl’s sports in Nebraska, JoAnne was in line for a number of firsts:  Central High’s first girls golf coach (’71), first girls track coach (’71) and the first girls soccer coach (‘86).  Her track teams were State Meet Champions seven times ’74,’79, ’80, ’81, ’83, ’84, and ’85.  They were State Meet Runners Up five times ’75,’76, ’77, ’78, and ’82.  The track teams had an undefeated string of wins for six years until the 1982 State Meet. Her other honors include Nebraska Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 1984, three times Nebraska Coaches Association Girls Track Coach of the Year in 1979,1980 and 1981.  Her other involvements include Greater Omaha Sports Committee Scholar Athlete Committee from 1977 to 2001 serving as Chair Person the last ten years.  She also served the Cornhusker State Winter Games Committee for six years.   Greater Omaha Sports Committee Service to Sports Award in 2000.

James L. Decker – Omaha Holy Name

Athlete.  A 1952 graduate of Omaha Holy Name, James lettered four years on football teams that went 31-0-1.  The lone tie was against Creighton Prep.  He led the city in scoring for two years racking up 96 points in 1950 and 136 in  1951.  Among his football honors were all-class all-state in 1951, Class B football player of the year 1951 and outstanding back of the All-Catholic All-American High School Football team.  In basketball James was a starting guard for three Holy Name state tournament teams in 1950, ’51, and ’52.  With a 15 point per game average, James was selected to the 1952 all-class all-state basketball team.  He also played baseball for four years in pretty tough competition since Holy Name had to compete in Class A.  Jim racked up the stats playing at second base and shortstop which culminated in Holy Name winning the Class A state championship his senior year.  He accepted  a full ride to Santa Clara College in football and baseball.  When Santa Clara dropped football after his freshman season he moved on to UCLA where he was the starting wingback on on the co-national championship team.  His teammates voted him the Rookie of the Year as he led the country with 10.3 yards per carry.  He kicked the winning field goal in the last 17 seconds against Washington that put the Bruins in the 1956 Rose Bowl.  He was selected to the Pac 8 All-Conference team as a defensive back and was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams.  James passed up the Rams’ offer and signed with Edmonton of the Canadian League.  His pro career was cut short with a career-ending injury in a preseason game.  Football wasn’t his only sport for the Bruins. He lettered three years in baseball, being selected team captain and All-Pac 8 in 1956.