Omaha Central (Class of 1987)
One of a string of standouts who gave Omaha Central the nickname, “I-Back High,” Flowers earned Parade All-American honors and was one of eight finalists for Gatorade National Player of the Year as a senior. A two-time all-state running back, he rushed for 1,800 yards as a junior and 1,200 yards and 19 touchdowns in seven games his senior year. His six touchdowns in a game set a Class A record. Also a member of Central’s gold-medal-winning 400-meter relay, Flowers used his athletic skills to rush for more than 1,600 yards in his 3-year career at Nebraska, putting together a string of six 100-yard games in 1990.
Coach. In 1967, the then new Lincoln East High School was fortunate to acquire for the faculty and its first basketball coach, one Paul Forch. Already a successful coach at McCook, his career produced a coaching record of 450-215. As an advocate of up-tempo offenses, he and Lincoln East basketball thrived for nearly three decades. East High Spartans qualified for the boys state tournament thirteen times, to the state finals six times, and in both 1971 and 1985 East High was the Nebraska boys state basketball champion. His impact on the basketball fortunes of Lincoln East and his influence in a faster-paced game shall be long remembered.
Athlete. For years, he was regarded the best athlete in the history of his high school, David City. This big bruiser excelled at everything he tried. He starred in the 1951 football state tournament when his David City teammates played the underdog role to a maximum and won the championship, by 60-55 over Wayne in the finals. At that time, the points scored by both teams in that game were the most in one game at the state tournament. Fyfe was chosen Class B basketball all-tournament in a three-game run that also included a two-overtime win in the semifinals. Doyle starred in track, too, reigning one year as state champion in the shot put. At Kearney State, his athlete prowess flourished and he chose to go into coaching, namely Hebron (state tournament runner-up 1956) and Pueblo, Colorado (state class AAA runner-up three consecutive years). He returned to UNK for 26 years. He was the first athlete selected for the UNK Hall of Fame.
Athlete. Mike Fultz, the 1973 Lincoln Journal Star Athlete of the Year, received eight letters in football, basketball and track at Lincoln High. In football, he played defensive tackle, running back and linebacker, earning all-class all-state honors in 1972 and playing in the Shrine Bowl in 1973. He won the 1973 gold medal in the shot put at the state meet with a throw of 58 feet, 8 ¼ inches. Fultz went on to earn three letters for the Nebraska Cornhusker football team. He received All-Big Eight honors in 1974 and 1975 and All-American honors in 1976. He played in the Senior Bowl in 1976 as a defensive tackle. The New Orleans Saints drafted Fultz in the second round of the 1977 NFL draft. He played for the Saints from 1977 to 1980, then with the Baltimore Colts in 1981. Fultz has also been inducted into the Lincoln High Athletic Hall of Fame and the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame.
Contributor. His 36 years as a sportswriter and sports editor at the Norfolk Daily News from 1961-1997 touched the lives of a couple of generations of high school athletes, their coaches and their fans. His coverage of all sports, particularly during the transition period of girls in sports, included ratings, rankings, charts, headlines, special sections for small schools as well as the larger ones in the coverage area. His well-chosen words touched all sports as the following honors show: NSAA Distinguished Service Award, Coaches Association Friend of High School Sports, Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame, Northeast Nebraska track and field achievement award, American Legion Post 16 baseball award, Norfolk Coaches Association Outstanding Service Award, Golden Gloves Boxing Outstanding Journalism Award and the Associated Press Sportswriter of the Year award. High School: Sioux Falls (SD) Washington. College: University of South Dakota, Augustana College.
Athlete. Class of 1994. Sarah (Fredstrom) Secrest hit a home run in high school athletics. A four-time state champion in doubles in tennis and an all-state basketball player, the 1994 Omaha World-Herald Female Athlete of the Year was a big hit in softball. Even though it was not a sanctioned sport until her senior year, Fredstrom had established herself as a standout at the club level. As a senior, she hit seven home runs, seven triples and seven doubles while batting .592. She was named the honorary captain of the all-state team. At Colorado State University, she set almost every hitting record as a four-year starter at shortstop. The Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year in 1994 and an All-American in 1997, she was an all-conference selection three times and finished her career batting .367 with 32 home runs, 15 triples, 51 doubles and 183 RBIs.
Lauded for building character and producing teams that played beyond their potential and rose to high levels of competition, John Faiman made his mark on countless athletes through a 48-year career that included 38 years as a head football coach at David City (4 years), McCook (2), Omaha South (6) and Bellevue West (26). His career also included 10 years as a college assistant coach at Washington State, Missouri, Utah and Kansas State. His Omaha South team claimed a Metro Conference title and he led Bellevue West to an undefeated (9-0) regular season. At Bellevue West, his teams qualified for the playoffs in nine of 10 years, and in 2011, at age 70, he was believed to be the oldest head coach to take a team to the playoffs. A high school All-American quarterback, he started for the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Coach Bob Devaney’s first game as head coach, but a broken leg in practice ended his playing career.
Because Gerald was one of the most recognized athletes of his era, people came to games just to watch him play. An “every-sport standout,” Gerald W. Ferguson led Scottsbluff High School to an undefeated season and the mythical state football title in 1945. All-State in football for two years and All Big Ten in basketball twice, he also won the Class A long jump and placed in the shot put at the state track meet. At Nebraska he was a three-year football letterman playing halfback. He coached high school sports at Fairbury and in California until retiring in 1988.
Coach/Athlete. This well-known member of the famous Nebraska Fischer family of athletes was a fine athlete himself, reaching all-state status as a halfback in 1942 in six-man football for St. Edward High School. Also a member of the Cornhusker teams of the 1940s, he played professional football for the New York Giants in 1949. As a high school coach he did well at Columbus St. Bonaventure, but reached the top when coaching the Omaha South High School Packers of 1958 to an undefeated season on the gridiron with one tie with the state co-champion. Most auspicious was his coaching at the college level, a 26-year coaching career on Nebraska’s staff, building the offensive line for the 1970-71 national championship teams.
Kelly Flynn built a girls basketball dynasty at South Sioux City, ruling Class B for more than a decade, winning 11 state championships – 10 in the 11 years from 1995 to 2005. The Cardinals finished second in 1999. Flynn coached at South Sioux City for 27 years, piling up 508 career wins and 17 state tournament appearances. The Cardinals were nationally ranked for eight years, earning a No. 1 ranking in USA Today in 2001. Flynn was named national Coach of the Year in 2012 and was a national Coach of the Year runner-up in 2003. He coached in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-American Game in 2003 in Atlanta and the McDonald’s All-American Game in 2005 in Indiana.