Rick Hesse-Clearwater/Valentine

Rick Hesse put Clearwater on the map. Called a “true mentor” who taught life lessons along with basketball, Hesse built a dynasty that became the first school to win four consecutive boys’ basketball state championships from 1984-87. After 22 years at Clearwater, Hesse moved on to Valentine where he wrapped up his career with 440 wins and 12 state tournament appearances. Noted for rewarding positive actions with a wink or a smile and not raising his voice while correcting his players, he also coached Clearwater’s volleyball team for 10 years, leading the Cardinals to its first state tournament appearance.








Title IX and Pat Hoblyn arrived at Ansley High School at the same time, and they had an immediate impact. In her first year as the school’s volleyball coach, she led the Warriors to a 19-0 record and a state championship. She continued to coach the team for more than 40 years. At the time of her induction, she had celebrated five state championships, one runner-up finish and had compiled 681 victories and a .748 winning percentage. Her teams won 25 Loup Valley Conference titles and a total of 37 tournaments. In addition to coaching volleyball, she was head basketball coach for two years and coached boys and girls track for 17 years, winning a total of 13 conference championships and two girls’ state runner-up trophies.




Few teams have ever enjoyed the dominance of Coach Brad Hildebrandt’s Skutt Catholic wrestling teams. During his tenure from 1993 to 2015, he led the SkyHawks to a total of 20 state wrestling championships – 17 team titles and three dual championships. The run included 13 straight Class B titles from 1998-2010. After a runner-up finish in 2011, the SkyHawks embarked on another string of state titles that carried on beyond his retirement. An Omaha firefighter whose passion was coaching wrestling, Hildebrandt strived to use wrestling to prepare for life. His teams produced 63 individual champions, six high school All-Americans, 101 state medalists and 154 state qualifiers.

Tom Hallstrom – Omaha

2010Contributor.  Tom Hallstrom’s passion for track and field didn’t go unnoticed. “If a Heisman Trophy was awarded for contributions to track and field, Tom Hallstrom would certainly be this year’s winner,” President Richard Nixon said while honoring Hallstrom in 1972. A physical education teacher and administrator in Omaha Public Schools for 40 years, he coordinated the physical education program for OPS from 1966 to his retirement in 1988. Hallstrom directed the state high school track meet from 1973 to 1979. He was a national chairman for the AAU’s Junior Olympics in Track and Field and organized the first major AAU meets in the state. A major factor in the implementation of boys and girls gymnastics in Nebraska high schools, he was a founder of the Nebraska Athletic Directors Association.

Bob Hohn – Beatrice

Athlete. This 1960 graduate of Beatrice High School earned all-state honors in football and basketball his junior and senior years plus winning four all-class gold medals in track and setting a state record in the 180 low hurdles. A member of the 1959 Class A state basketball championship team, he received further honors, being selected to the all-tourney team. His final high school honor was being selected as Athlete of the Year by both the Omaha World-Herald and the Lincoln Journal. He was chosen offensive player of the game in the 1960 Shrine Bowl after scoring three touchdowns for a total of 171 yards. He played football at UNL from 1962 to 1964 and was co-captain his senior year. Bob played on Bob Devaney’s first three bowl teams. He went on to play professional football and was starting left cornerback for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1965 to 1970.  In 2000, he was selected to Beatrice High School’s All Century Basketball Team.

Sunday May 12, 2002
Ex-player Bob Hohn fights ALS
By Michael Kelly , World-Herald Columnist

Bob Hohn remembers trying to tackle Jim Brown, the greatest running back of them all. His memory is helped by watching Jim Brown highlights on television – one as recently as two weeks ago.

Hohn, the 1960 Nebraska high school athlete of the year and a 1964 Husker football co-captain, played defensive back for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

On a first-and-10 play, he slammed into Brown two yards behind the line of scrimmage, hoping to throw him for a loss. When the play ended on the sideline, a dazed Hohn looked up and saw that he was two yards past one of the yard markers – and wondered how Brown could have dragged him four yards.

To his further surprise, he saw officials move the yard markers – it was a first down. Brown had gone more like 14 yards.

“It’s just embarrassing,” Hohn says all these years later, a hint of whimsy in his voice.

Through difficult days, Hohn tries to maintain a sense of humor. A guy who once was run over by a horse named Jim Brown is now fighting the disease that felled the “Iron Horse,” baseball great Lou Gehrig.

Hohn has ALS – amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – a motor neuron disorder known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

If it’s ironic that even great athletes aren’t immune from a disease that robs its victims of muscle control, Bob Hohn says it’s terrible no matter whom it strikes – athlete or not.

He says matter-of-factly, not in self-pity: “You just sit there and watch yourself go away.”

But he’s not a recluse. Every week at Brewsky’s in Lincoln, he meets with friends for “Mondays with Bob,” a takeoff on the book “Tuesdays with Morrie.”

The number attending has ranged from seven to 27. Hohn has many friends from his days as an athlete and a businessman.

Bobby Hohn of Beatrice High, where he won 11 varsity letters, had a storied athletic career. His low-hurdles record stood for 16 years. He was a three-time state gold medalist in track.

At Nebraska, his 53-yard interception return helped beat Kansas. He played five years in the National Football League.

He’s enjoyed a career as a mortgage banker. He and his wife, Sandy, have two grown children and three grandchildren.

The Hohns’ lives changed in May 1999, when he was diagnosed with ALS.

“The first symptoms were that my legs kind of tingled,” he said. “Then I started getting cramps, and grew weaker and weaker.”

Says Sandy: “The disease is horrible, much worse than anyone can imagine. I have seen my husband, a wonderful athlete and proud person, reduced to indignity and humiliation beyond description.”

On June 17, the ALS Association is sponsoring its first Bob Hohn Celebrity Golf Tournament as a fund-raiser for research. Hohn’s former Husker teammate Frank Solich and his wife, Pam, are co-chairmen.

Among those scheduled to attend the event at Quarry Oaks, near Mahoney State Park, are Tom Osborne, Eric Crouch, Scott Frost and Tommie Frazier. Openings are still available at (402) 991-8788.

Bob Hohn says he never questioned why he was blessed with athletic ability, and he’s never questioned why he was stricken with ALS. He says he thinks a cure will come some day.

His body weakened, he is using his strength of character and mind to tackle a deadly disease.

Barb Harris Bruce – Lincoln High

2010Athlete.  Class of 1977.  Barb Harris ruled the pool in her high school years, never losing a race. She completed her high school career with six individual state meet gold medals. A school rule barred her from competition as a freshman, but she made up for it as an upperclassman with dominating performances, including a national record in the 100 freestyle in 1976 in the first state meet held at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. As a senior, she set state records in the 200 freestyle and 100 butterfly. She went on to win an NCAA championship in the 50-meter butterfly while swimming for the University of North Carolina, where she earned All-American honors numerous times, qualified for two Olympic Trials, won a gold medal at the World University Games and anchored an American record-setting medley relay.



Jim Hartung – Omaha South

Athlete–Disciplined muscle strength is the essence of the difficult sport of gymnastics. Jim Hartung had it, really had it, perhaps like no other Nebraskan ever and few in the world during his athletic prime.  He completed his high school gymnastics career with 18 individual event championships and won the Nebraska School Activities Association all-around state championship from 1975 to 1977.  Omaha South won the state gymnastics championship each season Hartung competed.  At the University of Nebraska, he became only the second person in NCAA men’s gymnastics history to win seven individual titles in a career, including all-around NCAA champion in 1980 and 1981.  He was a record-setting 22-time NCAA All-American.  Nebraska also won team NCAA titles during the Hartung era. He achieved a boyhood dream and earned spots on the 1980 and 1984 United States Olympic teams, the latter winning the Gold Medal.

A Jim Hartung quote:

There have been a lot of highlights, but when I was twelve years old I watched the Olympics and I remember saying to myself, that looks pretty cool, I think I might like to do that. I decided that that was what I was going to do, and from the time I was about 14 or 15 I thought about the Olympics every day of my life.  Those other things, getting married and having kids, they weren’t lifelong goals, I guess I just figured down the road it was something I was going to do, but making the Olympics was something that motivated me every day of my life for a lot of years and I can’t think of anything else that’s made me feel anything like that.

From Omaha Sports Hall of Fame:

There are definitions that define athletes, however mere description does not begin to illustrate the impact Jim Hartung has on Nebraska gymnastics or the way in which his name has become synonymous with the sport in the state.  A standout from the time he entered Omaha South High School, Hartung would go on to become one of the greatest high school gymnasts ever, winning eighteen career individual championships, including three All-Around championships, while leading South High to state championship four straight years.

Upon entering the University of Nebraska in 1979, Hartung did not skip a beat, continuing to lead teams to championships and establishing himself as the best collegiate gymnast in the country.   Hartung led Nebraska to four straight national championships, during which time he was a twenty-two –time All-American, and won the NCAA All-Around titles in 1980 and 1981.  Titles in the Still Rings from 1980-82 and the Parallel Bars in 1981 and 1982 solidified Hartung’s status as the greatest gymnast in the history of the Cornhuskers.

After the 1980 season, Hartung was chosen to represent the United States in the Olympic Games; it was his performance on the 1984 squad, though, that made Hartung an international legend.  For the first time in Olympic history, the United States won a gold medal in gymnastics, with Hartung competing in the All-Around and placing ninth.  Hartung was also a member of three World Championship Teams for the United States, finishing his career with an amazing thirteen championship team titles.

Jim Hartung still holds the University of Nebraska records in the All-Around, Still Rings and the Pommel Horse, was the first Husker to win the Nissen-Emery Award for the nation’s best gymnast  and was elected to the Nebraska Sports High School Hall of Fame in 1993 and the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1997.  He currently is an assistant coach for the University of Nebraska and a gymnastics judge.

Other honors:

  • 1984 – Member of the United States Gold Medal Winning Gymnastics Team
  • 1980 and 1984 – Member of the United States Gymnastics Team
  • 1979-1984 – Member of Four National Championship Teams at Nebraska
  • 22-time NCAA All-American
  • 1980 and 1981 – NCAA All-Around Champion
  • 1980,1981 and 1982 – NCAA Still Rings Champion
  • 1981 and 1982 – NCAA Parallel Bars Champion
  • 1982 – Nebraska’s First Nissen-Emery Award Winner
  • 1994 – Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame Inductee
  • 1997 – USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame Inductee

Harold ‘Swede’ Hawkins – Oakland

Coach. Swede coached golf for a total of 23 years at Oakland-Craig and more than half of that time he had state championship teams. He picked up a total of 13 state trophies with 11 in a row in Class C. That feat established not only a state record but set a national record as well. The trophy cases had to be bulging because this did not take into account the numerous district and conference titles his teams picked up during this time.

His personal honors include being named Region 6 National Coach of the Year in 1987 and 1991 plus Nebraska Coaches Association Golf Coach of the Year in 1986,1987, and 1989. The Nebraska School Activities Association awarded him a service award for golf in 1990 and the Distinguished Service Award in 1994. His winning record was recognized by the Hall of Fame as one the Great Moments in High School Sports.


Ted Harvey – Lexington

2010Athlete. Class of 1974.  When the Lexington Minutemen made a run at state championships, they put the ball in Ted Harvey’s hands. A 5-foot-9, 140-pound leader, Harvey played quarterback and running back on Lexington’s state championship football teams of 1972 and 1973. He started for three years at point guard, leading Lexington to a runner-up finish in 1974, when it lost by one point in the state championship game. And, as a sprinter in track, he ran on two gold-medal relay teams as Lexington won the Class B team title. All-state in football in 1973 and all-state tournament in basketball, he started at cornerback for three years for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Bill Holliday – Wilsonville

Athlete–In 1960 at Wilsonville High School, this lanky high school athlete completed the highest scoring record in Nebraska high school history in the sport of basketball. He scored a total of 2,748 points and was picked as an all-state player three years running. He was all-state for three straight years. He was the state’s leading scorer in 1959 (890).  He averaged 27.9 points per game his senior year, 31.8 as a junior, 33.4 as a sophomore.  Wilsonville played in two state tournaments in his time. His enthusiasm for and talent in athletics continued thereafter, leading Aurora High School to the 1976 State Championship as their basketball coach. He also mastered volleyball officiating, becoming the best in the state for a period of time and was chosen many times to work the state tournament.