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.

Johnny Hopp – Hastings

Athlete.  A 1934 graduate of Hastings High School, this legendary professional baseball player began his climb to the majors on the playgrounds of Adams County, Nebraska. He was such a standout in baseball (and motivated to be better) that his talents in other sports were not adequately documented. Signing a pro baseball contract at age 19, Hopp started with the St. Louis Cardinals, played fourteen years in the major leagues and had a lifetime batting average of .296. Known as a great clutch player, his best year was 1950 when he batted .339. He played on four World Series championship teams.

John (Cotney) Hopp was a vibrant player with an enthusiasm for the game that when combined with his talent propelled him into the graces of major league coaches. Born and raised in Hastings, Nebraska, Johnny was the leader of many sandlot baseball games as a kid. At age 19, he was signed by a Yankee farm team in Norfolk, NE John tells the story of his debut in which his excitement and awe of his new adventure caught him off gaurd. Having struck out three times his first game, his farther in a visit with the manager said, “well I guess we’ll have to take the kid home.” The manager put his mind at ease telling him, “John has a good swing and good speed,” and assured Mr. Hopp that with a little batting practice Johnny would be okay and that he was!

Although the Norfolk team didn’t win the league, Johnny’s performance was good enough to give him a chance at AAA ball the next year. The jump from the Nebraska State League to AAA was the biggest challenge according to Johnny in a February 2000 interview.

In 1939 Hopp was picked up by the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1941 he was voted the Most Popular Player in the League.

In 1942 he won his first World Series, defeating the Yankees for the title. 1943 saw the Cards and the Yankees meeting again, but this time the Yanks won by the same margin the were defeated by the year before, 4 games to 1. In 1944 two St. Louis teams met in the series and again Johnny picked up another ring defeating the Browns 4 games to 2.

Near the end of the 1950 season Hopp was traded to the Yankees and his first at bat, Hopp ripped a 3 run homer. Upon reaching the dugout, Jolt’n Joe DiMaggio turned to him and said, “nice start kid.”

That year with the Yankees Hopp won his third World Series ring and his fourth the following year.

His career ended abruptly when he blew a hamstring while playing for the Detroit Tigers, an injury he would not recover from.

John finished his career coaching before returning to work in Hastings. John was an avid hunter and recalled many a pheasant hunting trip into the hills of Cotesfield, north of St. Paul, NE


Year Club League Pos G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB Avg

1936Norfolk NebSt OF 107 446 134 161 24 16 26 79 36 .361

1937 Rochester I.L. OF 141 527 87 162 28 14 9 69 33 .307
1938 Rochester T.L. OF 124 371 73 111 21 10 9 48 16 .299
1939 Houston N.L. 1B 133 497 76 155 28 15 3 59 25 .312

1939 St. Louis N.L. PH-1B 6 4 1 2 1 0 0 2 0 .500
1940 St. Louis N.L. Ph-1B 80 152 24 41 7 4 1 14 3 .270
1941 St. Louis N.L. 1B-OF 134 445 83 135 25 11 4 50 15 .303
1942 St. Louis N.L. 1B-OF 95 314 41 81 16 7 3 37 14 .258
1943 St. Louis N.L. 1B-OF 91 241 33 54 10 2 2 25 0 .224
1944 St. Louis N.L. 1B 139 527 106 177 35 9 11 72 15 .336
1945 St. Louis N.L. 1B-OF 124 446 68 129 22 8 3 44 14 .289
1946 Boston N.L. 1B-OF 129 445 71 148 23 8 3 48 21 .333
1947 Boston N.L. 1B-OF 134 430 74 124 20 2 2 32 13 .288
1948 Pittsburgh N.L. 1B-OF 120 392 64 109 15 12 1 31 5 .278
1949 Pittsburgh N.L. 1B-OF 20 55 0 12 3 1 0 3 0 .218
Brooklyn N.L. 1B-OF 8 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Pittsburgh N.L. 1B-OF 85 316 50 106 11 4 5 36 9 .393
1950 Pittsburgh N.L. 1B-OF 106 318 51 108 24 5 8 47 7 .340
New York A.L. 1B-OF 19 27 9 9 2 1 1 8 0 .333
1951 New York A.L 1B 46 63 10 13 1 0 2 4 2 .317
1952 New York A.L. OF-1B 15 25 4 4 0 0 0 2 0 .160
Detroit A.L. OF-1B 42 46 5 10 1 0 0 3 0 .214
Totals     1898 6101 1064 1854 317 129 92 713 228 .296
World Series
1942 St. Louis N.L. 1B 5 17 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 .176
1943 St. Louis N.L. OF 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
1944 St. Louis N.L. OF 6 27 2 5 0 0 0 0 0 .185
1950 New York A.L. 1B 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .00
1951 New York A.L.   1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 —-
All- Star Game
1946 Boston N.L.

Ed Husmann – Ogallala

Athlete.Ed Husmann’s road to a professional football career began at Ogallala High School. Where he earned all-conference and all-state honors in 1948. He also lettered in basketball and track at Ogallala High School before moving to the University of Nebraska where he was a star on the Cornhusker football and wrestling teams. In football, he lettered in 1950, ’51 and ’52. He was the captain of the Husker football team and named the most valuable defensive lineman in 1952. He also played in the East-West Shrine Game. On the wrestling mat, he was the 1953 Big Seven heavyweight champion and finished third at the national meet. He went on to play professional football for the Chicago Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys and Houston Oilers, playing on the Oilers’ AFL championship team of 1961. A three-time Pro Bowl selection, he set the Oilers’ single game sack record of four in 1961. Lives in Conroe, TX.

Dennis Harrison – Ralston



Dennis Harrison competed at the top of a very elite group of gymnasts, winning two state high school all-around championships and a total of nine state gold medals. For the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Harrison was an 11-time All-American and the 1994 NCAA all-around champion. A five-time Big Eight champion, Harrison and the Huskers qualified for the NCAAs all four seasons, earning runner-up finishes in 1992 and 1993 before winning the national title in 1994. He set the Husker record in the floor exercise (9.90) and his career-best all-around score of 58.50 ranked second. He competed for the U.S. National Team 10 times, winning the all-around bronze medal at the 1993 World University Games.




Jack Hallstrom – Avoca

Athlete. During the last years of World War II, a young man at Avoca High School in Cass County was stirring up sportswriters and basketball fans with his high-scoring basketball talents. This was Jack Hallstrom, a 1946 graduate, who had a remarkable record during high school of 1,840 points scored on the hardwood. All-state from his sophomore year onward (1944-45-46), he led the Avoca Cardinals to the state tournament with good success such as 27-1 in 1944 and 30-3 in 1946. After an excellent college career at Peru College, he became an outstanding educator in Douglas County, Nebraska, and is remembered as a founder of the Omaha Metropolitan Conference Holiday Basketball Tournament. Also instrumental in the development of the Nebraska High School Hall of Fame.


Steve Hokuf – Crete

Athlete. An all-around athlete who stood out in football, basketball and track through high school and college, Hokuf was called “The greatest all-around Cornhusker of them all,” by Omaha World-Herald sports editor Frederick Ware. In high school, Hokuf was a two-time all-state selection in basketball and as an end in football. He also won the 1928 high school state pentathlon. At the University of Nebraska, he earned nine letters He was All-Big Six in football in 1929, 1930 and 1932 and was All-Big Six in basketball in 1931 and 1933. He earned All-American honors in 1933. He was the Big Six javelin champion in 1933. He played three years of professional baseball for the Boston Redskins and tried his hand at minor league baseball. He was an assistant football coach at Wyoming, Columbia and Pittsburgh universities before becoming head coach at Lafayette College and Baltimore Junior College. He has been inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Basketball Hall of Fame and the Maryland Football Hall of Fame. Deceased.

Cedric Hunter – Omaha South


Cedric Hunter dribbled through one of the greatest eras of basketball in Nebraska High School history. The Omaha South guard who lettered in all four years, averaged more than 23 points per game as a junior and then scored 27.3 points per game as a senior and was selected the captain of the Omaha World-Herald’s All-Nebraska squad. He went on to play at Kansas, starting eight games as a freshman and 107 in his four-year career. He finished with 1,022 points for the Jayhawks and set the school’s single-season record for assists. He went on to play for the Charlotte Hornets for three years before a long career in the CBA/WBL where he set career records for assists and steals.


Dave Hoppen – Omaha Benson

HOF inducteeAthlete. This 1982 graduate of Omaha Benson High School ranks near the top of any all-time list of great Nebraska high school basketball players. He led the Benson Bunnies to the state tournament twice, to a state runner-up his senior year. He amassed over 1,200 high school points, understandable in view of his accuracy. Averaged 23.9 in 1982 in his senior year, a figure helped by 64.5 field goal shooting accuracy. Surpassed 1200 points in his career. Top game: 42 points.  Member of first Nebraska all-star team that competed in Las Vegas during the summer. All-state twice. Had a strong career at the University of Nebraska (all Big-Eight). His career record at NU was an incredible 2,167 points. An unfortunate injury limited and shortened a professional basketball career.