Lincoln High (Class of 1964)
The face of Lincoln’s Hillcrest Country Club as the resident teaching professional who stresses fundamentals and a respect for the game, Charles Borner, Jr., forged a very successful competitive golf career that included back-to-back Class A state championships in 1963 and 1964, a feat not matched for 49 years. The first junior golfer to win the Lincoln city championship for adults, Borner led Lincoln High to the state team championship in 1964 and went on to letter three years at Nebraska. He qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championships three times and played in the U.S. Senior Open. In the Western Amateur in Wichita, KS, in 1970, Borner lost in the final to future PGA Champion LannyWadkins and, on the way to the final, defeated Paul Purtzer, Tom Watson and John Mahaffey. His early teaching experience included seven years as coach at North Platte High School.
Coach–In his very first year as a head high school basketball coach in Nebraska, this legendary gentleman led the Lincoln Northeast boys rocketing to a Class A state championship by winning his first state tournament. For nearly forty years he would often repeat this performance, winning seven state titles in boys basketball and nearly 500 games in a career, second to none in the field. Observers were often mystified at his success which consisted of superb skill in inspiring the very best from his secondary school athletes, He had a knack of taking his talent (sometimes tall, sometimes small compared with other teams, sometimes quick and other times not so fast) and using the basics of the sport to mold winners year after year. Teamwork and defense were the trademarks of his teams.
Athlete. An NCAA cross country champion, Charles “Deacon” Jones set the American record in the steeplechase in 1957 and competed in the Olympics in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 1956 and 1960. However, his first rewriting of the record books came while representing Boys Town where he set a national high school record in an AAU meet in St. Louis, Mo. Jones was the Nebraska high school Class A champion in the mile run and anchored Boys Town’s champion mile relay team. He played outfield on Boys Town’s baseball team, halfback on the football team and point guard on the basketball team. He earned all-state honors in football and basketball as a senior and helped Boys Town win the Class A state basketball championship his senior year. He went on to compete in track and cross country at the University of Iowa. Lives in Chicago.
Athlete–A 1974 graduate of Garden County High School located in Oshkosh, this pioneering athlete was one of the first well-known girls high school track & field champions during the resurgent years for girls sports in Nebraska during the 1970s. In 1973 she led her high school to a grand championship in girls track. Winning 10 individual champion medals in state track meet competition, she set state records in three sprint races. Her time of 24.9 in the 200-meter dash in 1974 stood for fourteen years as a Class C state meet record. She won 10 gold medals in individual state track meet competition. She led Oshkosh to the grand championship team title in track in 1973. National record-holder in 50-yard dash. Her youth running in the Junior Olympics programs produced records in sprint events at each and every age group in which she competed.
Contributor. Rex Jones retired in 2002 after a 50-year career in Nebraska athletics that saw him rise from the playing fields to the board room. Jones played quarterback on an undefeated Chadron High School football team of 1954, played for an undefeated Chadron State football team in 1958 and coached an undefeated Rushville football team in 1966 before embarking on a 27-year career as an Associate Director of the Nebraska School Activities Association. A rules maven, he served on the national football rules committee for 25 years, the national wrestling rules committee for 12 years and the national track rules committee for four years, frequently serving as a presenter at national rules interpreters meetings.
Athlete. This 1968 graduate of Schuyler High School received well-deserved plaudits from Nebraska newspapers as one of the best high school basketball players ever in this part of the country. In 1968, the year of the Class B state championship title for the tall green and white lads, Chuck Jura averaged 30 points per game in scoring. They were state runners-up a year earlier. Later at the University of Nebraska, Chuck Jura managed to record an average of 20 points a game one of his years, a rare and difficult feat in that tough conference. Following college he played professional basketball in Europe, but high school fans will not forget the years when Chuck Jura made the “Jolly Green Giants” of Schuyler High truly a happy crew to observe. He scored 1431 career points and built a reputation as one of the state’s best high school basketball products. His feats lasted for years and year in the state tournament record book for the most points in a tournament (Class B, 1968), 109, and the most field goals in one game (B, 1968), 20. His 201 career state tournament points was still in the top 10 in 2006. After a strong college career at Nebraska, Jura was chosen in the third round of the NBA 1972 draft by the Chicago Bulls. Ultimately, he played pro basketball in Europe. He averaged 31 points a game for three-year-period in Italy.
Class of 1994
Jodi (Janssen) Harper established the standard in Nebraska high school diving, becoming the first to sweep the gold medals all four years at the state swimming and diving meet. She set the state record in 1994, breaking the previous mark by 20 points. That record still stood at the time of her Hall of Fame induction. She was named a high school All-American by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association of America. She competed for four years at Texas A&M, setting school records in the platform, 1-meter springboard and 3-meter springboard competitions and qualifying for the NCAA national championships in all three events her senior season.
Coach–It is no accident that Cambridge High School has done well through the years in athletics, regardless of class. Always good coaching has been their fortune and this gentleman was no exception. A pharmacist by profession, in the early part of the 20th century he turned to high school coaching for which he definitely had the gift. Between 1915 and 1930 the Trojans of Cambridge High did well under his guidance in both football and track. Three times during the roaring twenties Coach Clint John led the orange and black clad athletes to state championships in boys track & field: 1925, 1926 and 1929, all in Class C. One could argue that Coach John was in a class all by himself.
Tom Jaworski kept the Creighton Prep football team in the upper echelon for nearly 40 years. He retired in 2010 as the all-time leader in football coaching victories in Nebraska. His 39-year career resulted in 343 victories against only 92 defeats. His Junior Jays won nine state championships, including five straight from 1985 to 1989, made 16 straight playoff appearances, reached the finals 15 times. Not one of his teams had a losing record. His work ethic, intensity, desire and enthusiasm helped kids reach their potential.
Coach. Bill James made a couple of Central Nebraska stops in his coaching career (Arapahoe and Loup City) before landing in Bellevue where he coached football for nearly four decades, a coach who won in one of the toughest competitive conferences. Head football coach at the original Bellevue High School (which became Bellevue East) from 1957 and 1995, he saw the changing patterns of top-notch football in Nebraska high schools and just kept on succeeding. The 1960s was a good example of his creative coaching, as the Bellevue High football team was almost always at the top. In 1965, Bellevue played Boys Town High for the re-aligned Metro Conference championship, with one pass in the last minute the only difference between both fine teams. His teams won 195 games at Bellevue and his lifetime coaching career number was 210.