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. Larry was a four year letterman at Homer High School participating in football, basketball and track. He was his team’s leading rusher in football for two years and was selected to the all-state football team his senior year. Graduating in 1956, he attended Kearney State College where he lettered in football and track all four years. While playing football at Kearney he set records in rushing and was selected NAIA All-American. Larry began his teaching career as a traveling physical education teacher for the Omaha Public Schools. He later taught and coached at Monroe Junior High. During this time he also played for the Omaha Mustangs semipro football team. In 1968 he was assigned to Burke High to teach physical education and coach gymnastics and wrestling. In 1969 he became the head football coach for the Bulldogs and in his first year he produced Burke’s first winning season with a 6-3 record. His overall record at Burke was 167-83-2 over a span of 26 years, 20 of which were winning seasons including a Metro championship, two undefeated regular seasons and two state runner-up teams. Individual coaching and teaching honors include Shrine Bowl coach, Metro Coach of the Year, Burke High Teacher of the Year, and the 1991 Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award. Larry was inducted into the Kearney State Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1988. He also received the Johnny Appleseed Award from the Nebraska State Arboretum Society for his work in planting trees around Burke Stadium and the high school campus, honoring individuals who had contributed heavily to the Burke program. He also received the AK-SAR-BEN Service to Sports Award in 1995. Larry still acts as Head Field Judge at the state track meet, a job he has held for 30 years.
Coach. John Johnette, Omaha Burke’s first basketball coach, led the Bulldogs to state championships in 1977 and 1986. He compiled a 292-251 record in 25 years as Burke qualified for the state tournament 13 times. On the baseball diamond, Johnette coached from 1963 to 1970 and ended on a high note with a state championship in 1970. Johnette started at Omaha Benson, then moved to Omaha Beveridge before helping Burke get off the ground. He was one of the organizers of the Nebraska Coaches Association and in 1975 was selected as an assistant coach in the NCA All-Star Basketball Game. He was given the NCA’s Ed Johnson Award in 1981. In 1987, Johnette was awarded the Nebraska School Activities Association Outstanding Service Award in basketball.
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.