George O’Boyle – Lincoln Pius X

2009Coach. When George O’Boyle started coaching at Lincoln Pius X, he started a cross country program that became a dynasty. Under O’Boyle, the Thunderbolts won 10 boys state cross country championships and seven girls state track championships. The teams also earned five runner-up trophies. Born in Bronx, N.Y., O’Boyle came to the University of Nebraska on a track scholarship. He taught one year in Battle Creek, Mich., and one year at Hastings St. Cecilia before coming to Lincoln. A coach who was always open to new techniques and ideas to keep the sport fun, he was a volunteer coach in 1968 before getting a full-time coaching-and teaching job at Pius X, where he coached for 40 years. He also was a successful track and field coach, guiding Pius X girls to the state title in 1982 and the boys to the state championship in 1984. The Thunderbolts also claimed three runner-up trophies. He was the National Cross Country Coach of the Year 2000.

 

Rich Osentowski – Ord

2009Athlete. Class of 1965. In whatever sport he tried, Rich Osentowski succeeded. He was a three-year starter at quarterback on the Ord football team earning all-state honorable mention. He started at guard on Ord’s state tournament qualifying basketball team, earning all-state and all-state tournament honors. He won the Class B golf championship, leading Ord to the team title in that sport. He also joined the track team for one year. Baseball is where Osentowski advanced the farthest, playing in the Minnesota Twins organization after a record-setting career at Kearney State College. The quarterback on Kearney State’s undefeated football team of 1967, he also led the Lopers to the NAIA National baseball tournament, setting single-season records with a .475 batting average and nine triples.

 

 

Rich Olson – Millard South, Lincoln Northeast

inducteeCoach.

The first two chapters of Rich Olson’s coaching career in girls basketball included state championships at Millard South and Lincoln Northeast. In a 21-year stint at Millard South, he led his team to 15 state tournaments, including the championships in 1989, 1992 and 1996, as well as runner-up finishes in 1988 and 1993. He moved to Lincoln Northeast for the 2004-05 season and led the Rockets to an undefeated state championship. The Rockets were state runner-up the next year and qualified for the state touranment the following year. The loss in the state final in 2006 snapped a 48-game winning streak. At the time of his induction, he had ended his brief retirement, agreeing to take over the girls basketball program at Lincoln Lutheran, bringing to the post a 427-182 record.

Edward “Scotty” Orcutt – Omaha Benson

inducteeCoach.

A champion coach in three sports, Scotty Orcutt was the dean of Omaha baseball coaches before a fall led to his death in 1972. His baseball teams won three league tournament titles and won or shared five regular-season crowns, along with a state runner-up finish in 1966, as the Bunnies were 188-99-3 during his 28 years. While coaching American Legion baseball, he led his teams to state titles in 1959, 1962 and 1969. Orcutt’s coaching career began at Farnam High School in 1937. He moved to Underwood High School in Omaha in 1939, then to Omaha Benson in 1942. His basketball record was 179-153 over 19 seasons, with state finals appearances in 1951 and 1954 and a No. 1 final ranking from the Omaha World-Herald in 1961. He also coached Benson to the 1943 boys gymnastics state title.

Tom Osborne – Hastings

Athlete–For many years, members of the Extra-Point Club in Lincoln would hear these magic words from the master of ceremonies: “And now, ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce the winningest coach in the nation!“ Of course, the MC meant the legendary Tom Osborne, whose high school athletic exploits for Hastings High School (1955 graduate) highlight his Hall of Fame honor. Tom was a member of the very tall boys basketball team from Hastings which captured the Class A state title in 1954. He was an all-state back his senior year in high school as well as being all-state in basketball. What many may not know is the unusual combination of speed and strength he had, shown by his finishing 2nd in the Class A 440 yard dash and won the discus field event that spring. He was a bowl-winning quarterback for Hastings College and after playing professional football, became a football coach of the University of Nebraska, and the head coach in 1973.

While working on advanced degrees at Nebraska, he joined the football staff as a student volunteer. This soon broadened to full-time assistant under Bob Devaney and ultimately succeeding him as head coach.

Nebraska head coach from 1973-97; career record of 255-49-3; his win pct. of .836 is fifth all-time; won national championships in 1994 and ’95 and shared national title with Michigan in ’97. ;

–Won back-to-back national championships in 1994 and ’95 as head coach; was an assistant on Nebraska’s other two national champions (’70, ’71).

–His teams were ranked No. 1 for all or part of the past five seasons and were ranked by The Associated Press every week since 1981 — a record 257 consecutive weeks.

–Nebraska’s 47 victories during the four seasons before 1997 are the most ever by any school in such a time span.

–Won nine or more games in each of his 25 years and 11 or more for the last five years.

–A seven-time Big Eight Coach of the Year selection (1975, ’76, ’80, ’88, ’92, ’93, ’94).

–Winningest active coach in NCAA (.828) upon retirement.

–Won 13 conference titles; only Oklahoma legend Bud Wilkinson won more (14).

–Winningest coach in Big Eight history (231); coached more games (293) than anybody in school history. He and Bob Devaney are the only coaches to win more than 100 games each at Nebraska.

–Left with a 42-game home winning streak.

–Teams played in a bowl game in each of his 25 seasons; third all-time behind former Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and Penn State coach Joe Paterno at the time of his retirement.

In 2000, he was elected to the United State House of Representatives.

Sondra Obermeier Herold – Aurora

HOFAthlete. On the cutting edge of resurgence for girls athletics in Nebraska high schools, Sondra (Obermeier) Herold became the very first girl’s high school athlete of the year selection in modern times. Her accomplishments in track & field during the year 1976 are particularly impressive. She leaped 19 feet five inches in the long jump, a record for over two decades. Three times she was the Class B state champion in the long jump, and overall gold medal champion twice in the long jump and once in the high jump. In 1976 she won four events in the Class B girls state track meet: 100 yard dash, 220 yard dash, the high jump and the long jump. In addition, she was an all-state volleyball player while in high school. Her presence was known from early on in high school.

Gregg Olson – Omaha Northwest

Athlete. Prep baseball pitching record of 27-0 with a 0.76 ERA and 276 strikeouts, and won four state championships during prep career at Northwest. Tossed four no-hitters in baseball career, including three in state tournament. Also a football standout. Attended Auburn University, where he was a two-time All-American. Established school records with 271 strikeouts, 20 saves and 97 appearances. Averaged 14.1 strikeouts per nine innings. Selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the first round (fourth pick overall) in 1988 draft. Big-time career as a major league relief pitcher, most notably for Baltimore and, in 1999, the American playoff qualifying Arizona Diamondbacks. His father, Coach Bill Olson, also was a Hall of Fame inductee in 1999.

The careers of Bill and Gregg Olson were intertwined during the early 1980’s at Omaha Northwest High School where Bill was the school’s first baseball coach, and Gregg played on four consecutive state championship teams from 1982 through 1985.  Under Bill’s leadership the Huskies compiled a fifty-three game consecutive win streak over the 1983, 84 and 85 seasons.  The streak started during Gregg’s sophomore season in 1983; in 1984 the team recorded a perfect season, and the streak finally came to an end in 1985.  “What’s funny about that streak,” observed Coach Olson in his trademark gravel pit voice, “is that it started after we lost a game to Ralston on a very close play, a questionable call.  If we win that game, we can tack on about another fifteen straight wins that we had before that loss.”

During his high school career, Greg was a perfect 27-0 on the mound, featuring a crisp fast ball in the high 80’s and low 90’s and a knee-buckling breaking ball known as “Uncle Charlie.”  Greg was also a very good hitter, hitting over .500 as a senior and leading the state in home runs.  During the state tournament his senior year, he was 18 of 21 at the plate.  He also threw a no-hitter in the championship game.

A “Faces in the Crowd” entry in the July 16, 1984 issue of Sports Illustrated notes the following:  “Bill, 44, coached son Gregg, 17, and the Northwest High baseball team to their third straight state Class A championship. In the 4-2 title victory over Millard South, Gregg, a righthander, struck out 10, hit two homers and drove in the four Husky runs. As a pitcher, he was 8-0 for the season with a 0.98 ERA. Bill’s 13-year 184-64 record includes a 40-game win streak dating back to the 1983 season. He now has been named Nebraska’s high school baseball Coach of the Year five times.”

Gregg was selected a High School All American by American Legion baseball in 1985 as the Northwest Legion team finished third in the American Legion World Series.  The Northwest spring team was awarded a mythical National Championship in 1983 by Collegiate Baseball magazine and earned a #2 final ranking in 1984 and a #3 final ranking in 1985 from the publication.

Gregg played college baseball at the Auburn University where the 6’4″, 206 pound right-hander was the school’s first and only two-time All-American.  During his three-year career at Auburn, Gregg compiled a 25-7 record with twenty saves, a 3.03 ERA and 271 strikeouts.  He was selected to the USA National Team in 1987.

Gregg was selected by the Baltimore Orioles with the #4 pick in the first round of the 1988 major league draft and made his major league debut later that season.  Used primarily as a reliever, Olson was named the American League Rookie of the Year in 1989, his first full season in the majors.  In his second season (1990), Gregg was selected to the American League All-Star team and set a club record of 37 saves.  He followed with 31 saves in 1991 and 36 in 1992.

A torn elbow ligament in August 1993 sidelined him for the rest of that year.  Although he finished with 29 saves and  a career low 1.60 ERA that season, Baltimore opted not re-sign him after the injury.  Gregg moved from club to club over the next few years and revived his career with the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998, setting a franchise record of thirty saves.  Gregg finished his fourteen-year career after two seasons (2000 and 2001) as a “set up” man for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

For his career, Gregg recorded 217 saves with a 40-39 record, 588 strikeouts, and a 3.46 ERA in 672 innings pitched.  The teams’ all-time saves leader was selected to the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame on March 19, 2008 and was inducted in ceremonies on August 8, 2008.

Bill Olson – Omaha Northwest

Coach. Though he coached for 35 years, this baseball wizard really hit his stride when taking on the Omaha Northwest High School baseball program as his special project. Under his guidance, the Northwest Huskies won six high school state championships. In 1983 his baseball team was ranked number one in the nation. Bill Olson had over 1,500 career wins with a winning percentage above .700. He also won 8 American Legion baseball state championships and finished third in their World Series in 1985. He was named the 1997 USA Olympic Development Coach of the Year.

 

 

See Gregg Olson bio for more information.

 

Joe Orduna – Omaha Central

Athlete. Joe Orduna excelled in football, wrestling and track at Omaha Central before playing football at the University of Nebraska and the NFL. He won gold medals at the 1966 state track meet in the long jump (22 feet, 6 ¾ inches), 180-yard low hurdles (20.1 seconds) and the 880-yard relay (1:29.8 seconds). Omaha Central won the team track title in 1965 and 1966, years Orduna made major contributions. He twice qualified  for the state meet in wrestling and was a standout in football where was a starting halfback. He participated in the 1966 Shrine Bowl. At Nebraska, he lettered for three years and rushed for 1,968 yards and 26 touchdowns. He was the team’s rushing leader in 1968 and 1970 and earned All-Big Eight honors in 1970. He played in the Hula Bowl and was selected in the second round of the NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He played three years in the NFL for the New York Giants and Baltimore Colts. Orduna was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1990.

 

Father Patrick O’Byrne – Hastings St. Cecilia/Wahoo Neumann

Class of 2006Coach. Father Pat’s track and field expertise and enthusiasm brought outstanding success in the sport to Hastings St. Cecilia (1968-77), where his girls teams won five state and district championships, and Wahoo Neumann (1978-98) where his teams won three state championships in girls cross country, two state titles in boys cross country and two state championships in girls track. A native of Ireland, he once was the Irish national champion in the 440 and since coming to Nebraska, has served as a Catholic priest in Hastings, Colon/Cedar Bluffs and Plattsmouth. His track interests brought national acclaim, as he was USA team manager for several international meets, including the World Championships, Friendship Games in Moscow and the Russia/United States duals. He’s spent a lifetime serving youth track and field in the state and nationally. Ordained in Dublin, Ireland. Degree: Kearney State.