Diane Rouzee-Grand Island Northwest

Coach

Diane Rouzee’s 30-year career as head volleyball coach of Grand Island Northwest produced three state championships, six runner-up finishes, 23 trips to the state tournament and a 768-183 record. The recipient of the National Coach of the Year Award in 2018, Rouzee retired with the eighth-highest win total in Nebraska history. Called a “second mother” by many of her players, she watched her teams establish state records for kills and digs in a match.  She has been on the coaching staff of the Nebraska Coaches Association All-Star Game three times, twice as head coach.

Rochelle Rohlfs-Omaha Marian

Coach

Rochelle Rohlfs forged Omaha Marian into a volleyball power, rolling up a 718-245 record in her 26 years as head coach. Her career included four state championships, four other state finals appearances and a total of 21 trips to the state tournament. She coached in the Nebraska Coaches Association All-Star Game three times and has won several Coach of the Year awards. An educator at heart who viewed coaching as teaching, she had eight of her former players go on to become head volleyball coaches at Nebraska high schools. She also had brief stints coaching soccer and track at Marian.

Katie Robinette Kock-South Sioux City

Athlete

South Sioux City (Class of 2001)

Katie (Robinette) Kock collected almost every basketball honor available to a prep athlete. Her coach, Kelly Flynn, said she was a coach’s dream ╨ a great player and hard worker who never hesitated to help younger players improve their game. Her list of honors included prep All-American, Gatorade Player of the Year, four-time all-stater, and holder of several school records. She finished her career averaging more than 18 points and eight rebounds per game while leading the Cardinals to a 102-5 record, three state championships and a No. 1 national ranking in USA Today. She played collegiately at Nebraska and Iowa State, earning All-Big 12 second-team honors as a senior for the Cyclones.

Danis Richards Willet-Benkelman

Athlete

Benkelman (Class of 1975)

Danis (Richards) Willet made the quarter-mile race her specialty, winning the Class C gold medal all four years and claiming all-class honors her junior and senior seasons. She finished her high school track career with 15 medals in the 440-, 880- and 220-yard dashes as well as the mile relay. At Kearney State College, she continued to set records, ranking in the top 25 of all collegiate runners and becoming the first Nebraska woman to break the 55-second barrier in the 400. Her career in track continued into her 30s where she won national titles in the 100, 200 and 400 and won the National Outstanding Female Athlete Award in her age group in 1991.

Barrett Ruud-Lincoln Southeast

Lincoln Southeast (Class of 2001)
Touchdowns highlighted Barrett Ruud’s football career before tackles made him a pro. The cornerstone of three Lincoln Southeast state football championships, Ruud made the Knights varsity as a freshman, started as a sophomore and set school career records with 2,988 rushing yards and 54 touchdowns. The Lincoln Journal-Star’s Athlete of the Year in 2001, Ruud was a three-year letterman and a two-time all-state honorable mention all-state selection in basketball. A third-generation Husker football standout, he was a 4-year letterman at linebacker, setting a single-season and career record for tackles. He went on to play eight years in the NFL, making more than 100 tackles in half of those years.

KEVIN RAMAEKERS – Norfolk Catholic

Norfolk Catholic (Class of 1988)

 

 

 

 

 

Good at everything he did, Kevin Ramaekers locked up the Athlete of the Year award in 1988 by earning all-state honors in football, winning gold at the state wrestling meet and winning the all-class gold medal in the shot put at the state track meet. A Bally All-American in 1987, he helped Norfolk Catholic reach the state championship game his senior year, concluding a career where he was a two-time all-class, all-state player. On the wrestling mat, he finished third at state as a sophomore and a junior before winning his senior season. Posting the fourth-best shot-put mark in state history, he won back-to-back all-class gold medals. A three-year mainstay on the defensive line at Nebraska, Ramaekers earned All-Big Eight honors as a senior and was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 2007.

Randy Rasmussen – Elba

Athlete. This 1963 graduate of Elba High School in Howard County certainly proved what all great coaches know: if you have the talent, your origins, whether small town or large city, simply do not matter. Randy Rasmussen began playing eight-man football in high school along with other sports. At Kearney State College, he quickly matured as an athlete and was eventually drafted by the New York Jets professional football team. Randy Rasmussen played for fifteen years in the pros as a lineman. His great effort of blocking for quarterback Joe Namath in the 1969 Super Bowl Game helped achieve an unexpected victory for the underdog Jets that year. Whether playing for the Elba High Bluejays, the Kearney State Antelopes or the New York Jets, this athlete could play and stay with the very best.

“Football is football whether it is played with, six, eight or 11 men. One thing I do believe,” he said in 1983, “No young man should ever be denied the right to play, no matter where he lives, small or large town. And no matter how it is played, it comes down to blocking and tackling. Without them, it isn’t football.”

Max Roper – Lincoln

2011 InducteeOfficial

A Lincoln native, Max Roper started officiating basketball in 1923 when one official was enough, despite the work load required by the center jump after each basket. One of the most respected officials of his day, he worked his first state tournament in 1930 and officiated the state tournament each year until 1948. One year he teamed with fellow Hall of Fame referee Mutt Volz to work one site at the state tournament where they worked an entire day, alternating jobs where one sold tickets while the other officiated the game. Roper also officiated football, first at the high school level then working his way into the college ranks. His last game was the 1948 Orange Bowl where he was the head linesman.

John “Choppy” Rhodes – Ansley

Athlete. It was often said of this legendary athlete that he was the first Nebraska high school track & field competitor to high jump six feet, pole vault twelve feet and long jump twenty-two feet. A 1922 graduate from Ansley High School in Custer County, he excelled to all sports: football, basketball, track & field and baseball. He played on two state championship teams in basketball. All-state in football, he was player-”coach” of the 1920 Ansley football team which went untied and unbeaten that season. At one time he held state records in three track events–the high jump, the pole vault and the long jump. As a football player at the University of Nebraska, he played on the team which defeated the “Four Horsemen” of Notre Dame twice as well as holding the great “Galloping Ghost” Red Grange scoreless in a defeat at Illinois.

Blair Newspaper:When the names of this year’s inductees to the Nebraska High School Hall of Fame are read, one of them should be recognized by Blair natives.

John “Choppy” Rhodes, who coached the 1938 Bear football team and returned for a two – year stint in 1941 and 1942, is one of the six Pioneers to be inducted at the 1998 Awards Banquet, which is slated for this Sunday in Lincoln.

Coach Rhodes, who died in 1951, was one of the state’s greatest athletes in the 1920’s. Prior to graduating from Ansley High School in 1922, “Choppy” was named to the first – ever Omaha World – Herald All – State Football Team. His high school exploits didn’t stop there, as he also simultaneously held three State Records in track, setting two of them at the 1922 State Meet. His leaps of 6’0″ in the High Jump and 21’10.5″ in the Long Jump (known then as the running broad jump), gave him two gold medals. His Pole Vault standard of 11’8″ went unequaled that year. As if that wasn’t enough, Rhodes also played on two State Championship basketball teams at Ansley. He also played baseball.

Following his stellar high school career, Rhodes took his athletic talents to the University of Nebraska. Success continued to follow him as well. He collected a total of eight varsity letters, one of only six to earn at least that many, including three in football and track. The other two came from the baseball diamond.

While playing for the Cornhusker football team, “Choppy” scored the winning touchdown in a 1923 win over Notre Dame and its “Four Horsemen” and found the end – zone in a 1925 victory over the University of Illinois and its vaunted running back “Red” Grange. He was an All – Conference football selection in 1924 and again in 1925, his efforts helped the baseball team win its conference championship, and he captured the all – around championship at the University of Illinois Relays in 1926.

After graduating, Rhodes was named head baseball coach at NU. His two – year stint produced the highest winning percentage ever. He then coached football at Wyoming University and the St. Louis professional football team prior to his three seasons at Blair.

The Nebraska High School Hall of Fame was established five years ago to honor athletes for outstanding high school careers; pioneers, administrators, coaches, officials and community members for significant involvement in high school athletics; and athletes who have made a noted impact on their chosen field or society after their high school graduation.

The Hall of Fame is a non – profit organization, organized with the idea of preserving the history of high school sports and to honor its past stars and leaders and to inspire future generations of high school students.

Larry Riessland – Pleasanton

ATHLETE

Larry Riessland earned a “Mr. Touchdown” label at Pleasanton High School where he scored 80 touchdowns in his career. The running back who set himself apart with his ability to cut while running full speed, scored a national-record nine touchdowns in a single game as a junior, then set a national record with 47 touchdowns in the nine-game season his senior year. He ran for 2,217 yards as a senior and averaged 19 tackles per game with 10 interceptions. In basketball, he scored more than 400 points his junior and senior seasons. He also placed in the 880 at the state track meet. He went on to play football at Kearney State College, but injuries curtailed his career.