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.

Susan Roll – Chadron

Athlete, 1984 graduate. Susan Roll was a three-sport standout and a three time Nebraska state high school individual gold medal champion in girls golf, Susan led her Chadron High team to four consecutive team championships. In the winter months, she was involved in basketball and garnered All Conference recognition in 1983 and 1984. She competed in track and field during the spring months and was a member of the Class B State Championship track team in 1984.

After high school, she accepted a full ride at the University of Wyoming in golf and in her four years there she picked up All Conference honors in 1987 and 1989. Besides the athletic honors, Susan received the All Conference Academic Achievement Award and was on the Dean’s Honor Roll. She turned professional in 1990 with a rare double certification as a Class A member-in both the PGA and the LPGA. Susan is now the West Coast Equipment Manager of “Golf For Women” magazine. In addition to her sales and marketing responsibilities, she actively participates in the magazine’s nationwide programs and clinics promoting women’s golf and their associated charity events in raising breast cancer awareness.

Co-owner of Carlsbad Golf Center earns LPGA national award for boosting the business


Susan Roll, co-owner of the Carlsbad Golf Center, pays as much attention to manicured grass and picnic benches as she does to buying new mats and educating her patrons on custom-fit equipment.

Recognized by the LPGA Teaching & Club Professional organization for her devotion to the golf business, Roll was named the National Professional of the Year for 2005.


The honor is the latest of many, including national finalist for the 2005 PGA Merchandiser of the Year award for public facilities. Also, the Carlsbad Golf Center was voted a Top 25 Shop in the USA by Golf for Women magazine and a Top 100 Range in the USA by Golf Range magazine.

Roll and Dana Chaiken purchased the practice facility and pro shop less than three years ago, fulfilling Roll’s dream to own her own business. “When you get to go to work every day and love what you do, it’s great,” Roll said. “I haven’t worked a day in three years.”

Roll’s staff can sense her enthusiasm. “To come into work is an energy boost every day,” said Kathy Wake, head pro at the golf center.

Wake, president of the LPGA Teaching & Club Professional Western Section, said the Professional of the Year award recognizes the top leader in the LPGA who grows the game at the business level. Wake won Professional of the Year in 1997 but considers Roll to be her mentor.

Roll, 38, began competing in golf tournaments at age 9. Her high school team in Nebraska won the state team competition all four years she played, and she was individual state champion her sophomore, junior and senior years. In 2003, Roll was inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame.

At the University of Wyoming, Roll was all-conference four years in a row.

Out of college she toyed with work in every aspect of the game. She coached the women’s team at Regis College in Denver, then worked as a head pro. She also held jobs in marketing, sales, design team and manufacturing.

Roll never toured, however. “I love the business side,” Roll said. “I admire people who go on tour.”  Her business stresses customer service and educating buyers in custom-fit equipment, using a launch monitor to determine how to optimize ball flight.

The Carlsbad Golf Center is also active in the community, hosting blood drives and Toys for Tots collections as well as inviting athletes from the Special Olympics and YMCA to use the driving range.

Of the center’s seven golf pros, Roll, Wake and Sheri Hayes are PGA and LPGA members. Even more unusual, Carlsbad golf has a woman grounds superintendent, Robbin Muller.

One of the pros on the Carlsbad staff, Shay Blechynden has given lessons at the range since it opened under different management in 1995. He saw the business change hands several times and said Roll and Chaiken have the best management style.  “They believe in quality,” Blechynden said. “When Susan and Dana took over, they restocked with quality merchandise and remodeled the shop. The range-ball quality even improved.”

Bobby Reynolds – Grand Island

Athlete–One of the most exciting athletes of all time, this 1949 Grand Island High School graduate showed his natural ability early. While an Islander sophomore, he was already a starter on the fine basketball team there which captured back to back Class A state championships. And in football, the Purple & Gold rolled over all on the gridiron with Bobby Reynolds in the backfield to two undefeated state championship seasons. Yet it was his achievements as a University of Nebraska Cornhusker halfback which created the legend. In his greatest season on the football gridiron as a college sophomore in 1950, he reached All-American status. He was a top scorer in the nation, and his unbelievable run from scrimmage against Missouri is still shown on film. Yes, for one brief shining moment, without question Bobby Reynolds was “Mr. Touchdown, USA.”


Jim Riley – Lincoln

Contributor.  Jim Riley served in the field of education for 44 years and in the Nebraska School Activities Association for 31 years. Riley was hired as Assistant Executive Director for the NSAA on Aug. 1, 1970, and was promoted to Executive Director in August 1976. The NSAA staff grew from three employees to 11 full-time employees during Riley’s tenure. Also, the NSAA sponsored six sports in 1970 and had grown to 21 by 2001, including non-sport activities. Riley retired in September 2001, completing a 25-year reign as Executive Director. In 2002, Riley was given the NSAA Distinguished Service Award for his work with the NSAA. Valuable contributor to the national high school scene through committee/advisory work with the National Federation of State High School Associations.


Johnny Rodgers – Omaha Tech

Athlete. Omaha Tech Class of 1969. High school athlete of the year. 1972 Heisman Trophy Winner. Before he became one of the most exciting players to ever wear the Cornhusker Scarlet and Cream, his exploits on Omaha’s high school football fields was nothing short of legendary. He ran the ball, caught it, returned it.  He was also outstanding on defense.  Other high school exploits included a state championship in the long jump and all-star laurels in basketball where he was a 20-point a game player.

Rodgers blossomed as a national star in 1971 to lead Nebraska to its second consecutive national championship. It was Rodgers’ sensational 72-yard punt return for the first touchdown that ignited the Huskers’ thrilling 35-31 victory over Oklahoma in the “Game of the Century” in 1971. His 77-yard punt return touchdown against Alabama helped trigger the 38-6 Orange Bowl victory and sewed up Nebraska’s second national title.

He owned 43 school records, seven conference records and four NCAA records during his three-year career, in which Nebraska posted a 32-2-2 record. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on December 14, 2000, in New York. Played in both Canandian and National Football League professional leagues.

Rodgers returned to Omaha involved in community and public relations, including the Husker Heisman weekend and his company, Jetwear.

Phyllis Rice-Honnor – Centennial

Coach.  In 30 years as volleyball coach at Centennial, Phyllis (Rice) Honnor posted a 459-151 record and led her team to the state tournament 12 times. Centennial won state championships in 1984, 1985 and 1987 and finished second in 1998. Her teams won 14 subdistrict and 12 district championships. Centennial’s volleyball team was ranked in the top six from 1980 to 1992 and from 1997 to 1999. Rice-Honnor was also the Centennial track coach from 1971 to 1987, coaching at least one state medalist in 10 of those years. She also served as head basketball coach for one season. Rice-Honnor was named the Lincoln Journal Star Female Coach of the Year for 1987-1988. She was also nominated for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 1983, 1986 and 1988.


Dave Rimington – Omaha South

Athlete–One of the most highly regarded college football centers of all time, this 1978 graduate of Omaha South High School began his gridiron career as a youngster in the Pee Wee group also in that locale. He was a 6-3, 220-pound lineman who gained high school all-state honors and led South High to a 7-2-1 record in his senior year. Outstanding high school wrestler. As a University of Nebraska Cornhusker, he reached All-America status as a powerful center, finishing fifth in Heisman Trophy voting, most unusual for a lineman in 1982. After college, he played seven years of professional football in the NFL. An Outland, Trophy winner in college, this gentle giant has had his Nebraska football number retired by unanimous acclaim.

Few had the drive Rimington had in the weight room and the classroom. At UNL Rimington went from a “slow, practically skinny” lineman to a fast, hole-opening machine cutting his 40-yard dash from 5.35 to 5.05 from his freshman to his senior year, increasing his bench press from 340 pound to 435 and left Nebraska able to squat 650 pounds.

Equally as impressive was his skill in the classroom with a 3.25 GPA in economics as two-time, first-team Academic All-America and a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete.

Randy Reeves – Omaha Benson

Athlete. Randy Reeves, the 1966 Omaha World-Herald Athlete of the Year, excelled on and off the field. Reeves was the valedictorian of his class of more than 800 students and a National Merit Scholar. On the football field, he was a three-year starter for the Benson football team and received All-Metro, All-State and All-American honors and was named the Coca-Cola Back of the Year. He was a two-year starter for the Benson basketball team. In track, Reeves won the gold medal in the pole vault at the state track meet in 1965 when he cleared 14 feet. He was the first Nebraska pole vaulter to reach that height. Reeves went on to play football for the University of Nebraska where he lettered from 1967 to 1969. In 1969 Reeves was an Academic All-Big Eight and Academic All-American defensive back.


Tom Rathman – Grand Island

Athlete–A 1980 graduate of Grand Island High School, this versatile athlete surprised many at the state track meets by being an excellent high jumper, posting a top personal best of 6’7“ and winning a gold medal as a junior. A running power on the gridiron both in high school and college, he developed into a great fullback at the University of Nebraska (he enjoyed a rare 84-yard touchdown run against Colorado his senior year). During a decade of professional football, he earned two Super Bowl rings with the San Francisco 49ers as a runner-blocker-pass catcher for Joe Montana, et al, reaching all-pro status.  An NFL player from 1986-94, Rathman helped the 49ers capture two World Championships (Super Bowl XXIII and XXIV) and seven NFC West titles. He totaled 4,392 yards from scrimmage and scored 34 touchdowns while playing in 113 games with San Francisco. He played his final season in the NFL with the Los Angeles Raiders in 1994.