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.

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


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.


Herman Rohrig – Lincoln High

Athlete. No better example of the complete athlete exists than this 1936 graduate of Lincoln High School. He lettered three years in three separate sports: football, basketball and track. His versatility is illustrated by the help he gave the Links at state track meets. He did well in the long jump and tossing the then college weight discus. In the football backfield, he was, well, more than most defenses could handle.  At the University of Nebraska he earned three letters in football and played on the legendary Rose Bowl team in 1941, throwing a touchdown pass in that treasured game to Cornhusker fans.  After playing professional football with the Green Bay Packers, he became one of the most respected officials in modern day football, working games for the old Big 7, the Big 10, the NFL and being chosen to work the first Super Bowl game. He became a respected supervisor of officials for the Big Ten Conference. He was inducted into a number of sports halls of fame.


Bill Ramsay – Cozad


Bill’s coaching career spanned 40 years and four.schools with a record of 490-264. After graduating from Kearney State, he held positions at Odessa, Gibbon and Grant where his Grant team won him his first state championship. In 1967, he settled at Cozad and under his tutelage the Haymakers had a combined record of 313-166 with five trips to the state tourney in Class B and six district runners-up. The 1969-70 season was the most successful, going a perfect 22-0 and gaining the State Championship trophy. Not a one-sport coach, he guided Grant to a Class C track and field championship in 1963-64 and runners-up in 1964 and 1965. His 1977 Haymaker thinclads finished second in the state in Class B in 1977. Among his many honors: Nebraska Coaches Association Mike Heck Award, Nebraska High School Coach of the Year by the Lincoln Journal in 1966 and by the Omaha World-Herald in 1971. He was also a finalist for the National High School Coach of the Year in 1990. He was picked as Grand Marshal for the Cornhusker State Games and is a member of the elite 400 plus win club among high school basketball coaches, a group with less than 10.

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.