Jerry Stine-Omaha

Contributor
As a coach, historian, promoter and documentarian, Jerry Stine dedicated countless hours to the betterment of Nebraska high school sports. Throughout his 40-year career, Stine coached boys’ basketball & track at Wheeler Central – Bartlett and girls’ basketball and boys’ and girls’ track at Bertrand. After leaving the coaching ranks, Stine continued to contribute to high school sports as a long-time member of the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame Foundation’s board of directors, documenting and organizing the board’s historical research. A past-president of the Nebraska Coaches Association, Stine is the creator, author and secretary of the NCA milestone awards that bear his name.

Daryl Stovall-Bellevue West

Bellevue West (Class of 1978)
A lock-down defender on the basketball court and a speedy outfielder on the baseball diamond, Daryl Stovall used his athletic skills to allow him to be selected by the Chicago White Sox in the Major League Baseball draft, and the San Diego Clippers in the NBA draft. At Bellevue West, he averaged 24 points and 11 rebounds as a senior all-stater. On the baseball diamond, he was a two-time all-state selection. At Creighton University, he continued to play both sports, setting a freshman home run record and averaging double figures in basketball his last three years. He signed with the Chicago White Sox before his senior baseball season.

Anne Shadle-South Sioux City

South Sioux City (Class of 2001)
The road under Anne Shadle’s feet often seemed to fly by. At South Sioux City, where her father was the coach, Shadle took the first steps to becoming a premier runner. She won three Class B and two all-class gold medals at the state cross country championships and three all-class gold medals at the state track meet. She went on to earn seven track and cross country letters at Nebraska, making the jump to the next level when she won the indoor mile and outdoor 1,500 at the NCAA championships in 2005. She graduated from Nebraska holding two individual and three relay records. After college, she ran professionally for three years, competing in the 2008 Olympic Trials.

Renee Saunders-Omaha Marian

Omaha Marian (Class of 1995)
Renee Saunders kept her eye on the ball. Named all-class all-state in volleyball and basketball her junior and senior seasons, she led Omaha Marian to the state basketball tournament every year and a state runner-up finish her junior year. She graduated as Marian’s all-time leader in scoring and rebounding. On the volleyball court, she garnered All-American honors, logging 335 kills as a senior. She also lettered in softball and track and field at Marian and was the consensus athlete of the year by The Omaha World Herald and The Lincoln Journal Star her senior season. Saunders went on to play basketball and volleyball at the University of Nebraska. Though her basketball career was short, she was a major contributor for the Husker volleyball team.

LAURA SPANHEIMER DECHANT – Omaha Marian

Omaha Marian (Class of 2001)
The Athlete of the Year tag stuck to Omaha Marian’s Laura Spanheimer, who twice earned the honor from the Lincoln Journal-Star and as a senior from the Omaha World-Herald. She led Marian to back-to-back state basketball championships those years, earning all-metro and all-state accolades. An outstanding runner as well, she burst on the scene by winning the All-Class gold medal in the 1,600 at the state meet as a freshman. She went on to win two individual 800 gold medals and ran on four state-champion 4×800 relays, including one that set a state and state meet record. In cross country, she finished second in state as a sophomore and junior and won the event as a senior. At Creighton University, she earned All-Missouri Valley basketball honors and finished her career with the most steals in Bluejay history and the second-highest total of games played.

SARAH SASSE-KILDOW – Lincoln High

Lincoln High (Class of 1998)

In spite of her diminutive size, Sarah Sasse-Kildow cast a long shadow on Nebraska high school girls golf. After tying for fourth at the state meet as a freshman and second as a sophomore, she won back-to-back state titles as a junior and senior. She also dominated the amateur golf ranks, winning three state junior match-play championships and the first of five women’s state amateur championships the summer before her senior year. At the University of Nebraska, Sasse-Kildow was a three-time All-Big 12 pick and the conference champion and Player of the Year as a senior, the year she claimed first-team All-American honors. She established Husker records for the lowest 36- and 54-hole scores and went on to compete in three U.S. Women’s Amateur Championships.

Philip C. Sprague – Lincoln High

Coach.

In his 18 years as Lincoln High gymnastics coach (1951-69), the Links won seven state championships and were runners-up nine times. Twenty-three of his gymnasts won 41 state championships. The 1946 Beatrice graduate competed in his sport in high school and was the state pommel horse champion as a senior.  His support of his sport didn’t end with his coaching career.  While administrator at Lincoln East, he continued to contribute to the sport as meet director and in other capacities for the state gym meet.

Frank Smagacz – Omaha Central

Coach. From early coaching positions at Arlington and Tekamah this talented leader of boys then moved on to arguably the toughest conference in Nebraska where for the next 27 years he was football and track coach at Omaha Central High School. A good example of strong competition occurred the fall of 1960 when Omaha Central High battled cross-town rival Creighton Prep on the football gridiron to a zero-zero tie. Both schools were then treated as co-champions. Between 1958 and 1966 Frank Smagacz coached five Class A Boys state track & field champions,  indicating a superb ability to spot great athletes and guide them to their best efforts. In 1961, he was named high school coach of the year in Nebraska.

 

Rudy Stoehr – Lincoln

Offical

Perhaps Nebraska’s most recognized basketball referee, Rudy Stoehr was often at the center of many state championships. A football referee as well, Stoehr officiated Nebraska high school basketball from 1963-89, working more than 1,000 games and more than 20 state tournaments. He also officiated in the Big Eight Conference for six years. An outstanding basketball and baseball player at Lincoln Northeast and Nebraska Wesleyan (he set a single-season scoring record with 746 points, including 62 in one game).  Stoehr played minor league baseball before an arm injury forced him to return to Nebraska to coach and officiate.

Ron Simmons – Sumner

HOF inducteeAthlete. Ron could be best described as “Mr. All” at Sumner High School. Before graduating in 1964, his honors in basketball were All Conference (’61 ,’62,’63,’64), All Region (’61,’62,63,’64), All District (‘6 l,’62″6 3,’64), Class D All State (’62,’63,’64), All Class All State (’64) and All American (’64). He is second on the list of all time scorers in Nebraska with a total of 2,406 points, all made prior to the three-point rule. In football, he made All Conference (’61,’62,’63), All Region (’61,’62,’63), All State (’63) and was picked to the North Shrine Bowl squad in 1964. Track was not to be left out. He was a three time state qualifier in the pole vault winning the Class D championship one year and a two-time state qualifier in the hurdles. At UNL, he lettered all four years being picked All Big 8 Honorable Mention (’67) and first team all Big 8 Academic (’67), Honorable Mention All America Academic (’67) plus the Dean’s list for Academics (’65, ’66, ’67). He was on the UNL Baseball team in 1966 and was a Detroit Tigers draft pick in 1967.