Janet Kruse Sellon-Blair

Athlete

Blair (Class of 1987)

Janet (Kruse) Sellon shredded opposing volleyball defenses. With nearly half of her attacks resulting in kills, she proved to be a dynamic volleyball player, starting four years at Blair and earning all-state honors her junior and senior seasons. She also started for three years in basketball, earning all-state honors, and she was a state champion high jumper. But volleyball paved the way in college where she became a three-year starter and a four-time letterwinner for the Nebraska Cornhusker volleyball team. She was Nebraska’s first three-time All-American and an NCAA Woman of the Year while leading the Huskers to the NCAA Tournament semifinals twice.

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.

Dean Steinkuhler – Sterling

Athlete–Not far from the Big Nemaha River in southeastern Nebraska is the village of Burr. From this small place came a young man with a large talent who graduated from Sterling High School in 1979. Fortunately for Cornhusker fans, Coach Tom Osborne was astute enough to discover the talent and he encouraged Dean Steinkuhler to enroll at the University of Nebraska. The rest is history. From eight-man football roots, he became an All- American guard in 1983, winning the Outland Trophy and scoring on a trick play in the 1984 Orange Bowl. He was picked second in 1984 NFL draft by the Houston Oilers. Steinkuhler was named to nearly every All-American list in 1983, giving his hometown (population 110) the distinction of being the smallest town at the time to ever produce a consensus All-American. This outstanding lineman went on to play eight years of professional football with the Houston Oilers.

He followed fellow Husker Irving Fryar in the draft, marking only the second time in NFL history, and the first since 1967, that the top two players were from the same school.

Tuesday, October 23, 2001   Where Are They Now? Dean Steinkuhler  ABC Sports Online

Nearly 18 years later, Dean Steinkuhler can’t remember the actual name of the play that was called in from the sidelines that warm New Year’s night. Then again, the college football annals have since named it for him. It’s simply known as “fumblerooski.”

On Jan. 1, 1984, the All-American center Steinkuhler and his No. 1 Nebraska Cornhuskers found themselves behind 17-0 early to underdog Miami in the Orange Bowl. The Midwestern boys were noticeably tiring in the Florida heat, and the defense was proving no match for Bernie Kosar’s passing game. Nebraska needed to do something, and do something fast.

“We had worked on it all year in practice, once or twice a week in practice, but had never tried to use it,” said Steinkuhler. “When the play came in from the sideline, I was kind of shocked, but I just said, ‘Here we go.'”

The play, since banned in college football, involved quarterback Turner Gill leaving the ball on the ground as if there had been a fumble. Steinkuhler, the hefty lineman, picked it up and ran 19 yards for the touchdown to the amazement of 72,549 onlookers and, in particular, the television cameras.

“I think I showed my kids the tape a few years ago,” said Steinkuhler, “but it’s tough because (TV) didn’t get a lot of the play.”

Of course the Cornhuskers’ trickery couldn’t keep them from falling 31-30 in what was then considered a major upset. The Husker legacy that included Gill, Outland and Lombardi Trophy winner Steinkuhler, Heisman running back Mike Rozier and future NFL wide receiver Irving Fryar left school without a national title, but that couldn’t damper Steinkuhler’s time in Lincoln.

“It was definitely the highlight of my college career, playing in the Orange Bowl vs. Miami,” he said. “All we could ask for was a shot at (the title). I still say we were the better team that year, but they were the better team that night. But hey, if you know you’re going to win, you wouldn’t play the game.”

Steinkuhler’s next football game would take place with the NFL’s Houston Oilers, whom he played for through 1991. Though he enjoyed much success in the pros, it didn’t compare with college. He had been spoiled by Nebraska’s top-flight facilities, training and, of course, coaching. No one could compare with Tom Osborne, the Cornhusker coaching legend who retired last year. Dean Steinkuhler still follows his Huskers today.

“I was never around a guy who was more sincere or caring,” Steinkuhler said of Osborne. “We had 100, 125 guys on our team. I didn’t even know everyone’s name, but he did. And he knew something about every one of them, he knew where they were from, and, somehow, he always knew if they had a problem. He just had that sense, I guess.

“That’s why, when I got to the NFL, I found out it was definitely a business. It really soured me on the whole idea. I still watch a lot of pro football, but some of the coaches, especially, you question their integrity and, often, their intelligence. I could teach more in an afternoon than some of these people know.”

These days Steinkuhler resides in Syracuse, Neb., about 30 miles outside Lincoln, with his wife and three children. The self-employed Steinkuhler is a hard man to track down, as he spends his days operating a nearby car wash and renting home storage units, and his nights coaching his sons’ football teams.

The easiest time to locate him is probably Saturdays and Sundays, when he’s either in front of the television or in the stands at Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium. “You’ve got to understand, in this state on Saturday afternoons, that’s all there is,” he said.

Steinkuhler still follows the Huskers closely and is openly supportive of Frank Solich.

“Hopefully we’ll get a good 10, 15 years from him,” Steinkuhler said. “But then I’ve got a former teammate I’d like to see there.” Which teammate? None other than current Husker assistant and the man that “fumbled” that ball, Gill.

 

Pro Football Stats

Dean Elmer Steinkuhler

Position: OT/T

Height: 6′ 3” Weight: 283

Born: 1/27/1961, in Burr, NE, USA

High School: Sterling (NE)

College: Nebraska

Regular Season Stats     FUMBLES Year AGE Team LG GP   TOT OWR OPR YDS TD 1984 23 Houston NFL 10   0 0 0 0 0 1986 25 NFL 16   0 2 0 0 0 1987 26 NFL 11   0 0 0 0 0 1988 27 “ NFL 16   0 2 0 0 0 1989 28 “ NFL 16   0 0 0 0 0 1990 29 “” NFL 15   0 0 0 0 0 1991 30 “” NFL 16   0 0 0 0 0 7 Season Totals   100   0 4 0 0 0

Russ Snyder – Nelson

 

Athlete. 1952 grad.

A starting outfielder for the 1966 World Series Champion Baltimore Orioles, Russ Snyder played in the major leagues from 1959-1970, building a career on athletic prowess that developed at Nelson High School where he was a three-sport star. Snyder earned all-conference honors as a running back in football. He was a two-time all-conference pick in basketball, averaging 15 points per game. In 1952 he qualified for the state track meet in five events, finishing third in the hurdles, fourth in the 100 and sixth in the “selective pentathlon.” During the off-seasons of his major league career, he returned to Nelson to coach junior high basketball and referee high school basketball. In his “retirement,” Snyder coaches baseball and girls basketball at Lawrence/Nelson. 

Reuben Schleifer – Chester

Coach.  There was a time when the purple and gold uniformed Bulldogs of Chester High School in Thayer County were at the top of the charts in Class D athletics. During the twentieth century, Coach Reuben Schleifer deserves much credit for this athletic success. Following his service in World War II, he spent forty-one years teaching at this locale. For ten years he coached football and track with a record of 58-18 including an undefeated season. His basketball coaching career covered thirty years with a record of 456-167. In 1953, his good guidance brought the Chester Bulldogs to a Class D State Championship in Lincoln with a great record that year of 24 wins and no losses. Of many just awards, this teacher-coach is most proud of being selected Nebraska Outstanding Teacher by Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1988.