Cliff Squires – Lincoln Northeast

Athlete. Cliff’s athletic career began with 13 varsity letters at Bethany and Lincoln Northeast high schools. He was co-captain of Northeast’s first state championship football team in 1943. It was that year he was selected Nebraska’s “Prep Player of the Year” which was the forerunner of the “Athlete of the Year” award. He also garnered all-state honors in both football and basketball in 1943 and 1944. He was one of the factors in Northeast’s run to the state tournament in ‘42, ‘43 ‘and ’44. He was on the all-state tournament team in ‘43 and ‘44. His college career took him a few blocks west where he competed for the Plainsmen of Nebraska Wesleyan University, again earning 13 varsity letters and was named small college all-American in football in ‘46, ‘47, ‘48, and ‘49. In 1950 he was picked by the Detroit Lions in the 14th round. Returning to Lincoln to work as a sporting goods salesman and football official, he officiated for 30 years, 20 of those as a Big Eight official. Cliff worked eight major bowl games, one of which was the ‘79 Sugar Bowl between Penn State and Alabama for the national championship. He also officiated the first Nebraska Shrine Bowl Game. Cliff has also been enshrined in the Northeast Hall of Fame, Nebraska Wesleyan Hall of Fame, and the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame. 

Gene Suhr – Papillion-LaVista

2013 InducteeCoach

A motivator, innovator and a master builder of programs, Gene Suhr created a winning legacy on the football fields at Ord and Papillion. He compiled a 200-95 record over a 23-year head coaching career, which included 21 state playoff appearances.  Suhr led Papillion-LaVista to undefeated state championship seasons in 1990 and 1996, with both teams considered among Nebraska’s all-time best. His Monarchs also won state runner-up honors in 1985, 1995 and 1997.  The first trip to the finals came in his second year at Papillion-LaVista. The school had only one previous playoff team.  The Monarchs went on to a state record 16 straight playoff appearances. He has won several coach of the year awards and was in demand as a speaker at coaching clinics. He finished his coaching career as offensive coordinator at Wayne State College.




Dennis Smith – Papillion

Contributor. A huge, huge percentage of the credit for the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame Foundation goes to Dennis Smith. He had a vision of this organization and served the board from the organizational days of 1993. He’s been the treasurer since 1996. His 32-year career at Papillion-LaVista schools that included a position as principal from 1979-2000, netted many honors, including the naming of the annual high school track meet the “Denny Smith Invitational.” He was elected to the NSAA Board of Control for 21 years and his colleagues clearly recall his stance on most issues being “how does this affect the kids.” He was instrumental in the fundraising of more than a million dollars for the Papillion-LaVista stadium facility. He grew up in Cherokee, Iowa, and his football, basketball, track exploits drew him to Wayne State. He taught and coached at Creighton before moving to Papillion.


Virginia Stahr Gee – Centennial

Virgina Stahr 2007


The Big Eight Female Athlete of the Year in 1989, Viriginia (Stahr) Gee started her career at Centennial High School where she earned 12 varsity letters before her graduation in 1985 when she was the Lincoln Journal Star Athlete of the Year. Stahr’s Centennial volleyball teams had a combined 80-11 record, going 24-0 and winning the Class C-1 state championship her senior year. She was all-state in basketball her junior and senior years and qualified for the state track meet in 12 events during her high school years. She played volleyball at the University of Nebraska, playing for four Big Eight Conference championship teams that had a combined record of 116-20. She played on the 1989 national runner-up team, earning Big Eight Player of the Year and NCAA All-Tournament Team honors. She earned All-American honors in 1988 and 1989.

Darcy Stracke – Stuart, Chambers

2011 InducteeChambers Class of 1996
Darcy Stracke rewrote many record books in volleyball and track, but the most in basketball. Starting with her freshman year at Stuart High School, then the following three years at Chambers, Stracke led her teams to state titles all four years, averaging 30.5 points per game in the state tournament. She set Nebraska high school scoring records in a career (2,752) and a season (824 and 872), setting in motion an 87-game winning streak at Chambers. She also earned all-state honors in volleyball and was a Class D state champion in the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. As a college basketball player, she earned first-team All-America honors at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. In three years at UNK, she set the school’s single-season record for points (679), career record for steals (292) and a single-game record for assists (14). She set both schools’ single-game scoring records with 43 points, each record-setting effort at the others’ expense.

Joe Sukovaty – Swanton

Coach. After graduating from Swanton High School and Doane College, Joe returned to his home town in 1923 as coach, science teacher and assistant principal. In his 17-year tenure with the Jackrabbits he coached them to the basketball state tournament seven times, winning it twice. His 1933 squad was runner-up with only seven players on the roster. Leaving Swanton in 1940 he went to Hildreth as coach, teacher, and administrator for ten years. His teams went to the state tournament seven times and were champions three times and runner-up once. He left teaching in 1950 to go into private business but the lure of education brought him back to teach in Western, Wilber, and once more to Swanton. One final highlight was starting the career of Willard Schmidt, who played at Creighton University and then AAU with the McPherson Globe Refiners and was chosen for the 1936 U. S. Olympic team, gold medal champions. 


Alice Schmidt – Elkhorn

Alice Schmidt

Elkhorn High School



Alice Schmidt dominated the middle distance races, winning the all-class gold medal in the 800 all four years at the state high school track meet and setting the state record in that event (2:08.84).  In all, she won five all-class gold medals and 12 Class B gold medals at the state track meet during her years at Ellkhorn and graduated with school records in the 800, 1600, 3200, and 1600 and 3200 meter relays.  At the University of North Carolina, Schmidt was a two-time NCAA champion in the 800 and a nine-time All-American. She continued to compete after college, wearing the USA colors in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, advancing to the semifinals in London.  She retired from competition in 2014 with personal bests of 1:58.61 in the 800 and 4:05.64 in the 1500.


Gale Sayers – Omaha Central

Athlete–No one ever looked better on the gridiron wearing the purple and white football uniform of the Omaha Central Eagles than this backfield dancer who graduated in 1961. Wherever he played, spectators couldn’t forget his incredible ability to “shift gears” and leave all behind when he made his move for a touchdown.  He was all-state twice in football, the state’s leading scorer (Class A) twice. He lead Central in 1960 to an unbeaten year during which the team was touted as state champion. Still a legend in track & field Nebraska annals. Gale Sayers jumped an astounding 24 feet 10 inches in the long jump in 1961, the longest jump in the nation that year by a high school athlete and the Nebraska state record for nearly four decades. An All-American college halfback at the University of Kansas, he is also most remembered as one of the best players in professional football, during a career cut shot by injuries for the Chicago Bears.

In football, Sayers led the state in scoring both his junior and senior seasons, scoring 127 points as a senior.  Although his school’s statistics are almost non-existent, newspaper research revealed that he had several games of over 100 yards rushing (no total season rushing totals could be found).  In addition to his offensive prowess, newspaper accounts report that during his senior year, he scored on a pass interception return of 53 yards and fumble recovery return for 29 yards.

Sayers was selected to the Scholastic Coach All-America High School Track Team, having had the lead performance in the broad (long) jump in 1961 across the nation.

He still holds the Bears record for the number of touchdowns scored in a single season (22) set his first year in the NFL. Sayers also still holds the Bears record for the most touchdowns and points scored in a single game. He scored six touchdowns for 36 points in a 1965 game against San Francisco.  During his career, Sayers had nearly 9,500 combined net yards, almost 5,000 yards rushing and scored 336 points. He also was the NFL’s lifetime kickoff return leader.Sayers was named the Pro Bowl’s Player of the Game in 1967, 1968 and 1970, and was named to the 75th Anniversary All Time NFL Team. He was also named to the Chicago Sports Hall of Fame in 1980, the Blacks Sports Hall of Fame in 1975 and the NFL All-Time Millennium Team. In 1977, he was the youngest player ever inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.

The Pro Football Writers of America once named Sayers the NFL’s most courageous player to acknowledge his dedicated comeback from career-threatening knee surgery.

After completing his professional football career, Sayers returned to Kansas University and earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education while also handling duties of assistant athletic director. He then accepted the assignment as assistant director of the Williams Education Fund for three years and earned his master’s degree in educational administration. From 1976 through 1981, he was athletic director at Southern Illinois University.

Following a successful career at SIU, Sayers moved back to Chicago and launched a sports marketing and public relations firm, Sayers and Sayers Enterprises.

In 1984, Sayers and his wife, Ardythe, started a computer reseller firm. Today, the Sayers Group is a national technology solutions provider with locations across the United States.

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Jodi Stineman Emsick – Lincoln Southeast

Athlete.  Jodi Stineman Emsick had “champion” written all over her from the start of her career at Lincoln Southeast. She played and starred on state championship teams in cross country, basketball (twice) and track. She was the first Lincoln Southeast athlete to win 12 varsity letters along with these laurels: Female high school athlete of the year (1988), Class A basketball all-state twice and an all-class all-state pick in 1988, three-time Class A state champion in the 800-meter run and a gold medal winner in the distance relay. At the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Stineman started every basketball game in her four-year career except when injured and scored 1,124 points in four college seasons. She also lettered in track for the Lopers. Lives in Portage, MI.


Larry Station – Omaha Central

Athlete. Strength is the best word to describe this fine athlete who graduated from Omaha Central High School in 1982. He gained all-state football acclaim as a two-way player.  His linebacking play showed the promise and the prowess that would carry him to a great college career. His achievements in track & field were spectacular. Winning the shot put at the state meet two years running, 1981 and 1982, he set a new state record of 62-11½. In the spring of 1982, he had a gold medal winning discus throw over 202 feet. Later as a University of Iowa linebacker, he was named as one of the best Hawkeye football players in the century and was a two-time All-American. He played professional football at Pittsburgh