The Omaha World Herald article traces the great individuals and All-state teams that played on the hardwoods across the state.
The storied past of Nebraska High School Boys basketball is the focus of the World-Herald article. Featuring some of the all time great players and All-State teams it highlights the greats who have graced the hardwoods.
Class of 1949
The Brady Eagles flew high with Dean Brittenham on the team. An all-state end, he led Brady to the six-man state title and a runner-up finish at the state basketball tournament where he was named to the all-class state tournament team. In track, he won the state pentathlon championship twice and helped Brady win the Class D state title. He won gold medals in the 120-yard high hurdles, the discus and the high jump. He lettered in track at the University of Nebraska then went on to be the head cross country and track coach at the University of Colorado. He also served as a strength and conditioning coach for the Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots and Indiana Pacers and was a consultant for many other teams and organizations.
Athlete. Class of 1963.
She began an illustrious track and field career long before girls’ athletic programs were accepted by the general public and/or sponsored by high schools. She was second in the shotput in the National Junior Olympics as a high school junior. She won four National Senior AAU Titles in the discus and the 1968 gold medal at the Pan Am Games in Winnipeg and was member of the 1968 U.S. Olympic Games teams. “Winning the Pan Am gold was obviously a highlight, she said. “It’s hard not to say that competing in the Olympics wasn’t the best moment, but unfortunately the rains came that day and I didn’t throw my best.”
Later, Carol was a teacher and coach, including serving as an assistant coach in high school football.
Coach. An all-around athlete at Omaha Central, Fred lettered in football, wrestling and tennis. During those years Central won the state meet in wrestling and tennis for four years and he won the gold medal in his weight class one year. After high school graduation in 1946, he spent two years in the Marine Corps. During his tour of duty with the Corps, he won the All-Pacific wrestling championship and the Marine-Navy singles tennis championship on Guam, plus wrestling four months at the Naval Academy at Annapolis On returning to civilian life, he enrolled at UNO where he lettered four years in tennis, was team captain 3 years, and had a record 143-5 in singles and 49-4 in doubles and was undefeated in 1950. He coached the UNO team for one year while working on his master’s degree. Along with Charlie Mancuso, Fred was instrumental in getting the wrestling program started at UNO. Hired at Omaha Benson, he was there for 38 years, coaching tennis for 35 years, coaching wrestling for five years, plus 20 years of freshman-reserve football coaching. A long time wrestling official, he was elected to the Nebraska Scholastic Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame as a charter member in 1982. He was also selected to the Nebraska Tennis Hall of fame, Benson High Hall of Fame, Metro Conference Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame, Metro Tennis Coaches Hall of Famc, and the UNO Wrestling Hall of Fame. Beyond his high school activity, Fred also ran the city and state tennis tournaments and was Omaha City Tennis Director for 20 years.
Athlete. Outstanding letterman in three sports for Grand Island High School earned nine varsity letters and collected numerous personal honors: All State football quarterback in 1963; basketball All State and All State Tournament First Team in 1964; record for the most field goals in one state tournament game; single season and career scoring records for Grand Island High; 1964 Gold Medal discus winner in the State Track Meet breaking the 24 year old state discus record set by Howard Debus of Lincoln High. He was the 1964 High School Athlete of the Year.
In June of 1964, John received two important documents–his high school diploma and a bonus contract from the baseball Kansas City Athletics. Manager Whitey Herzog was present to do the signing honors. It launched a lifetime in baseball. John was in the minors one year and then was called up to the majors with the Kansas City A’s in 1965. He was a long-time head baseball coach at the University of Nebraska. John is presently a minor league manager for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, a Boston Red Sox farm team as well as manager for major league players on rehabilitation leave. He also has responsibilities in player development.
Athlete. One of the few big men in the state in his day at 6’8’, Bus Whitehead graduated from Scottsbluff High School in 1945. An outstanding senior year contributed to a trip to Lincoln for the Class A State Basketball Championship. One of the few losses for the season was in the finals when Scottsbluff lost to Creighton Prep. Actively recruited by a number of major universities, he selected the University of Nebraska. His improvement as a college player was beyond expectations: during both his junior and senior years he was selected to the All Big 7 team. As a senior, he was the only unanimous selection to the All Big 7 team. In both of his last two years Nebraska was a Conference Co-Champion. Bus graduated from Nebraska holding seven Nebraska scoring records and was selected as a District 5 All American, and later was selected to the All-Time University of Nebraska Basketball Team. Played in College All-Star East –West game at Madison Square Garden. Outstanding player for the Phillips 66 Oilers in the National Industrial League. Nebraska Basketball Hall of Fame, Lincoln Journal Star Hall of Fame, and the Scottsbluff Hall of Fame. Longtime Lincoln resident Bus and his wife Ruth have three children and five grandchildren.