Coach. The three-sport athlete in both high school and college came to Battle Creek in 1962 and the rest is history. His football teams won 293 games with 89 losses. They qualified for the state playoffs 16 times, winning four championships and runners-up five times. He coached the boys track team to four state championships, twice state runners-up, 20 district championships and 169 invitational championships. Bob took on the job of girl’s basketball coach in 1974 and amassed a record of 485 wins and 83 losses. His girls made 18 trips to the state tournament winning it five times and runners-up three times plus 18 district championship. Nebraska Coaches Association Level 4 rating on all three sports he has coached. Nebraska Coaches Association Coach of the Year, Omaha World Herald Coach of the Year, Lincoln Journal Star Girls Basketball Coach of the Year, Mid-State Conference Coach of the Year, and Iowa Siouxland Coach of the Year. He was nominated no less that five times for National Coach of the Year and received the Region 6 award twice. He was inducted into the Wayne State College Hall of Fame in 1982.
Official. His background as a four-time letterman in football, basketball and track at DeWitt High School in Saline County from which he graduated in 1935 helped prepare him for later life where he served as a most knowledgeable official of high school sporting events in Nebraska. Cecil Walker was an outstanding official, especially in basketball, and he was often selected to work the state tournament. For many years he served as a supervisor of officials working the Nebraska state high school basketball tournaments. He also served as a football official for the Big Eight Conference. This able gentleman contributed much to the high level of good officiating enjoyed in Nebraska high school sports. First person from the officiating community selected for High School Hall of Fame induction.
Coach. After serving three years in the United States Marine Corps, Gene attended Midland College receiving his B.S. in 1946. His first teaching and coaching job was at his hometown of Arlington, heading up all sports. He made the move to Elkhorn in 1949 where he hired on as assistant coach in all sports and taught math. The next year he was moved up to head basketball and track coach. He got the head football job in 1951. To all this, he added the responsibilities of athletic director until 1955 when he left teaching for private business. The lure of the classroom brought him back to education in 1960 when he returned to Elkhorn as a coach of all sports, athletic director, and math teacher. Over the next 15 years he gradually eased out of coaching one sport at a time but remained as AD until 1980. His track teams garnered several district championships with two winning the state runner-up trophy. He was selected as North All-Star basketball coach in 1970.
Touted as one of the best all-around athlete ever produced by a Nebraska high school. Les earned seven letters in a high school career cut short by signing a major league baseball contract. High school honors included All-State in football for three years. He was a member of the basketball team that won the conference three straight years with a record of 46-7, that included a 37 game win streak. An above average sprinter in track he won the 220 in the 1909 State Meet. In a time when the rules about professional athletes were a bit different, Les attended Springfield College in the off-season where he received All-American honors in football. Called up by the Boston Braves in 1913, he started his compilation of a lifetime batting average of .282. Les was considered one of the heroes in the 1914 World Series Championship by the Braves. He went on to play with several other major league teams and held the off-season job of Physical Education Director at Rice. Later on served as basketball coach at Indiana and then back to Springfield. He was an originator of baseball schools and was instrumental in getting baseball as a sport in the 1936 Olympics. Les passed away in January of 1962. Les Mann’s Big League Career Games Average HR RBI Career 1493 .282 44 503 World Series 9 .241 0 3
Mann was platooned in the outfield of the 1914 World Champion Braves; the next year he jumped to the Federal League and led that circuit with 19 triples. He headed a player revolt for better shares in the 1918 WS as a member of the pennant-winning Cubs. He batted over .300 six times, mostly as a reserve; in his three seasons with the Cardinals (1921-23), he hit .328, .347, and .371. He turned in Giant pitcher Phil Douglas for writing him a letter inviting a bribe in 1922. After his playing days, Mann formed the National Amateur Baseball Association. In 1936, he persuaded the World Olympic Committee to add baseball as an exhibition event; two American teams puzzled a throng of Germans, who formed a larger crowd than had ever attended a World Series game.
Gail Peterson created a cross country dynasty in the little town of Crofton where his teams won 15 state championships and claimed the runner-up trophy another eight times. His girls teams won nine state titles, including eight straight from 1981-88. The boys teams won six state titles between 1977 and 1991. He coached two two-time state cross country champions: Karla Kube (1983/1985) and Delwyn Hennings (1976-77). His boys teams qualified for the state meet 36 of the 38 years he coached at Crofton. He also coached two years at Cortland. He fulfilled other coaching duties along the way as well.
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.