Jill Noel Korta – Lincoln Pius X

Athlete. Jill could possibly have been the first four-time state girl’s cross country champion had that sport been sanctioned by the NSAA in 1979, her freshman year at York. So she ran with the boys that year and finished second in her first race. In her next three years, she never lost a race in girls cross country and only one in girls track and field. She was the all-class gold medal champion in the first girls state high school cross country meet. She continued her efforts in track and field and accumulated eleven state medals.  She was selected all-state, all-city, and all-academic in both cross country and track and was a varsity letter winner all four years in cross country and track. Jill represented the state of Nebraska and finished second in the National High School Cross Country Meet in Albuquerque New Mexico in 1983. She went on to compete for UNL and paced the Husker women in their first Big 8 cross country championship. She earned eight varsity letters at Nebraska and won Big 8 and All-American academic honors, reaching the dean’s list all four years in school.

Roger Sayers – Omaha Central

Class of 1959–Competing in an era where most athletes received a catchy nickname, Rocket Roger Sayers first showed a knack for speed as an Omaha Central athlete in 1957-58-59, winning 100-220 gold medals in 1958, the 220 and a relay gold in 1959. He starred at Omaha University in football and track for four years. Named the state college athlete of the year in 1962. Took his sprinting career to the international scene by running with the United States national team in 1962, going against the Russian and Polish teams.

 

Kathy Travis Miiller – Lincoln Christian

Athlete.  Bottom line in the outstanding high school track career for Kathy (Travis) Miiller: She never lost an individual race during an NSAA-sanctioned event. She also was a volleyball all-stater and the female high school athlete of the year in 1991. In her four starring years of track at Lincoln Christian, she led her team to three state championships and one runner-up finish. She was a 14-time state champion at the state track meet, with nine of those all-class gold medal performances, including a Class C record in the 400. At the University of Nebraska, she lettered four years and won 12 Big Eight championships. She was All-American six different times in relays and sprint races. Lives in Bismark, ND.

Scott Bream – Millard South

2011 Inductee Class of 1989
Athlete
Scott Bream’s eight-year minor league baseball career had its moments but was limited by injuries. But nothing slowed the Millard South star in high school. He earned All-Metro honors at quarterback and all-state honors as a shortstop, and he started at point guard on Millard South’s undefeated state championship basketball team. The captain of the all-state baseball team his senior season, he hit .493 with eight home runs, 10 triples and 26 stolen bases. He had scholarship offers in football and baseball, eventually signing to play baseball for Creighton, but signed with the San Diego Padres after being selected in the second round of the baseball draft. Back surgery limited him to 32 games his first two years in the minors, but he recovered and reached the triple-A level before retiring in 1998.

Leo McKillip – McCook

InducteeAthlete. Several political legends and public servants have walked within the fair city of McCook, Nebraska, but this 1947 graduate of McCook High School is one of the leading athletic legends. Known as a triple-threat in the high school sports of football, basketball and track; he helped the Bison run roughshod over opposition on the gridiron for three years with a football record of 24 wins, 4 losses and 1 tie; including the state championship year of 1946. Interestingly, he was named all-state his last year as a quarterback and all-state the previous year as a fullback. Also named to all-state level in basketball, playing in the state tournament three times. His impact upon high school track & field was a lasting one as both a sprinter and a hurdler, once holding the state record in the high hurdles.

Omaha World-Herald 12.28.2013:

Leo McKillip was a high school star in McCook, played football at Notre Dame and brought a Dana College football program to life.

But his favorite stories always took place off the field, said his son, Blaine.

“He was really focused on how to develop people through sports,” Blaine McKillip said.

The elder McKillip, 84, died Tuesday from complications after a fall.

William “Leo” McKillip’s athletic exploits stretch back to his high school days in McCook from 1944 to 1947. He started four years in both basketball and football and won several gold medals in track.

He was part of the football team that was named Class A state champion in 1946, and his basketball team reached state three times.

He also played baseball.

McKillip disappointed many in Nebraska when he decided to play football for Frank Leahy at Notre Dame. Leahy had learned under another Irish legend, Knute Rockne.

“He knew even then he wanted to coach. And he wanted to learn from the best, so he played for Leahy,” Blaine Mc­Killip said. “When Notre Dame played Nebraska (in 1948), he got booed.”

McKillip lettered in 1948 and 1950 at Notre Dame.

“As a kid, we had pictures of him going out to USC games. Pictures with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and things like that,” Blaine McKillip said. “We had pictures of him scoring touchdowns, which is kind of neat.”

He also ran track for the Irish.

McKillip coached at Kimball High School, Idaho State and St. Mary’s College (Calif.) and was a defensive coordinator at Edmonton and Winnipeg in the Canadian Football League and with the Washington Federals of the short-lived USFL in the 1980s.

He came back to Nebraska to retire, but served as the head football coach for eight years and athletic director at now-closed Dana College in Blair, Neb. Only 30 players showed up for his first practice in 1985, but in 1987, the Vikings reached the NAIA Division II national playoffs.

McKillip was chosen as The World-Herald small-college coach of the year following that season.

He’d tell his children, “In coaching you are either in the penthouse or outhouse, and I’ve been in both places.”

McKillip, who had a doctorate in education, kept in touch with many of his former athletes, especially those at Dana.

His athletes were at the center of some of McKillip’s funniest stories, his son said.

When he was at Idaho State, the whole team purchased horns during a visit to a shopping center while on a bowl trip.

“Then they’d go into another store and start honking from throughout the store,” his son said.

“He never talked about the games. He talked about how much fun they had as a team.”

McKillip was inducted into the Nebraska High School Hall of Fame in 1996, the Dana Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 2011.

The 2011 event was special to granddaughters Molly and Madeline because former Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne came over and talked to them about what a great coach their grandfather was and how he’d listen to his exploits on the radio.

“It means a lot to them,” Blaine Mc­Killip said.

Blaine and his wife, Tracy, have five children and one grandson. McKillip also is survived by son Creighton, who played for his dad at Dana. McKillip’s wife, Patsy, died in 2000.

 

Glenn Presnell – DeWitt

Athlete.  An all-state football player from DeWitt, Glenn went on to UN-L where he was all-conference for two years and part of the team that beat Illinois and Red Grange in 1925.  After college Glenn moved on to pro football passing up a contract with the New York Giants to play for the Ironton, Ohio Tanks because they offered him a full-time teaching and coaching job in the school system.  When the Ironton franchise folded because of the depression, he moved to the Portsmouth Spartans.  In 1931 the Spartans moved to Detroit and became the Detroit Lions.  As a quarterback Glenn made All-Pro in 1931 and 1933.  Glenn led the Lions to the NFL  championship in 1935 beating the New York Giants 26-7.  At 5-10 and 190 pounds, the former Husker was a 60-minute player rushing for 2, 067 yards, passing for 2,317 yards and scoring 217 points in his career.  He kicked a 52-yard field goal in 1932, which stood as an NFL record for 19 years.  He returned to UN-L in 1938 as an assistant coach and became head coach in 1942 for one year.  After duty with the Army he took on the job of  head football coach and athletic director at Eastern Kentucky until his retirement in 1972.  Reaching the age of 98 this year Glenn is the oldest living NFL player and the oldest living ex-Nebraska football coach.  Glenn was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1973.   Settled in Ironton, Ohio.

 

Harold Scott – Lincoln High

Coach. Harold took the head coaching job in track at Lincoln High in 1954 and held that position longer than any other coach, nearly 30 years.  He organized the Links’ first cross-country team that year, pioneering that sport’s recognition in Nebraska.  Although he assisted in other sports he is best known for his compilation of records and history of track at Lincoln High and the state in general from 1899 on.  He also served as the president of the Nebraska Coaches Association and originated the L Club newsletter.

Larry Wachholtz – North Platte

Athlete. Larry was a three-sport athlete for the North Platte Bulldogs  (Class of 1963) and earned honors in all three.  He played offensive and defensive back for two years, then switched to quarterback his senior year while continuing to play defensive back.  When the Bulldogs won the state championship in 1962, Larry was a consensus all-state selection and tapped to play in the Shrine Bowl as halfback on offense and defensive back.  His Shrine Bowl teammates elected him co-captain of the North team.  In basketball he was named all-conference his junior and senior years and was the team’s leading scorer.  North Platte made it to the state tournament his senior year and lost in the quarterfinals, but Larry was selected on the Class A all-tournament team by the Scottsbluff, Kearney, Lincoln, and Omaha papers.  The Scottsbluff Star-Herald also placed him on its Class A All-State team.  The pole vault was his event in track where he tied for fourth in the state meet as a junior and tied for first his senior year.  In the district meet his senior year he broke a 26-year-old school record.  After receiving offers from 15 colleges, Larry chose UN-L.  Those were the days when freshman couldn’t play varsity ball so it wasn’t until his sophomore year that he earned his starting position on the Big Red.  Playing at defensive safety he also did punt returns and kicked PATs and field goals.  His junior year he was selected first-team All-Big 8 and second-team All-American as a defensive back.  Larry racked up a total of 452 yards on returns, which led the Big 8 and the nation until the last game where he lost the national title by seven yards. He made 36 of 39 PATs and 3 of 5 field goals for 45 total points.   He was chosen a co-captain his senior year and again led the Big 8 in punt return yards.  He was again All-Big 8, and this time first-team All-American. He won the Tom Novak Award presented to the outstanding senior.  He finished his Husker career with 788 punt return yards, eight field goals, and 11 pass interceptions including seven in one year. In 1967 he was named by the Omaha World-Herald to its All-Time Outstanding Football Team. In 1982 he was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame.

 

Ron Boone – Omaha Tech

Athlete. 1963 graduate of Omaha Technical High School, his high school career, perhaps stymied because he didn’t begin to get basketball height until his senior year, served as a springboard to a professional basketball career. He came off the bench and had some good games on the high school varsity in 1963 when Tech won a state championship. He was a ball-hawk and a passer, more than a scorer, as a junior. By his senior year, he began to put up a lot of points and laurels started coming his way.  Western Iowa and Idaho State were his college choices. There he then became a outstanding scorer and was drafted by the American Basketball League.  Boone played in 1,041 consecutive games as a pro. 662 of those games were in the American Basketball Association. The NBA refuses to recognize statistics from the ABA, which sent four teams to the NBA in 1976, so his feat never became a record. He was the ABA’s third all-time leading scorer — behind Dan Issel and Louis Dampier — and a four-time all-star.  Played for Dallas Chaparrals, Texas Chaparrals, Utah Stars, Spirits of St. Louis, Kansas City Kings, Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz.

Best moment as an athlete: “Any time you win a championship, it has to be your best personal moment. I did that in high school (1963) and with the Utah Stars in the ABA (1971).”

Picture: Ron Boone basketball card from Kansas City

(c) 1997 Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (Nov 18, 1997 – 16:59 EST) — Ron Boone never cared much for hoopla. He just played basketball, never missing a single game or even a practice during his entire college and pro career. “Nobody made a big deal out of it,” he said Tuesday. “I was just doing my job.”

That’s why the hype surrounding A.C. Green’s bid to break Randy Smith’s record of 906 consecutive NBA games puzzles Boone, now a 51-year-old radio and TV analyst for the Utah Jazz.

Boone thinks players with Green’s work ethic are the exception rather than the rule in today’s NBA. “There’s no doubt that the approach toward the game has changed,” he said. “Money has a great deal to do with whether guys take a chance on playing or not.”

Boone said he never even considered missing a game. In his second year in the ABA, he separated a shoulder and played with his arm heavily strapped. Several years later with the Utah Stars, he had another shoulder separation during the playoffs. He was treated with acupuncture and came back the next night to score 25 points.

“I could barely move my arm across my body.” he said.

Boone says proper conditioning is the key to staying healthy.

“Throughout my playing years I tried to stay in good shape and avoid getting sick,” he said. “There’s some luck involved, but it was mostly preparation.”

Boone attended Idaho State and began his pro career as an eighth-round draft pick of the ABA’s Dallas Chaparrals in 1968. Three years later, he won the ABA championship with the Utah Stars, an accomplishment he considers even more important than the streak.

“That’s the ultimate in team sports, so I treasure the the championship,” Boone said. “But I think people remember me for the streak, and I can’t complain about that.”

What most fail to realize is that the 6-foot-2 guard enjoyed an exceptional career, averaging 18.4 points, five rebounds and four assists per game in eight ABA seasons and 13.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists in his five NBA years. “When you talk about the ABA, the conversation always goes toward Julius Erving, George Gervin, Dan Issel,” Boone said. “That type of thing doesn’t bother me. I was always a low-key guy.”

Many recognize Omaha Tech’s 1963 basketball team as one of the greatest in Nebraska history.  However, few would have predicted that the undersized bundle of energy who came off the bench would be the one to go on to professional stardom.

Ron Boone, a 5-foot-8 junior on that 1963 Tech team, was often overshadowed by high school All-Americans Fred Hare and Joe Williams. But he learned the nuances of the game there, and with the help of a late growth spurt, went on to eventually become a four-time American Basketball Assocation all-star.

“I look back on the progress I made as a player, and it all started there at Tech,” he said.

Boone estimates he was 5-11 when he played one year at Iowa Western in Clarinda. By the time he made his debut with Idaho State he stood a full 6-2.

Boone developed into a scoring machine. He averaged a career-high 25.2 points in 1975 with the Utah Stars.

“I got taller and stronger and played more of a physical game,” he said.

He ranks third on the ABA career scoring list with 12,153 points, behind Louie Dampier and Dan Issel. He’s probably best known for his remarkable ABA-NBA record of 1,041 consecutive games. Twice he played with separated shoulders.

When he showed up in Pocatello, Idaho, in 1966 to continue his college career, pro basketball wasn’t even on the radar. By the time he finished his career under Claude Rutherford, it was.

Ray Knaub – Scottsbluff



Athlete
. Ray Knaub’s athleticism helped make Scottsbluff High School a threat in statewide competition and his track exploits put his name on the all-time charts as he dominated the high school Big Ten Conference. He won state track meet gold medals in the 100- and 220-yard dashes and ran on gold medal-winning 880-yard relays teams. He claimed a share of the state record in the 100 (9.8 second). In college, he was a member of Baylor University’s Southwest Conference championship track team, winning the 100 in the conference, in the Texas Relays and the Kansas Relays and reached championships status in the conference indoor 60-yard hurdles. Lives in Lakewood, CO.