2011: Clarence & Helen Swanson Family


Clarence and Helen Swanson Family: Clockwise from bottom left: Tom Ruud,Jamie Ruud, Bo Ruud , Barret Ruud, Kim Ruud, Helen and Clarence Swanson, Jim Swanson, Joan Swanson, Will Stalder, Jenny Stalder, Wallis Stalder, Bill Stalder, Bob Martin, Anne Martin, Jay Martin, Lee Martin, Sheri Martin, Steve Torrence, Brett Torrence, Kay Torrence, Hallie Torrence, Bottom L to R: Lisa Debuse, Helen Debuse, Moe Druliner, Max Druliner, Jeri Druliner, Abby Burton, Rachel Burton Back; Jim Debuse, Chip Debuse, Any Druliner, Jim Druliner, Bill Burton.


Fischer Family Award

Clarence and Helen Swanson Family

What started with the Hall of Fame career of Clarence Swanson of Wakefield led to descendants actively involved in high school athletes, including numerous all-state honors, gold medals, state championships, Husker football careers and NFL careers.

Clarence started it all with a football career that earned College Football, Nebraska Football and Nebraska High School Hall of Fame recognition. His son Jim played on the Lincoln High state championship basketball team of 1942-43 and the Northwest Missouri State Hall of Fame football team of 1944. Clarence’s granddaughter, Sheri, married Nebraska and NFL football player Bob Martin, and their children – Lee, Jay and Anne – won more than half a dozen gold medals at the state track meet and continued their careers on the Husker track and football teams. Clarence’s granddaughter Jaime married Husker/NFL star Tom Ruud, and their sons, Barrett and Bo, have made their way through Husker football to the NFL. A third granddaughter, Kay, and husband Steve Torrence are the parents of Brett, a college basketball player in Minnesota.

2012: John & Connie Makovicka Family


The John and Connie Makovicka family moved easily from the playing fields of Nebraska’s smallest high schools to the national spotlight. The family legacy started with John’s all-around athletic ability resulting in 12 letters in football, baseball and track at Kearney State College. He set the school record for touchdowns in 1970 when he was the national scoring champion.

His children — Jennifer, Jeffrey, Joel, Justin and Jordan — followed in their father’s footsteps, starring at Brainard East Butler and in college. For the East Butler football team, the four boys rushed for a combined 15,676 yards and hold four of the top five places in the school’s list of top rushers. Jennifer set the school’s basketball scoring record.

All four boys went on to play football for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Jeffrey started at fullback for the 1995 national championship team, while Joel started in 1997 and 1998, having played for on all three national championship teams. Jeffrey and Joel went on to play in the NFL, while Jordan changed sports to play baseball at Creighton. Jennifer played softball at Kearney State, playing on the Lopers’ NAIA national championship team of 1990.

2013: Al & Patti Bahe Family

The Bahe Family legacy of exceptional athletes, outstanding coaches, and supportive fans started with Al’s all-around athletic ability at Wayne Prep and then at Wayne State College. He turned his experiences into a coaching career that included stops at West Point and Central City before he put down roots for a coaching and administrative career at Fremont High School. There, Al coached his two oldest sons, Butch and Ritch. Both were three-sport athletes. Butch went on to play baseball at Wayne State and the University of Nebraska. Ritch went on to an athletic career playing football for the Huskers where he was the team’s leading receiver in 1973. Ritch was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals of the NFL. Youngest son, Chip, was a three-sport letterman at Fremont during Al’s tenure as athletic director. Chip also played for the Huskers, earning three letters before following in his father’s footsteps as a successful basketball coach in Nebraska. Their legacy continues to grow with the next generation. Ritch’s sons, Alex and Nick, have carried on the family name in athletics: Alex as a high school coach at Elkhorn and Elkhorn South and Nick as a basketball player at Kansas and Creighton before becoming a sports-radio talk show host. Al’s wife, Patti, and daughter, Cindy, shared their love of sports by being life-long dedicated fans, supporting their family, community and high school athletics.

2013 Family
Front L to R: Scott Bahe, Jan Bahe, Emily Bahe, Al and Patti Bahe, Raette Bahe, Nick Bahe Back L to R: Butch Bahe, Mic Boettner, Abby Boettner, Cindy Bahe Boettner, Jenny Bahe, Chip Bahe, Ritch Bahe, Alex Bahe. Not Pictured: Raylee Bahe, Madi Bahe.

2014: Bill & Dolores Kropp Family

Bill & Dolores Kropp FamilyBill & Dolores Kropp

From the NBA to professional beach volleyball to legends in the coaching ranks, the children and grandchildren of Bill and Delores Kropp have put their mark on high school athletics. Bill set the tone for the family, coaching basketball for 38 years at Norfolk, Dodge, Clarkson, Aurora, and Grand Island, winning 350 games in 24 years as a head coach. Son Tom, Nebraska’s first athlete inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame, starred in multiple sports and was drafted by the NFL, the NBA, and Major League Baseball. He played briefly in the NBA then for four years in Belgium. He returned to Nebraska, coaching the University of Nebraska at Kearney basketball team for more than 25 years. Tom’s brother, John was also a multi-sport athlete, playing in the Shrine Bowl football game, and then earning four letters playing for the Kearney State College Basketball team.  John’s daughter, Jenny, made her mark on the volleyball court, earning All-American honors and playing on the Nebraska Cornhusker’s national championship team in 2000. She played professionally in Puerto Rico then became one of the top-ranked players in Professional Beach Volleyball. Her brothers, Pete and Jay, played college football at UNK where Tom’s daughter, Dominique, was on the tennis team. Bill and Delores’ daughter, Mary, married Stan Greenfield, the all-time leading scorer for the Rockford (Ill.) College basketball team, and a successful coach at St. Paul and Aurora High Schools.

Kropp Family

2015: Arnold and MaryAnn Thiele Family

Arnold and MaryAnn Thiele Family

On the basketball court, volleyball court, golf course, or anywhere else prep athletes compete for championships, you can find the children and grandchildren of MaryAnn and the late Arnold Thiele.  Their eight children, Bill, Bonnie, Tom, Ron, Ken, Carolyn, Kevin and Tim participated in a wide variety of activities in high school.  Bill graduated from Elgin Pope John and the others from Clearwater, where the brothers played key roles in the Clearwater basketball dynasty that produced four straight state championships.  Carolyn also enjoyed a state basketball title with the Cardinals.  Ken went on to play basketball at Northeast Technical Community College while Carolyn, Kevin and Tim played basketball at Kearney State College.  The next generation, some of whom are yet to arrive on the scene, have carried on the family tradition, playing at Clearwater, Elgin Pope John, Wahoo Neumann, Aurora, Kearney Catholic and Gibbon High Schools.  The family has contributed to 11 high school state team championships and won five individual gold medals.  Alicia, Rons daughter, played basketball at Nebraska Wesleyan and Taylor, Kens daughter, was a state hurdles champion and currently plays volleyball at Bradley.  But many of the Thiele grandchildren found their niche on the golf course, winning high school, junior amateur and mens amateur titles.  Morgan, Tims daughter,  Jordan, Josh and Rylee Reinertson, Carolyns sons, were state golf champions.  Mandi Hoefer, Bonnies daughter, competed at Nebraska Wesleyan, Haley, Kevins daughter, has followed Jordan and Josh Reinertson to Nebraska, and Rylee Reinertson blazed a trail to the Oklahoma Sooners.