Athlete. 1974. First Burke player to receive a full scholarship to UNL in football. Three-year football and basketball letterman at Omaha Burke. All-State. Solid defensive career at UNL, including captain of the Blackshirt defense his senior year. Both academic and football All-American. Drafted in NFL first round by Los Angeles Rams and played linebacker from 1979 to 1986, which included the 1979 Super Bowl. Member of UNL football hall of fame. Omaha Burke outstanding graduate award.
Coach. Allen had a highly successful stint as a gymnast at Lincoln High and UNL. He was Big 8 parallel bars champion in 1964 and a national finalist from 1962-64 with a top finish of fourth place in 1964.
His signicant contribution to high school sports came during his UNL coaching career where he took over the head coaching reins at UNL from his old mentor, Jake Geier in 1969. Francis went on to establish an enviable record in the college gymnastics, all the while maintaining a positive influence on the high school gymnastics scene. He has coached eight national championships (including five in a row), seven national runner-up finishes, 41 individual national titles, 11 Olympians, and 14 conference titles. A three-time national coach of the year, he led the Huskers to 17 straight NCAA Championship appearances from 1978 to 1995. The Huskers have competed in 21 of the last 27 NCAA Championships. Individually, his athletes have earned 162 All-America awards, won by 42 different gymnasts. And 14 Huskers have captured NCAA individual titles. Twice named to coach the U.S. Olympic Gymnastic team, he also received the College Gymnastics Association Honor Coach Award. Francis is presently serving his third term as College Gymnastics Association President.
Known for his sign-off: “Have a good day the rest of this one, a good tomorrow and take care of yourself,” Ahmann was the primary face and voice of Nebraska high school sports while hosting KOLN/KGIN’s Friday night Sports Roundup from 1972 to 1980. Ahmann has also worked as a broadcaster in Lexington, North Platte, Sioux City and Wayne, as well as in Iowa and Michigan. He called the 1966 “Game of the Century” between Michigan State and Notre Dame. Throughout his radio/tv career, high school sports got first-class treatment. At 74, Mark was still active at the station hosting the morning show “The View from Wayne America” each weekday. He continues to do play by play calling for many of the high school and college games. Mark is a local celebrity who emcees many events in Wayne and throughout the state.
He is a long time employee of the Wayne KTCH station and was general manager at one time.
Coach. Curlee Alexander won the 115-pound NAIA National Wrestling Championship in 1969 for the University of Nebraska at Omaha and turned that experience into a highly successful coaching career. He started at Omaha Tech in 1971, then moved to Omaha North in 1984. Alexander coached more than 50 individual state champions before retiring in 2008. His teams claimed seven state championships, in 1978 at Tech and 1985, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1999 at North. The two schools also claimed four runner-up trophies while under his direction. He was a four-time Metro Coach of the Year, the 1990 Nebraska Scholastic Wrestling Coaches Association Coach of the Year and the 1994 Omaha World-Herald Boys Sports Coach of the Year. He was inducted into the UNO Hall of Fame in 1986.