Contributor. His 36 years as a sportswriter and sports editor at the Norfolk Daily News from 1961-1997 touched the lives of a couple of generations of high school athletes, their coaches and their fans. His coverage of all sports, particularly during the transition period of girls in sports, included ratings, rankings, charts, headlines, special sections for small schools as well as the larger ones in the coverage area. His well-chosen words touched all sports as the following honors show: NSAA Distinguished Service Award, Coaches Association Friend of High School Sports, Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame, Northeast Nebraska track and field achievement award, American Legion Post 16 baseball award, Norfolk Coaches Association Outstanding Service Award, Golden Gloves Boxing Outstanding Journalism Award and the Associated Press Sportswriter of the Year award. High School: Sioux Falls (SD) Washington. College: University of South Dakota, Augustana College.
Athlete. Class of 1994. Sarah (Fredstrom) Secrest hit a home run in high school athletics. A four-time state champion in doubles in tennis and an all-state basketball player, the 1994 Omaha World-Herald Female Athlete of the Year was a big hit in softball. Even though it was not a sanctioned sport until her senior year, Fredstrom had established herself as a standout at the club level. As a senior, she hit seven home runs, seven triples and seven doubles while batting .592. She was named the honorary captain of the all-state team. At Colorado State University, she set almost every hitting record as a four-year starter at shortstop. The Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year in 1994 and an All-American in 1997, she was an all-conference selection three times and finished her career batting .367 with 32 home runs, 15 triples, 51 doubles and 183 RBIs.
Lauded for building character and producing teams that played beyond their potential and rose to high levels of competition, John Faiman made his mark on countless athletes through a 48-year career that included 38 years as a head football coach at David City (4 years), McCook (2), Omaha South (6) and Bellevue West (26). His career also included 10 years as a college assistant coach at Washington State, Missouri, Utah and Kansas State. His Omaha South team claimed a Metro Conference title and he led Bellevue West to an undefeated (9-0) regular season. At Bellevue West, his teams qualified for the playoffs in nine of 10 years, and in 2011, at age 70, he was believed to be the oldest head coach to take a team to the playoffs. A high school All-American quarterback, he started for the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Coach Bob Devaney’s first game as head coach, but a broken leg in practice ended his playing career.
Because Gerald was one of the most recognized athletes of his era, people came to games just to watch him play. An “every-sport standout,” Gerald W. Ferguson led Scottsbluff High School to an undefeated season and the mythical state football title in 1945. All-State in football for two years and All Big Ten in basketball twice, he also won the Class A long jump and placed in the shot put at the state track meet. At Nebraska he was a three-year football letterman playing halfback. He coached high school sports at Fairbury and in California until retiring in 1988.
Kelly Flynn built a girls basketball dynasty at South Sioux City, ruling Class B for more than a decade, winning 11 state championships – 10 in the 11 years from 1995 to 2005. The Cardinals finished second in 1999. Flynn coached at South Sioux City for 27 years, piling up 508 career wins and 17 state tournament appearances. The Cardinals were nationally ranked for eight years, earning a No. 1 ranking in USA Today in 2001. Flynn was named national Coach of the Year in 2012 and was a national Coach of the Year runner-up in 2003. He coached in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-American Game in 2003 in Atlanta and the McDonald’s All-American Game in 2005 in Indiana.
Coach/Athlete. This well-known member of the famous Nebraska Fischer family of athletes was a fine athlete himself, reaching all-state status as a halfback in 1942 in six-man football for St. Edward High School. Also a member of the Cornhusker teams of the 1940s, he played professional football for the New York Giants in 1949. As a high school coach he did well at Columbus St. Bonaventure, but reached the top when coaching the Omaha South High School Packers of 1958 to an undefeated season on the gridiron with one tie with the state co-champion. Most auspicious was his coaching at the college level, a 26-year coaching career on Nebraska’s staff, building the offensive line for the 1970-71 national championship teams.