Over a 40-year career, Dick Morrissey became one of the most recognized and most respected referees in Nebraska while officiating from 1972-2013. Also busy in the collegiate ranks, Morrissey worked approximately 300 football and 1,300 basketball games. He was selected to officiate 10 state basketball tournaments and drew the state championship game five times. On the football field, he was selected to work playoff games in 20 years, including the 1991 state championship between Battle Creek and Norfolk Catholic. He has served as a supervisor of officials for the Metro and River Cities Conferences and has continued to mentor and advance referees since his retirement.
Inducted in 2018
North Platte (Class of 1944)
“Bullet” Jack McCartney blended speed, drive and a change of pace that made him one of the most dangerous football players of his time. Tagged as Nebraska’s best high school athlete in his sophomore year, McCartney made a name for himself in track, winning all-class gold medals in the 100- and 220-yard dashes as well as the broad jump during his junior season. An injury prevented him from defending his titles his senior year. All-state in football and a three-year basketball letterman, McCartney served in the Navy before playing football at Northwestern University. After suffering a fractured pelvis, he transferred to the University of Nebraska to complete his college education.
A devotion to the sport of basketball and a pursuit of excellence helped Duane Mendlik put together a career of more than 650 victories ╨ second-highest in Nebraska boys basketball history. A 35-year stint at West Point Central Catholic and a decade at Wisner-Pilger resulted in 15 state-tournament appearances. He coached West Point Central Catholic to back-to-back state championships in 1998 and 1999 and a runner-up finish in 2003. He also has coached football and boys golf.
Few can match the diverse success enjoyed by John Miller. A 36-year coaching career garnered seven state championships and more than 700 victories in girls’ and boys’ basketball and football. His longest tenure came as the Chambers girls’ basketball coach where his teams won five state championships, four runner-up trophies and 585 games. The Coyotes put together an 87-game win streak. After 30 years coaching girls at Chambers, he moved to boys’ basketball, first at Chambers/Wheeler Central then Southern Valley. In six years at Southern Valley, his teams notched 124 wins and captured Class C2 state championship in 2014. Miller also coached the Chambers football team for 13 years, winning 77 games and the 2007 state title.
At Centura High School, Kathy Mettenbrink was simply known as “Coach.” Her 34-year career as the Centurions girls basketball coach resulted in 549 wins, 11 state tournament appearances and two runner-up finishes. But her biggest accomplishments can’t be quantified by numbers. “She turned a lot of average players into great ones,” one of her players said. Despite its small size, Centura saw more than its share of girls become college basketball players. Mettenbrink put her all into coaching. Starting in elementary school, where she taught physical education, Mettenbrink challenged her girls physically and mentally, teaching integrity, hard work, respect, perseverance and teamwork.
Superior (Class of 1980)
When Rick Meyer spins around, the discus usually sails a long way. By the time he was named the Hastings Tribune’s Prep Athlete of the Year in 1980, Meyer had already embarked on a record-setting career. The first Nebraska prepster to eclipse the 190-foot mark, Meyer won the all-class gold medal as a junior and the Class B gold medal as a senior. Also all-area in football and basketball, Meyer accepted a track scholarship to the University of Houston where he was a three-time Southwest Conference champion, a five-time All-American (twice in the shot put) and the NCAA champion in 1985 and runner-up in 1983. His senior year he set the NCAA meet record of 209-10. Ranked in the top 10 in the U.S. for nine years, Meyer placed fifth in the Goodwill Games in Moscow in 1986 and was an alternate for the Olympics in 1992. His younger brother, Andy, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.
Wayne (Class of 1963)
Don Meyer made his mark nationally as a successful and legendary college basketball coach, setting a record with 923 wins at Hamline (MN) University, Lipscomb (TN) University and Northern State (SD), but his playing accomplishments can’t be overlooked. The only player at Wayne High School to have his jersey retired, Meyer averaged 20 points per game as a junior and 26.5 points per game as a senior for teams that were a combined 32-5. He also starred as a pitcher on Wayne’s first high school team and its American Legion team. At the University of Northern Colorado, Meyer was a four-year starter in basketball, leading the Bears in scoring his junior and senior seasons. He also went 22-2 as a pitcher on the UNC baseball team that nearly qualified for the College World Series. He has been inducted into Wayne High School, Northern Colorado and the NAIA Halls of Fame, and is the subject of the movie, My Many Sons.
Sidney (Class of 1952)
Jon McWilliams was noted for his speed. Labeled “Greased Lighting” after a three-touchdown performance against Oshkosh, the Sidney senior sprinted to Class B all-state honors in football and the 120-yard high hurdles silver medal at the state track meet, helping his team win the state title. McWilliams, who lettered all four years in high school in all three sports, was also a mainstay on the basketball team. Selected as Western Nebraska’s Football MVP by the Scottsbluff Star-Herald, McWilliams went on to earn All-Big Seven honors at Nebraska after being switched to end. One of the first black players of the modern era, McWilliams was a three-year letterman in football and ran track for the Huskers. He played one year for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the Canadian Football League.
Athlete Arapahoe High School won the Nebraska State Boys Track & Field Championship three years in a row: 1949, 1950 and 1951,Class C, due for the most part to the contributions at the State Track Meets from one of the all-time best all-around athletes in the state. His consistency was remarkable throughout his years in high school up through his graduation year of 1951, prompting The Omaha World-Herald to begin its annual athlete of the year award with Hoppy McCue in 1951. State meet success: 11 first places and five gold medals and three team championships for Arapahoe. He won at least one state meet race for four consecutive years. Twice he was named all-state in football and three times in basketball. Memorable to those in attendance at the state track meets within Memorial Stadium in Lincoln were these words from the stadium announcer: “And the winner is McCue of Arapahoe”. In a teacher-coach-administrator career, Alma Superintendent McCue served high school sports as a member of the Nebraska School Activities Association Board of Control.
Coach. Nicknamed “Dr. Victory” his career win record was 200-81-4 made him second only to Eddie Robinson of Grambling as the winningest Division 1-AA coach at the time of his retirement. Darrell coached every level of the sport from peewee’s to high school, college and one professional team. The 1946 South High graduate played his college sports at Peru State where he lettered in football, basketball, and track. His first coaching job was at Tekamah where he coached all sports. From there he went on to coach in college, starting at Huron, then Northern Colorado, Adams State, then North Dakota State. He left the college scene in 1966 to give the pros a try coaching the Montreal Alouettes for one year. In 1967 he returned to the college ranks heading the program at the University of Arizona. From there it was to Western Illinois, Florida State, Eastern Illinois and finished at the University of Northern Iowa. Darrell earned his Doctor of Education degree in 1965 at Northern Colorado U. , his thesis was “ Study of Current College Football Coaching Practices in Light of Selected Theories of Learning.” This was later published in book form as Freedom in the Huddle, a psychology of coaching textbook. Darrell retired from active coaching in 1988 and he and his wife now reside in Florida.