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.
Official. Though he was known by his many friends within Nebraska high school sports as Junior; his fair and long-term officiating was certainly of senior quality and was his coaching on both the junior and senior high levels which gave him valuable insight into the nature of the contests. He started officiating in 1937 and for nearly half a century, during the better part of six different decades of the 20th century, he served Nebraska schools as a reliable and dependable official, especially for the sport of basketball, football and volleyball. He was an official at the state championships of those sports and also a helpful official in track & field. His years of service as an official included: basketball from 1937 to 1981, football from 1948 to 1980, track from 1948 to 1986 and volleyball from 1973-1986.
Contributor. A longtime coach and athletic director at Lincoln Southeast, Wally McNaught was involved in high school sports for more than 45 years. He coached football, basketball and track while at Harvard, Crete, Omaha Bryan and Southeast. He led Lincoln Southeast to the state basketball tournament (boys) five times, finishing second twice. While he was athletic director at Southeast from 1985 to 1993, the Knights established a dynasty, winning 27 state team championships. McNaught served as an officer in the Nebraska Coaches Association and the Nebraska Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association. He has been recognized as “giving birth” to the Nebraska Coaches Association All-Star Basketball Game and served as a director for the Cornhusker State Games. McNaught has won several professional awards and honors and has been a member of the Hall of Fame Board of Directors since 1997, serving as president from 2005 to 2007.
A typical McNaught thought: “There’s a perspective beyond winning that helps me over the rough spots. There are doubts and discouragement that go with the territory. But tomorrow you wake up and it’s a new day and you gain more perspective on how appreciative you should be in having as good a job as teaching and coaching.” He died in 2014.