Richard “Richie” Ross- Lincoln High

Athlete- 2019  (2000)

A gifted athlete in multiple sports, Richie Ross earned All-Class, All-State honors in football and basketball and was the All-Class gold-medal winner in the triple jump at the State Track meet.  The consensus 2000 Nebraska High School Athlete of the Year, Ross earned nine varsity letters at Lincoln High, established school single-season and career receiving records in football and set school single-season and single-game (49) scoring records on the basketball court.  He signed with the University of South Dakota to play basketball, appearing in 18 games his freshman year before transferring to the University of Nebraska at Kearney to play football, becoming an NCAA Division II All-American and record-setting receiver, catching 50 touchdown passes in 44 games.  He netted 4,882 receiving yards on 279 receptions at UNK.  Ross signed with the NFL’s Houston Texans, but injuries ended his professional career.

Diane Rouzee-Grand Island Northwest


Diane Rouzee’s 30-year career as head volleyball coach of Grand Island Northwest produced three state championships, six runner-up finishes, 23 trips to the state tournament and a 768-183 record. The recipient of the National Coach of the Year Award in 2018, Rouzee retired with the eighth-highest win total in Nebraska history. Called a “second mother” by many of her players, she watched her teams establish state records for kills and digs in a match.  She has been on the coaching staff of the Nebraska Coaches Association All-Star Game three times, twice as head coach.

Rochelle Rohlfs-Omaha Marian


Rochelle Rohlfs forged Omaha Marian into a volleyball power, rolling up a 718-245 record in her 26 years as head coach. Her career included four state championships, four other state finals appearances and a total of 21 trips to the state tournament. She coached in the Nebraska Coaches Association All-Star Game three times and has won several Coach of the Year awards. An educator at heart who viewed coaching as teaching, she had eight of her former players go on to become head volleyball coaches at Nebraska high schools. She also had brief stints coaching soccer and track at Marian.

Katie Robinette Kock-South Sioux City


South Sioux City (Class of 2001)

Katie (Robinette) Kock collected almost every basketball honor available to a prep athlete. Her coach, Kelly Flynn, said she was a coach’s dream ╨ a great player and hard worker who never hesitated to help younger players improve their game. Her list of honors included prep All-American, Gatorade Player of the Year, four-time all-stater, and holder of several school records. She finished her career averaging more than 18 points and eight rebounds per game while leading the Cardinals to a 102-5 record, three state championships and a No. 1 national ranking in USA Today. She played collegiately at Nebraska and Iowa State, earning All-Big 12 second-team honors as a senior for the Cyclones.

Danis Richards Willet-Benkelman


Benkelman (Class of 1975)

Danis (Richards) Willet made the quarter-mile race her specialty, winning the Class C gold medal all four years and claiming all-class honors her junior and senior seasons. She finished her high school track career with 15 medals in the 440-, 880- and 220-yard dashes as well as the mile relay. At Kearney State College, she continued to set records, ranking in the top 25 of all collegiate runners and becoming the first Nebraska woman to break the 55-second barrier in the 400. Her career in track continued into her 30s where she won national titles in the 100, 200 and 400 and won the National Outstanding Female Athlete Award in her age group in 1991.

Barrett Ruud-Lincoln Southeast

Lincoln Southeast (Class of 2001)
Touchdowns highlighted Barrett Ruud’s football career before tackles made him a pro. The cornerstone of three Lincoln Southeast state football championships, Ruud made the Knights varsity as a freshman, started as a sophomore and set school career records with 2,988 rushing yards and 54 touchdowns. The Lincoln Journal-Star’s Athlete of the Year in 2001, Ruud was a three-year letterman and a two-time all-state honorable mention all-state selection in basketball. A third-generation Husker football standout, he was a 4-year letterman at linebacker, setting a single-season and career record for tackles. He went on to play eight years in the NFL, making more than 100 tackles in half of those years.

KEVIN RAMAEKERS – Norfolk Catholic

Norfolk Catholic (Class of 1988)






Good at everything he did, Kevin Ramaekers locked up the Athlete of the Year award in 1988 by earning all-state honors in football, winning gold at the state wrestling meet and winning the all-class gold medal in the shot put at the state track meet. A Bally All-American in 1987, he helped Norfolk Catholic reach the state championship game his senior year, concluding a career where he was a two-time all-class, all-state player. On the wrestling mat, he finished third at state as a sophomore and a junior before winning his senior season. Posting the fourth-best shot-put mark in state history, he won back-to-back all-class gold medals. A three-year mainstay on the defensive line at Nebraska, Ramaekers earned All-Big Eight honors as a senior and was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 2007.

Susan Roll – Chadron

Athlete, 1984 graduate. Susan Roll was a three-sport standout and a three time Nebraska state high school individual gold medal champion in girls golf, Susan led her Chadron High team to four consecutive team championships. In the winter months, she was involved in basketball and garnered All Conference recognition in 1983 and 1984. She competed in track and field during the spring months and was a member of the Class B State Championship track team in 1984.

After high school, she accepted a full ride at the University of Wyoming in golf and in her four years there she picked up All Conference honors in 1987 and 1989. Besides the athletic honors, Susan received the All Conference Academic Achievement Award and was on the Dean’s Honor Roll. She turned professional in 1990 with a rare double certification as a Class A member-in both the PGA and the LPGA. Susan is now the West Coast Equipment Manager of “Golf For Women” magazine. In addition to her sales and marketing responsibilities, she actively participates in the magazine’s nationwide programs and clinics promoting women’s golf and their associated charity events in raising breast cancer awareness.

Co-owner of Carlsbad Golf Center earns LPGA national award for boosting the business


Susan Roll, co-owner of the Carlsbad Golf Center, pays as much attention to manicured grass and picnic benches as she does to buying new mats and educating her patrons on custom-fit equipment.

Recognized by the LPGA Teaching & Club Professional organization for her devotion to the golf business, Roll was named the National Professional of the Year for 2005.


The honor is the latest of many, including national finalist for the 2005 PGA Merchandiser of the Year award for public facilities. Also, the Carlsbad Golf Center was voted a Top 25 Shop in the USA by Golf for Women magazine and a Top 100 Range in the USA by Golf Range magazine.

Roll and Dana Chaiken purchased the practice facility and pro shop less than three years ago, fulfilling Roll’s dream to own her own business. “When you get to go to work every day and love what you do, it’s great,” Roll said. “I haven’t worked a day in three years.”

Roll’s staff can sense her enthusiasm. “To come into work is an energy boost every day,” said Kathy Wake, head pro at the golf center.

Wake, president of the LPGA Teaching & Club Professional Western Section, said the Professional of the Year award recognizes the top leader in the LPGA who grows the game at the business level. Wake won Professional of the Year in 1997 but considers Roll to be her mentor.

Roll, 38, began competing in golf tournaments at age 9. Her high school team in Nebraska won the state team competition all four years she played, and she was individual state champion her sophomore, junior and senior years. In 2003, Roll was inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame.

At the University of Wyoming, Roll was all-conference four years in a row.

Out of college she toyed with work in every aspect of the game. She coached the women’s team at Regis College in Denver, then worked as a head pro. She also held jobs in marketing, sales, design team and manufacturing.

Roll never toured, however. “I love the business side,” Roll said. “I admire people who go on tour.”  Her business stresses customer service and educating buyers in custom-fit equipment, using a launch monitor to determine how to optimize ball flight.

The Carlsbad Golf Center is also active in the community, hosting blood drives and Toys for Tots collections as well as inviting athletes from the Special Olympics and YMCA to use the driving range.

Of the center’s seven golf pros, Roll, Wake and Sheri Hayes are PGA and LPGA members. Even more unusual, Carlsbad golf has a woman grounds superintendent, Robbin Muller.

One of the pros on the Carlsbad staff, Shay Blechynden has given lessons at the range since it opened under different management in 1995. He saw the business change hands several times and said Roll and Chaiken have the best management style.  “They believe in quality,” Blechynden said. “When Susan and Dana took over, they restocked with quality merchandise and remodeled the shop. The range-ball quality even improved.”

Jim Riley – Lincoln

Contributor.  Jim Riley served in the field of education for 44 years and in the Nebraska School Activities Association for 31 years. Riley was hired as Assistant Executive Director for the NSAA on Aug. 1, 1970, and was promoted to Executive Director in August 1976. The NSAA staff grew from three employees to 11 full-time employees during Riley’s tenure. Also, the NSAA sponsored six sports in 1970 and had grown to 21 by 2001, including non-sport activities. Riley retired in September 2001, completing a 25-year reign as Executive Director. In 2002, Riley was given the NSAA Distinguished Service Award for his work with the NSAA. Valuable contributor to the national high school scene through committee/advisory work with the National Federation of State High School Associations.


Phyllis Rice-Honnor – Centennial

Coach.  In 30 years as volleyball coach at Centennial, Phyllis (Rice) Honnor posted a 459-151 record and led her team to the state tournament 12 times. Centennial won state championships in 1984, 1985 and 1987 and finished second in 1998. Her teams won 14 subdistrict and 12 district championships. Centennial’s volleyball team was ranked in the top six from 1980 to 1992 and from 1997 to 1999. Rice-Honnor was also the Centennial track coach from 1971 to 1987, coaching at least one state medalist in 10 of those years. She also served as head basketball coach for one season. Rice-Honnor was named the Lincoln Journal Star Female Coach of the Year for 1987-1988. She was also nominated for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 1983, 1986 and 1988.