At the time of his retirement in 2018, Tim Turbam ranked seventh in Nebraska’s football coaching ranks with 307 career victories. His storied coaching career (307-159-2), which began at Fairmont in 1972 and included a stint at David City before he took over the Bishop Neumann program in 1980. His Bishop Neumann career spanned 39 years. At Bishop Neumann, his teams won back-to-back state championships in 2002 and 2003 and reached the state championship game five other times. In all the Cavaliers qualified for the state playoffs 25 times, winning 11 district championships. Fifty-one of his players earned All-State Honors. Two players went on to play pro ball. Turman also coached track, with his teams winning three State Championships and finishing second once. His sons, Matt and Seth, followed him into the coaching ranks, coaching football and track.
Few football coaches lead a school to 100 victories. Carl Tesmer did it at two schools, climbing into the rarified air of 300-plus coaching victories. At the time of his induction, Tesmer had put together a 339-89-2 record, 39 winning seasons, 13 undefeated regular seasons and more than 25 top-ten teams in a 41-year career as head coach. He led his alma mater, GICC, to the state finals three times. He then won three state titles at St. Cecilia in 2000, 2009 and 2010. Known for his passion about coaching, Tesmer has a reputation for building up those around him.
Jim Tenopir took the path from small-town Nebraska to the peak of high school sports in the United States. The Chief Operating Officer of the National Federation of State High School Associations from 2010-15, Tenopir oversaw the day-to-day operations of the organization that governs high school sports across the nation. He drew on experience gained as the Nebraska School Activities Association Executive Director from 2001 to 2010 – a position he returned to in 2015. A Harvard High School graduate, Tenopir’s coaching and teaching career started at Otis-Benson High School in Kansas in 1970. He returned to Nebraska two years later as a coach, teacher and administrator at McCook. He went on to serve as the athletic director at Scottsbluff and superintendent at Cambridge before accepting his position with the NSAA. During his career he has tackled several difficult issues, including athlete safety and transgender rights.
Athlete, Class of 1976. In the early days of girls athletics, Laura Tietjen dominated. A four-year starter in volleyball and basketball, Tietjen made her mark early, scoring 30 points in her first basketball game as a freshman. Throughout her career she had multiple games of 40 points or more, twice scoring 49 points and twice more breaking the 50-point barrier. Tietjen’s 57 points against Ohiowa, stood as the Nebraska single-game scoring record for the next 12 years. In her senior season, Tietjen led Byron to a 14-0 record, averaging 38 points and 15 rebounds per game. An all-class, all-state selection, she went on to play at the University of Nebraska, setting a single-game records for free throws (14 of 14) and the single-season record for free-throw percentage (.861). Professionally, she served as coach and teacher at Columbus High School and the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She entered into athletics administration at UNK and in 1998 became only one of 19 female Athletics Directors in Division I while serving at the University of Evansville.
Athlete. Class of 1959. Larry Tomlinson earned his place in Nebraska history when he caught the first touchdown pass for the first touchdown of the Bob Devaney era with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The O’Neill St. Mary’s standout had more than one play in his career. Tomlinson earned all-state honors while leading St. Mary’s to a No. 1 eight-man ranking in 1958, catching 26 passes for 560 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also set school scoring records in basketball where he was a four-year starter and averaged more than 20 points per game his senior year. In track, he set school records in the mile, the 120-yard high hurdles, the 180-yard low hurdles, the shot put, the discus and the 880-yard relay. He finished second to Hall of Fame inductee Bob Hohn in the state pentathlon meet. In college, he lettered three years for the Cornhuskers, playing end and linebacker. He went on to play three seasons in the Canadian Football League.
Class of 1995
Ed Thompson wasn’t the typical small-town superstar, he was the prototype. Whether it was football, basketball or track, Thompson excelled on teams that excelled. A three-year starter at quarterback, Thompson led the Cambridge Trojans to a 38-1 record. He earned all-state honors on offense, defense and as a punter. In basketball, he made 17 free throws in the district final, most in the fourth quarter, to get his team to the state tournament. In track, he set three school records, medaled at state all four years and scored 28 points his junior year to lead the team to the state title. At the University of Nebraska at Omaha, he led the Mavericks to two North Central Conference championships and in 1997 became the first player in NCAA Division II to run and pass for 1,000 yards, a feat he repeated the following year.
LaVerne Torczon blazed a trail from Nebraska’s six-man fields to professional football where he earned the nickname “Tarzan Torczon” while playing for the Buffalo Bills, New York Titans/Jets and Miami Dolphins. At Platte Center, he was a three-year starter in football, playing end as a sophomore and running back his junior and senior years, which included a one-loss season in 1951. He lettered all four years in basketball, averaging more than 20 points per game his junior and senior seasons. A walk-on football player at Nebraska, he earned a scholarship after his freshman year and twice earned All-Big Seven honors as a lineman.
As a professional, he earned All-AFL honors at defensive end in 1960 and played in the 1961 AFL All-Star Game.
Dennis Troester never strayed far from home or far from winning. In a 41-year coaching career, he won more than 1,000 games at Republican Valley/Southwest high schools. A Red Willow High School graduate, he returned home to begin his teaching career in 1971. His volleyball teams enjoyed the most success, winning seven state championships and finishing second five times. His teams claimed 21 conference and 12 district championships. He retired in 2012 with a record of 709-157 victories. In basketball, he logged a 337-206 record.
Athlete–When Lexington High School graduated this husky young man in 1958, he had just completed two years as a terrific center on football teams of the Minutemen. In the fall of 1957, for example, they had an undefeated season over almost all Class A opponents ending the year as state champion according to many observers. As a University of Nebraska Cornhusker, he lettered three years between 1959.and 1961, including the great victory in 1959 over Oklahoma. He then played for 17 years in professional football as starting center for the Minnesota Vikings, getting to the Super Bowl four times. Unlike some former football players, Mick Tingelhoff emerged from his great football career without serious injury.
Earning the nickname “Dean the Dream” for his smooth, fluid playing style, Dean Thompson could score like few others. He had outside range, couild drive to the basket and pull up and shoot on a dime. At Omaha Westside, Thompson led the Warriors to the Class A boys basketball championship as a senior, averaging 23 points per game and gaining all-state honors. Voted to the golden-anniversary Metro Conference Holiday Tournament Basketball team, Thompson also made an indelible mark on the basketball program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Playing before the advent of the 3-point line or the shot clock, Thompson set the school scoring record with 1,816 points, a record that still stands. He played in 117 games, leading the Mavericks to three NCAA Division II tournaments.