An all-around athlete, he was a four-year starter in football and basketball. On the basketball court, he led Clearwater in scoring all four years, finishing with 1,673 points, including 55 against Chambers during his senior season. He was also credited with 32 rebounds in a single game and averaged 21.9 rebounds per game during his career. In track, he went to state every year and as a senior, helped the Cardinals to a share of the Class D team title by winning the shot and discus and taking second in the high jump. On the baseball diamond, he pitched at Pershing College and played in the minor leagues. He has enjoyed a successful coaching career in American Legion baseball.
Athlete. A three sport athlete at Lincoln High, Bernie was an all-state back in football, a starter on the 1930 state championship basketball team and a track star. Moving on to UNL, he starred from 1931 to 1933 as a back on three straight unbeaten Big Six championship teams. He was selected All-Big Six in 1933. He played quarterback for the Chicago Bears from 1934 to 1940 when the Bears were known as the “Monsters of the Midway.” During his pro career, the Bears were 59-19-3 and were in three NFL championship play offs. Bernie has an NFL career total of 3,372 passing yards and 35 touchdowns. He came back to Nebraska as head football coach in 1940 for two years. Bernie was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
Athlete. Joe Orduna excelled in football, wrestling and track at Omaha Central before playing football at the University of Nebraska and the NFL. He won gold medals at the 1966 state track meet in the long jump (22 feet, 6 ¾ inches), 180-yard low hurdles (20.1 seconds) and the 880-yard relay (1:29.8 seconds). Omaha Central won the team track title in 1965 and 1966, years Orduna made major contributions. He twice qualified for the state meet in wrestling and was a standout in football where was a starting halfback. He participated in the 1966 Shrine Bowl. At Nebraska, he lettered for three years and rushed for 1,968 yards and 26 touchdowns. He was the team’s rushing leader in 1968 and 1970 and earned All-Big Eight honors in 1970. He played in the Hula Bowl and was selected in the second round of the NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He played three years in the NFL for the New York Giants and Baltimore Colts. Orduna was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1990.
Nebraska high school’s athlete of the year in 1980, he was a three-sport prep standout whose fourth – and best sport – baseball, took him to the 1982 College World Series and the 1983 Pan American Games. Drafted by the Texas Rangers, he was All-American in baseball in 1985. At Aurora, Penner quarterbacked a Husky team that went undefeated in the regular season and first playoff appearance in 1979, then he earned all-class all-state honors in basketball as the Huskies went 22-3 and reached the state tournament semifinals in 1980. At the state track meet, he placed third in the 100 in 1980 and ran on school-record setting 400- and 1,600-meter relay teams.
Athlete. Cliff’s athletic career began with 13 varsity letters at Bethany and Lincoln Northeast high schools. He was co-captain of Northeast’s first state championship football team in 1943. It was that year he was selected Nebraska’s “Prep Player of the Year” which was the forerunner of the “Athlete of the Year” award. He also garnered all-state honors in both football and basketball in 1943 and 1944. He was one of the factors in Northeast’s run to the state tournament in ‘42, ‘43 ‘and ’44. He was on the all-state tournament team in ‘43 and ‘44. His college career took him a few blocks west where he competed for the Plainsmen of Nebraska Wesleyan University, again earning 13 varsity letters and was named small college all-American in football in ‘46, ‘47, ‘48, and ‘49. In 1950 he was picked by the Detroit Lions in the 14th round. Returning to Lincoln to work as a sporting goods salesman and football official, he officiated for 30 years, 20 of those as a Big Eight official. Cliff worked eight major bowl games, one of which was the ‘79 Sugar Bowl between Penn State and Alabama for the national championship. He also officiated the first Nebraska Shrine Bowl Game. Cliff has also been enshrined in the Northeast Hall of Fame, Nebraska Wesleyan Hall of Fame, and the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame.
Perhaps Nebraska’s most recognized basketball referee, Rudy Stoehr was often at the center of many state championships. A football referee as well, Stoehr officiated Nebraska high school basketball from 1963-89, working more than 1,000 games and more than 20 state tournaments. He also officiated in the Big Eight Conference for six years. An outstanding basketball and baseball player at Lincoln Northeast and Nebraska Wesleyan (he set a single-season scoring record with 746 points, including 62 in one game). Stoehr played minor league baseball before an arm injury forced him to return to Nebraska to coach and officiate.
A former Colorado College football player from Mount Vernon, Iowa, Dave Van Metre was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams. After injuries ended his professional football career, he went into private business and has generously lended a hand to schools in Omaha and his native Mount Vernon. He has provided new weight training and cardio equipment to the Omaha School District’s seven high schools and 11 middle schools and to the city’s Boys & Girls Clubs. He also has spearheaded fundraising efforts for three high school stadiums and a number of baseball and softball fields. He has served on the board of directors of several Omaha foundations and has been honored by several schools for his assistance and support.