Dick Koch – Omaha

Coach.. It was the 1970-71 school year and Omaha Northwest had just opened its doors for the first time.  Dick was the new head basketball coach moving in from a stint at Gering with a record of 101-50.  He hit the court running and took the “Huskies” to the State Tournament in their very first year of competition.  During his 23-year tenure at Northwest his teams won 305 games with 187 losses. Along with Gering, that makes a lifetime coaching record of 406 – 247 which gives him a  .608 lifetime percentage.  His teams made eleven trips to the State Tournament of which nine were consecutive, making it to the championship round five times and winning it twice.  Among the honors he has already received is the Skip Palrang award, the Ed Johnson award and Metro Coach of The Year twice.  Non-coaching honors include Gering Jaycees Educator of the Year, Northwest Teacher of the Year and Northwest Hall of Fame.

Kelly Lindsey – Millard North

inducteeAthlete. Millard North (1997)

Kelly Lindsey enjoyed a golden high school career in cross country and soccer. A Parade All-American, she led the Mustangs to the state soccer championship during her freshman and senior senior seasons, scoring 99 goals in her career. In cross country, she won the Class A gold medal three times – her bid to be a four-time state champion ended when with a rib injury halfway through the state meet race. She also lettered in basketball all four years for the Mustangs. A member of the under-20 national soccer team, she was a four-year starter at Notre Dame and went on to play professional soccer for three years. She has coached professional and college soccer teams.

Bob Martin – David City

Athlete.  Bob was not only a three-sport star for the Scouts, he actually lettered in four sports.  He earned a total of 14 varsity letters by sandwiching golf in with football, basketball and track. His honors in high school included being named to the Central Ten All-Conference first teams three consecutive years in football and basketball from 1970 to 1972. He was selected to the Class C all-state football first teams in 1971 and 1972 and the all-class all-state team in 1972.  He was awarded Class C all-state first-team honors in ’71 and ’72.  The David City Scouts also garnered some team honors during Bob’s junior and senior years, earning state championships in football and basketball plus the all-sports title in ’72. He was a silver medallist in the triple jump at the state track meet twice in his career.  Capping off his high school career he was selected by the Lincoln Journal-Star and the Omaha World-Herald as 1972 High School Athlete of the Year.  Playing in the Shrine Bowl was a fitting climax to his high school career.  Going to college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he lettered and started three years as a defensive end, earning All-Big 8 honors in 1975 and ’76.  He was chosen All-American in ’76 and received the highest honor from his teammates by being selected co-captain.  Bob went on to play professional football for five years, first with the New York Jets and then the San Francisco 49ers.  He now works as Product Development Manager for Valmont Industries. (2003)

Bill Olson – Omaha Northwest

Coach. Though he coached for 35 years, this baseball wizard really hit his stride when taking on the Omaha Northwest High School baseball program as his special project. Under his guidance, the Northwest Huskies won six high school state championships. In 1983 his baseball team was ranked number one in the nation. Bill Olson had over 1,500 career wins with a winning percentage above .700. He also won 8 American Legion baseball state championships and finished third in their World Series in 1985. He was named the 1997 USA Olympic Development Coach of the Year.

 

 

See Gregg Olson bio for more information.

 

Larry Pritchett – Perkins County

2010Coach. The driving force behind the Grant/Perkins County basketball dynasty, Larry Pritchett coached the Plainsmen to state championships in 1968, 1989 and 1990 and three state runner-up finishes, as well as 22 conference titles. He coached the Plainsmen from 1968-73 and again from 1987-2007. He was an assistant coach on Grant’s state championship team in 1966. His Grant teams won 16 district championships and played in 14 state tournaments. Including coaching jobs at Cozad and Chase County, he compiled a coaching record of 476-147. He also coached the Plainsmen to the state track championship in 1971 and state cross country runner-up finishes in 1975 and 1976. Pritchett’s teams were well prepared, well disciplined and known for their tough defense. They played their best late in the season as the coach molded the team to its talents.

Grant Simmons – Omaha Benson

Athlete, 1962 graduate. Grant made his mark at Omaha Benson where he picked up 11 varsity letters, His sports were football, basketball, track, and baseball. He was selected All-City basketball, football and baseball. Then he was picked All State in the same three sports and was tabbed as high school All American in football and basketball. Attending the University of Nebraska, he made the All Big 8 team in basketball, Dell Sports All-American and was the first Academic All Big 8 player in Nebraska history. This he attributes to his high school history teacher, Fred Pisasale, who taught him how to study (and was a Hall of Fame inductee the same year as Simmons). 1993, he was selected to the University of Nebraska Basketball Hall of Fame. He played pro with the Denver Rockets in the American Basketball Association from 1967 to 1969.

Teri Steer-Cantwell – Crete

Athlete. The 1993 Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal Star Female Athlete of the Year, Teri Steer-Cantwell was a bronze medalist in the shot put at the 1999 World Track and Field Championships and a collegiate record holder with a throw of 61 feet, 9 ½ inches. Steer earned 12 letters at Crete while starring in volleyball, basketball and track. She was a three-time gold medalist in the shot put and swept the Class B shot put and discus titles in her four high school seasons. She set the state record in the shot put with a throw of 50-10 ¾ inches and she twice placed in the top four in the Class B long jump. In basketball, she earned Class B all-state honors. She earned all-conference honors in volleyball. At Southern Methodist University, she set the Western Athletic Conference record in the discus and was a two-time national champion in the shot put. She competed in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

Long & Strong is pleased to bring you an interview with 1996 Outdoor NCAA Womens Shot Champ, Teri Steer of SMU. Teri, now a senior, recently suffered an ankle injury which leaves her 1997 status up in the air. Teri is a great interview, and has much to share. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Long & Strong: Teri, can you give our visitors a little background information on yourself?
Teri Steer: I am from a small town in Nebraska called Crete (population 5000) and there’s not much to do except for sports. I have been involved with TAC summer track and field which I think now is usa track and field for youth, since I was five years old. I used to long jump and do sprints. When I was eight years old I picked up my first shotput and of course was terribly bad. Then we used a six pound shotput. The very next year I won my first ever national title for ten year olds and under called bantam girls. Then I loved track and field becuase every year we would travel across the States for meets. In high school I was a volleyball, basketball (as you can tell from my ankle injury), and track and field member. In track and field not only did I learn to throw the discus in 8th grade, I of course competed in my favorite, the shotput, long jumped, and ran the relay or hurdles or 100. I decided to sign early with S.M.U. for track and field only. I am recently engaged to the most wonderful man in the world Jason Tunks, who is an Olympic discus thrower from Canada. He and I love love to enjoy and watch every sport together. I am a history major and an anthropology minor. With that I am receiving my education certificate and someday want to teach and coach.

L&S: Can you give us your throwing progression (marks and titles) from high school up to the present?
TS: The titles I have earned I am not for sure but I think I won every tac summer track title in the shotput from when I was nine years old until 17, except for one year. In high school I was state champion in the discus and the shotput all four years. I tried out for my first USA junior team as a sophmore in high school. Interestingly enough, I sprained my ankle one week before the tryouts. My senior year I was third and became an alternate to the team.
High School Freshman: 148′, 45’7″
Sophmore: 146′, 46’9″,
Junior: 145′, 47’8″
Senior: 148′, 50’10”
College Freshman: 154 feet, 51’5, All American (7th outdoor NCAAs)
Sophomore: 160 feet, 53’6″, USA Junior Team
(*)Junior: 175′, 59′ indoors second and outdoors champ!!!, 6th at Oly Trials. (*)My first two years in college I was not training right for me and so when I started to train right I started to throw far.

L&S: Do you use the glide or spin in the shot? Why that style? What do you focus on technique-wise?
TS: I am a glider which makes most people wonder because I am not as strong as most or some shotputters who glide. I love the glide and would never switch I just have a feel for it and I love to do it. I always try and try to relax out of the back and concentrate on the middle of the circle out. I try to keep my shoulder and arm as well as the shotput back as long as possible but I am not a very patient person and so it seems I am always trying to stay back longer. From the middle out I try to turn the right foot and hit the crap out of the finish I extend so far out over the toe board sometimes I wonder how I stay in the ring myself.

L&S: What points do you concentrate on in the discus?
TSI hate to say it, but I am not a discus thrower yet. All fellow throwers and coaches thinks my body is meant for the discus but I have a terrible time with technique and feeling. I can honestly say I have no clue yet as to what I am supposed to be doing. I try and try but nothing ever stays true. I hope to be good someday and was working hard up to my injury but I really should not be giving advice.

L&S: Can you outline what you’re weight training plan is, off-season and in?
TS: Weight training is so important to throwers. I try to get a very big base during the fall. I will start out at very high reps and run six week cycles. I like to lift four days a week and split my routines. I will do 3 sets of 12 on squats, bench, behind the neck press, triceps, leg ext, leg curls, the highest repititions I will do on cleans is 4 sets 0f six. I will do snatches light and extra things that are secondary lifts like lat pulls, biceps, flys, and then twists and situps. Every once in awhile I will put in a shoulder workout with dumb bells. Then as the season progresses I will do do lower reps at higher reps go to 3×10 then 4×8, 5×6, 5×5, 5×3, 6×2, I like to do cleans at longer reps until right before a meet then I go down to two reps.

L&S: Other than the weights, what other types of training do you use?
TS: I am also a strong believer in fitness and I throw better when I feel fit and in shape. Early in the year I will do sprints and jumps. I will do even more during the season!! I love to feel explosive and so jumps are so important to me and I feel although everyone else thinks I am nuts that step aerobics does this for me. So I will try to get three to four aerobic classes in a week. If I am training hard maybe more classes in a week. I think it is important to know that there are different kinds of athletes and each person can obtain far distances by training differently. Early in the year I might mess around with the weight or hammer but during season I will not and I will throw six times a week both events during the season.

L&S: What are your post-collegiate plans?
TS: My post colliegate plans hopefully involve throwing. It is what I have done my entire life. All my goals are set to make some world teams and eventually become one of the top ten in the world. I do not know what else I can do, but i know i can not set limits, so every year I want to get better and better, every year I want to set a goal that is higher then I even think I can reach. For example, the beginning of the year last year I wanted to be national champion and I had only thrown 53 feet once in my life but I knew there was more there, I just needed a breakthrough and look where it has taken me. The only problem would be a sponsor and money to keep throwing. We will see what happens.

L&S: The SMU throws squad has had quite a bit of success over the last two years. What do attribute that success to?
TS: The success of S.M.U. is due to the team family spirit. We have had many great throwers come here from Europe, etc. The people here right now the last couple of years made an individual sport seem like a team sport with a family atmosphere. When talking about throwing every minute of the day, it is hard not to get better. Everyone here is so good that the per
son who is average does not want to to be the odd man/woman out. We all push each other even harder. One workout cycle a javelin thrower and I might be on an ab workout from heck in which we kill ourselves there or I can go do med balls with a discus thrower. Sprints with everyone. The picture there is everyone works out with everyone pushing each other making each other better and that is why we have become so much better.

L&S: The throwing world, as well as sports in general, is male dominated. What advice would you give to female throwers?
TS: The throwing world is very male dominated and sometimes women are looked down upon as being throwers, non athletes, etc. I think it is a bunch of bull. There is no need for throwers to try and look feminine because, hey we are! There is no need for us to think we are not athletes just because we are bigger then most women. First of all I would love to take body fat percentages and just see!!! There are many throwers who would crush other female athletes. Our job is to throw far and ultimately we need to train the way we train to do that no one is going to be small if they are cleaning 250 pounds and squating 350. I think people are starting to see that and many fans are starting to watch the throws now and many male throwers are seeing that women can also do this.

L&S: Being an NCAA champion, you obviously are familiar with competing under pressure. How do you deal with the strain of major competition and still maximize your performance?
TS: I love to compete and a major competition I am usually a little nervous for and I try to use this for good energy. I try to get so excited that I have so much adrenilene running through me anything is possible. The night before I try to relax but I am always thinking about techinique and watching it go far!!! I am constantly playing the motion out of the glide!!!! I then go into to the meet positively! The only time I was ever so nervous I could not sleep eat or concentrate was for my first ever Olympic Trials last year and I will say I was just not prepared for them. I really thought I seriously had a chance to make the team and it was not that I was negative, it was that I was so postive and so excited I was just thinking and thinking what it would be like when I did make the team that I could not sleep and by the fifth or sixth day of that in the Atlanta heat I was done for. I learned and hopefully can carry that with me.

L&S: Any words of advice to prep throwers getting ready for college?
TS: My advice for prep throwers is to make sure you fit in with the team and the coach. Do not be afraid to ask any question. Ask the other throwers what they do for workouts and how the coach is towards them. See if that fits what you want to do. Make sure and tell the coach “hey, I do not want to get here and find out that everything is different from what you said.” If you know anyone that throws, call them up and ask what they know about each school. It is better to talk to athletes because they are usually unbiased and go with what they have heard and talked about with other athletes. Coaches are a good source as well though, and usually give some good advice too! Mainly make sure you love it and the program fits you. Always remember that not every training tip fits you. Find out what makes you throw well and continue to do it.

Career Highlights: 2002 USA Indoor & Outdoor champion; Two-time USA Indoor champion (99, 02); 1999 World Indoor bronze medalist; Two-time NCAA champion; 7-time Nebraska HS champion

Larry Vlasin – Madrid

Athlete.  1965 grad.

The first Class D athlete named the Lincoln Journal Star’s Athlete of the Year, Larry Vlasin earned allstate honors playing for Madrid’s undefeated eight-man football teams of 1963 and ’64. He set the national eight-man rushing record averaging 338.9 yards per game. He also earned all-state honors in basketball his junior and senior years and qualified for the state track meet in four events, placing third in the pole vault. He finished his basketball career with 1,895 points and scored 55 points in one game in 1965. A 5-10 outside shooter, many of his baskets came from what would later become 3-point range. An outstanding infielder in baseball, he was drafted by the Kansas City Athletics in the 1965 baseball draft. He played minor league baseball, rising to the Double-A level.

 

 

BY RYLY JANE HAMBLETON / Lincoln Journal Star — Saturday, Sep 27, 2008 – 11:59:12 pm CDT
Larry Vlasin’s dad knew the best way to help his son eliminate aches and pains the morning after a strenuous football game: Back to work!

“Sure, you’d be sore on Saturdays after a game, but I grew up on a farm. We always got back to work on Saturday morning,” Vlasin said. “We’d haul bales and work around the farm. You lose the soreness by going back out and working.” 

It’s no wonder Vlasin (pronounced Vla-SHEEN) would be a bit sore. He averaged 338.9 total yards per game, still the national eight-man record, while helping Madrid to back-to-back undefeated seasons in 1963 and ’64.

After a basketball season during which he averaged 26.9 points and 12 assists per game, he qualified for four events at the state track meet. Those performances were enough to earn him the Journal Star athlete of the year award in 1965, the first time an athlete from a Class D school was honored.

 “I played quarterback, so that total was rushing, passing and my punt returns and kick returns,” said Vlasin, now a stockbroker in McCook. “I also played safety. I guess I just never left the field, because I kicked off and kicked extra points and a few field goals.”

Vlasin said he faced a dilemma when he graduated from high school.  “Joe Cipriano and Tony Sharpe offered me a half baseball and half basketball scholarship to Nebraska, so I had to decide between that and professional baseball,” he said. “Kansas City offered a pretty good bonus, which paid for my college education.”  Vlasin signed with the Kansas City Athletics.

“A couple of years later, they moved to Oakland. I played five years of minor-league ball and got as high as double-A with a triple-A contract in hand,” Vlasin said. “But with the Vietnam War heating up, I though I would have to go into the service. So I went to college at Chadron State and then got married. Since I’d signed a pro contract, I couldn’t be in sports in college.”

He coached football, basketball and track at Culbertson, Cozad and Gordon before finishing his coaching career as the head basketball coach at McCook.  “I don’t think the kids today need advice from me. Things are so different. The kids are so much bigger and stronger,” he said. “But I guess if I told them anything, it would be to go to a college where you can play and get a good education.”

Wayne Binfield – Scottsbluff

Coach–Like the trace of the old Oregon Trail, the impact of this champion coach is still felt across Western Nebraska. For four decades of the twentieth century, his high school athletes left a lasting place in the record books. During the fall of the great crash of 1929, this then young coach inspired his Crawford football team to charge through all of their Class C opponents for an undefeated season and #1 ranking. In his subsequent tenure as Alliance football coach, the Bulldogs won state title ranking in both 1933 and 1941. In the category of coaching legend were his efforts as track & field coach at Scottsbluff High School. Under his tutelage, the swift Bearcats won four Class A titles at the state track meets of 1950, 1953, 1964 and 1968. In addition, he coached three state championships cross country teams in 1960, 1961 and 1967.  Altogether, 10 state titles were earned during his illustrious career. Binfield was a wily man, noted for down-home humor and successful tactics. You could expect a Binfield team to compete just as well in nasty spring weather as on a sunny day. He and fellow 1994 inductee, Dutch Zorn of Gothenburg, received a great honor from the Nebraska Coaches Association, which formed an award in their name (Binny & Dutch Award) that bestows laurels for not just winning but for being an all-around coach and person. Today an annual track meet hosted at Bearcat Stadium bears his name, bringing continuing reminders of this fine coach.

Roger Barry – Schuyler

2009

Contributor. A Kansas native, Roger Barry has been an organizer and promoter of wrestling and girls track in Nebraska since graduating from Nebraska Wesleyan in 1959. As an assistant football coach at Neligh, he helped turn around a struggling program that went 17-1 in 1960 and 1961. He also inaugurated the school’s wrestling program, bringing home the state runner-up trophy in the program’s third year. He started a girls track club that competed on the AAU level. After moving to Schuyler in 1963, he repeated his efforts, launching the high school wrestling team, a youth wrestling program and a girls track club. When track became a sanctioned high school sport, he served as Schuyler’s first girls track coach from 1971 to 1998. After coaching, he continued to be active in organizing the Nebraska Scholastic Wrestling Coaches Association and the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame. The director and organizer of the NSWCA wrestling ratings and a charter member of the NSWCA Hall of Fame, Barry produces the audio-visual productions used at the NSWCA and NHSSHOF induction ceremonies.