“It’s amazing to me that we can take fifteen years of rich and rewarding experiences in our lives and condense it down to one paragraph”–Hall of Famer Dick Davis (Omaha North, 1964), on trying to put into capsule form what high schools sports and subsequent years meant to him in advance of the 1999 awards ceremony.


“My, my, what a wonderful day. I just received my letter informing me of the 1973-74 Omaha Central basketball teams being chosen for the Hall of Fame’s Silver Anniversary award. Thank you so much. The thought of getting together with my teammates, and our friends and families is overwhelming. George Brett said at his recent induction into the (Baseball) Hall of Fame, ‘We live with our friends, not our accomplishments.” I will always appreciate what you have done for my friends and me. May God bless you.”–Kevin Van Buckner, Lanham, Maryland, member of the two basketball teams honored.

What It’s About

Typically, the award winners thank their families, their teammates, their coaches, their God. If they don’t come right out and say it, they all left the impression that the high school sports they did so easily was a special time in their lives. None of them said it any better than Matt Miller, a 2003 high school graduate who was a part of the amazing string of 10 straight state track championships by the Kearney High boys track program, a streak honored in 2003 as a Great Moment in High School Sports.

Miller’s speech brought out what the Hall of Fame wishes every high school sports program could leave with all its participants. In part, here is Miller’s response:

“I’m still not quite sure how I got roped into cross-country and track, but deep down I knew that if I didn’t run I would regret it. Future state championships aren’t built on freshmen who run 2:12s but on seniors who turn that into 1:57s. I do know that by my senior year, I had turned my 2:30 into a 2:07. The freshman who struggled to break the 6:00 mile had become a respectable Class A middle-distance runner. At Kearney High, I was respected because of my heart, not just because of my speed. Sometimes I wondered what it would be like, to actually win a race. And sometimes I hated it, having no talent. I can’t even begin to explain the impact this program has had on my life. They turned me into a true leader. . . Coach Mathiesen showed me the fire I had inside of me. And that fire has translated to my everyday life which is now my attitude. Kearney High does much more than win championships; they make champions of the smallest of men. And this is a feat much greater than any state title.”