Coach. Willis Jones, according to noted sportswriter Gregg McBride was one of the top 10 prep football backs in the state. At Minden High he lettered seven times in three sports earning all-state honors in football and basketball and quarterbacked the Whippets to an undefeated season as a senior. After a service stint, he enrolled at UNL where he was a three-year letterman in track and holder of the Big 7 indoor high hurdle record in 7.5 seconds. Anxious to be a coach, he made it through college in three years and hitch-hiked to Beatrice for his first teaching and coaching job. Happily, they said in Beatrice, he didn’t leave. He was head track coach for the next 37 years. His teams won many conference and district championships as well as back-to-back Class A state meets in 1956 and ‘57. In ‘57 he was named high school coach of the year. Plus track duties, he also assisted at one time or another in football, frosh football, frosh boys and girls basketball, wrestling and cross country. Serving as the first athletic director at Beatrice, he was instrumental in the founding of the Nebraska Athletic Directors Association. The NSAA honored him in 1980 for his outstanding contributions to prep track.
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