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Russell to be inducted into Hall of Fame

April 7, 2011

LINCOLN -- The Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame Foundation will induct 13 athletes, five coaches, two contributors and two officials at its Sept. 25 induction ceremony at the Lied Center in Lincoln.
Tickets for the 18th annual induction ceremony are $25 for adults and $10 for elementary and high school students and are available by contacting Tami McLaughlin, at Nebraska Sports Council, P.O. Box 29366, Lincoln, NE 68529, or by calling 402-471-2544 or by e-mail to tami@nebraskasportscouncil.com.
Among the five coaches to be inducted is Mark Russell. Russell coached Broken Bow over 39 years to three consecutive Class B boys state track titles and had 12 teams finish in the Class B football rankings between 1947 and 1972.
In 1965, Russell came one point shy of winning his fourth state track title. Russell’s wife, Pat, shared a column written by Gregg McBride in 1965 which read:
- ‘Coach Spots Error in State 880 Relay
‘Track Coach LaVon R Covault of Dawson-Verdon High insists he spotted an error in running the 880-yard relay at the state chmpionships. He writes:
“The relay teams were staggered for just one curve. Yet, the second boys had to stay in their lanes around the curve by the Field House instead of cutting for the pole after receiving the baton in the exchange zone in front of the east stands.”
- Which Team Rules?
Covault figures Broken Bow had to run 46 feet and Aurora nine feet more than the distance.
“This made Broken Bow run 37 feet farther than Aurora.”
Aurora won the relay, Broken Bow was third.
Broken Bow lost the Class B title by one point. If Coach Covault is correct (he is convinced after seeing the race on television), Broken Bow should have gained enough points to finish ahead of Aurora to win the crown.
- It’s A Short Race
A CHECK of the 220-yard route for the Saturday finals shows the course seven feet short.
If the 880-yard relay stagger was incorrect, it is unfortunate.
University of Nebraska officials were working under a handicap in preparing the layout for the 3 p.m. finals, however.
A cloudburst washed away the lanes just as the workmen finished marking the track.
With the two-mile relay moved to the final event, the crew had to hurry to beat darkness.’
Other coaches in the induction class are:
--Tom Jaworski: Retired in 2010 after 39 years and a 343-92 record at Omaha Creighton Prep. He has the most football coaching wins in Nebraska history. His teams won nine state playoff championships and finished second five times.
--Joanne Kappas: Millard South's volleyball coach has 785 career wins. She spent five years at Bellevue East, 19 at Bellevue West and four at Omaha Bryan. She had the most success at Bellevue West, leading the school to 11 Class A titles.
--Jim Miller: In 34 years as Omaha Marian's girls basketball coach, he led the Crusaders to 619 wins and 25 state tournament appearances. They won three titles and were runners-up eight times. He also coached Marian to the past four Class A girls golf titles.
--Charles Moore: His 45-year coaching career included stints at Snyder, Butte and Fairbury. He coached the Jeffs to three Class B titles and 311 wins in boys basketball and the 1989 Class B girls state track championship.
Athletes slated for induction include:
--Dennis Albers, Hastings High School (1960): Won 13 of a possible 16 gold medals in leading Hastings to state gymnastics titles in 1959 and 1960. He lettered two years at Nebraska.
--Joe Blahak, Columbus Scotus (1969): A football and track standout, he won five gold medals at the state track meet including the 1969 long jump all-class gold medal. He was a two-time All-Big Eight defensive back at Nebraska, a second-team All-American as a senior and played in the NFL.
--Scott Bream, Millard South (1989): The consensus athlete of the year in 1989 after earning all-state honors in football and baseball. The point guard on Nebraska's last undefeated Class A state championship boys basketball team, he turned down numerous college scholarships and played eight years of professional baseball.
--Dean Brittenham, Brady (1949): A two-time state pentathlon champion, he was all-state in football and basketball and led Brady to six-man and track state titles and a runner-up finish in basketball in 1949. He was a scholarship basketball player at Nebraska before a skiing accident ended his basketball career. He was third in the javelin at the 1957 Big Seven track meet.
--Randy Butts, Grand Island (1969): Winner of seven all-class gold medals in hurdles and relays, he led Grand Island to back-to-back state track championships. All-state in football, he played for the Nebraska Cornhuskers for two years before transferring to Kearney State College where he was an NAIA All-American Honorable Mention.
--Mike Dugan, Creighton Prep (1955): A two-time all-state quarterback, “Magic Mike” was 20-0 as a starter for the Junior Jays. He made the All-Catholic All-America team as a senior. He also played basketball and was Prep's ace pitcher. He played college football at Notre Dame.
--Rex Eckwall, Holmesville (1953): An all-class all-state basketball player as a senior and a Class D all-state player as a junior, he scored 1,984 points in four seasons. At Nebraska, he averaged double figures in scoring and rebounding.
--Jessica (Haynes) Jackson, Omaha Central (1985): A two-time all-state player who was a Parade All-American second-team pick as a senior, she helped Central to back-to-back state championships in 1983 and 1984. In track, she was on three gold-medal relays while Central was winning Class A titles in 1983 and 1984. At San Diego State she twice earned all-conference basketball honors.
--Jami (Kubik) Hagedorn, Cambridge (1994): Nebraska's Miss Basketball in 1994, she earned all-state honors while leading the Trojans to two state volleyball and two state basketball championships. At Nebraska, she was a four-year letter winner in basketball who started her final 1-1/2 seasons.
--John Parrella, Grand Island Central Catholic (1988): He played in three Super Bowls during a 12-year NFL career. He earned all-state honors as a junior and senior while playing for the Crusaders and was a two-year starter and All-big Eight his senior year at Nebraska.
--Amy Paulsen, Oakland-Craig (1990): A six-time all-class gold medalist in the shot put and discus while competing for Norfolk, Ralston and Oakland-Craig. She competed in college for Texas A&M, Missouri and the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
--Darcy Stracke, Chambers (1996): The state's career scoring leader in girls basketball with 2,752 points, she played on four Class D state champion teams – at Stuart as a freshman and the next three years at Chambers. She was all-state for four years and all-state as a senior in volleyball. In track, she won eight Class D titles in distance events. In college, she earned NCAA Division II All-America honors at UNK and UNO.
--Brad Vering, Howells (1996): A two-time Olympic wrestler, he was the 2000 NCAA champion while at Nebraska and was 148-2 in high school, winning 116 straight matches and three state championships.
Contributors include:
--Bill Conner: At Scottsbluff, he coached for 17 years, 10 as football coach (1954-1963) and was athletic director for the next 17 years before retiring in 1981. The Bearcats were undefeated in 1958.
--Bob Murray: The 1947 Omaha North graduate had a 303-275 career record in 29 years of boys basketball with the Vikings, with eight state tournament teams a runner-up finish in 1976. He also coached at Fort Calhoun and Omaha South. He was the long-time Metro Conference boys and girls golf tournament director and is North's resident historian.
Officials being inducted are:
--Max Roper, Lincoln: A long-time official who worked in football and basketball, the University Place and Nebraska Wesleyan athlete retired from the Big Seven Conference in 1950. The Lincoln funeral director died in 1993.
--Mathias “Mutt” Volz: The Omaha South graduate, who was an all-conference basketball player at Nebraska in 1925, worked eight years of high school games before finishing his 39-year career in college football.
In conjunction with the inductees, the Hall also honors individuals and teams for their influence and accomplishments in high school athletics. This year's honorees are:
--Fischer Family Award: Clarence and Helen Swanson family of Wakefield and Lincoln.
--Ron Gustafson Inspiration Award: Dr. Tom Heiser, Lincoln.
--Great Moments in Nebraska High School Sports: Omaha Central/Creighton Prep football games at Rosenblatt Stadium, 1960 and 2010; Shannon Guy, Millard West swimming, setting four state records in the same event at the state meet.
--Dominant Dynasty: Clearwater boys basketball, 1975-95.
--Silver Anniversary Teams (1986-87): Battle Creek football and girls basketball; Lincoln East girls basketball.
--Golden Anniversary Teams (1961-62): Omaha North football; Polk football and basketball.

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