NEBRASKA HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS HALL
OF FAME FOUNDATION
Where should a history of a new organization begin? The answer is with the idea. Where did the idea for a Hall of Fame come from? Who were the contributors to this dream? To answer these questions we first look at two groups of people.
One of the groups contributing to the idea of having a Sports Hall of Fame in Nebraska was a group of interested persons from Gothenburg. One day (in July of 1990) several members of the Gothenburg Rotary Club (following their weekly meeting) had a discussion outside the Swede Café …. “Wouldn’t it be great to have a high school sports hall of fame?” That conversation included several individuals, including three future members (Steve Windrum, Ted Rowan, and Roger Neujahr) of the Board of Directors of the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame.
At about the same time, the Nebraska School Activities Association (N.S.A.A.) Board of Control had been discussing the potential of creating a Hall of Fame. Dennis Smith, Board of Control Member from District II, initiated discussion on preserving the history of athletics in Nebraska. In the late 1980’s, he attended a number of meetings and workshops dealing with the creation of Halls of Fame. At the N.S.A.A. Board of Control Meeting on February 8, 1991, a vote (6-0) was taken to create a committee to pursue the feasibility of establishing a Hall of Fame.
After reading the N.S.A.A. Board Minutes reporting the establishment of this Hall of Fame Committee, Roger Neujahr, Gothenburg Activities Director, called Dennis Smith; Roger indicated to Dennis that a group of people in Gothenburg had been working for about a year to bring an Athletic Hall of Fame there. That conversation led to the first of several meetings between the N.S.A.A. Committee (Dennis Smith, Conde Sargent, Jim Riley, and others) and those Hall of Fame organizers from Gothenburg.
The first official meeting (when Minutes were kept) of the two groups was held on September 12, 1991, at the N.S.A.A. Office in Lincoln. This meeting was for discussion purposes only; no decisions or votes were taken. The committee then met in Gothenburg on October 10, 1991. The Gothenburg Committee presented to the Hall of Fame Committee a comprehensive look at the planning that had been taking place there over the past year. The Hall of Fame Committee was so favorably impressed with the commitment of the Gothenburg Committee, that at the subsequent November 25, 1991, meeting, the eight Hall of Fame Committee Members unanimously approved a motion to place the Nebraska High School Hall of Fame in Gothenburg. The N.S.A.A. Board of Control on December 13, 1991, (by a 6-0 vote) also endorsed Gothenburg as the future site of the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame.
The initial idea (the Gothenburg promoters had) was to link the Pony Express in Gothenburg and the Hall Of Fame together at the same site. Over the course of the next several years, however, it became apparent that sufficient support could not be generated in the community of Gothenburg to have the Hall of Fame and the Pony Express located at the same site. Therefore, the Hall of Fame Board of Directors later (in 1997) decided that Lincoln would replace Gothenburg as the site of a future Hall of Fame Facility.
Organization of a decision making body for the Hall of Fame began in June of 1992, when letters were mailed to a number of Nebraskans asking them to serve on the Hall of Fame Board. The original Board would eventually have eighteen Directors (see next paragraph). On July 30, 1993, Articles of Incorporation for the Hall of Fame were prepared by Steve Windrum, a Gothenburg attorney and the first Hall of Fame President. Following the filing of the Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of State, this new organization would officially be known as the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame Foundation. The first meeting following the creation of this Non-Profit Corporation took place on August 27, 1993, in Lincoln.
The original Directors were: Conde Sargent (Lincoln), Steve Johnsen (Lincoln), Chuck Jura (Columbus), Dennis Smith (Papillion), Jerry Neely (Norfolk),Bill Shoemaker (Cambridge), Hoppy McCue (Alma), Bill Madden (Scottsbluff), Ken Fischer (Lincoln), Tom Mihane (Scottsbluff), Jerry Mathers (McCool Junction), Buck Mahoney (Kearney), Dick Thompson (North Platte), Roger Neujahr (Gothenburg), Ted Rowan (Gothenburg), Jack Hallstrom (Omaha), Steve Windrum (Gothenburg), and Carol Frost (Wood River).
Leadership of any organization is extremely important. The Hall of Fame is very fortunate to have had several outstanding leaders; the following have served as President of the Board of Directors. The first President, selected in 1993, was Steve Windrum, from Gothenburg; Duane Haith, from Omaha, took over the helm in 1996. Bob Whitehouse, also from Omaha, became President in 2000; Wally McNaught, from Lincoln, presided over the Board beginning in 2005; and Bob Whitehouse resumed his role as President in 2007.
See the List of Officers & Board of Directors Document, which includes Current and Former Officers as well as Current and Former Board Members.
In those early years, as the Hall of Fame became organized, many decisions had to be made. One was to establish the criteria for individuals to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. See the brochure of the Hall of Fame, which includes that criteria. Another decision to be made was the adoption of a Hall of Fame Slogan; “Honoring Our Past to Inspire the Future” was ultimately selected. Over time, legal issues had to be dealt with. The Foundation has been very fortunate that Britt Ehlers, a Lincoln attorney, has served as legal counsel on many issues for the Hall of Fame. That counsel has included advice on non-profit status, liability protection, proper wording in the contract with the N.S.A.A. concerning the new facility, and many other items.
The first class of Hall of Fame Inductees was picked by the Selection Committee and approved at the February 7, 1994, Board Meeting in Gothenburg. The Class of 1994 included Contributor Gregg McBride, Coaches Skip Palrang, Ed Johnson, and Dutch Zorn, Pioneers Grover Cleveland Alexander, Niles Kinnick, and Ed Weir, and Athletes Bob Gibson, Nancy Kindig, Tom Osborne, Johnny Rodgers, and Julie Vollertsen. These individuals and others were honored at the Great Hall of the Lincoln Train Station on Friday, September 23, 1994.
The first six Classes (1994 through 1999) had ceremonies at the Great Hall of the Lincoln Train Station; those events included a full banquet dinner prior to the Induction Ceremony. From 2000 to the present, the site changed to the Lied Center for the Performing Arts with a “Dessert Buffet Social Hour” preceding the Induction.
See the list of all Banquets / Induction Ceremonies and the lists of all Hall of Fame Inductees and other Hall of Fame Award Recipients.
In 2001, the Board of Directors created the officer post of Executive Director. This part-time position (which is more full time than part time) is currently filled by Dick Beechner from Kearney. Beechner, who had been a Board Member beginning in 2000, was unanimously approved as the first Executive Director of the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame Foundation at the February 21, 2002, Board Meeting.
The Hall of Fame has several Standing Committees which do much of the work of the organization. Those Committees include: The Executive Committee (composed of the Hall Of Fame Officers), the Induction Ceremony Committee, the Selection Committee, the Fund Raising & Finance Committee, the Public Relations Committee, the Nominations Committee, the Memorabilia Committee, the Newsletter Committee, and the position of Historian. See List of Current Members on each of these Committees.
The Hall of Fame has four regular Board Meetings each year. Since Board and Officer Terms of Office begin and end with the meeting in September, we will refer to it as the first meeting of the year. That meeting is held in Lincoln at the Lied Center in the morning prior to the Induction Ceremony; it is usually held on the last Sunday in September. The second meeting of the year, which is held in York at the Cornerstone Bank (5th Floor), usually takes place on the first Monday in December. The February Meeting is held during the week of the State Wrestling Tournament; that meeting has been in Lincoln at the Highlands Golf Course for many years, but will move to Grand Island in 2009 to be held in conjunction with the Nebraska Cheer and Dance Competition, which the Hall of Fame helps staff and benefits financially from. The fourth Board Meeting is held in May in Omaha on the Thursday before the State Track Meet; the site used for the recent meetings has been Burke High School.
The Hall of Fame has a Newsletter, which provides updates to supporters on its activities; Buck Mahoney from Kearney is in charge of this twice a year publication.
The Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame Foundation also has a web site. It lists the Current Officers, the Current Board of Directors, the most recent Class of Inductees and Honorees, how to nominate an individual, and much more. Conde Sargent, who has retired to Taylors, South Carolina, is in charge of the Hall of Fame web site (www.nebhalloffame.org/).
One unique Member of the initial Board of Directors was Jerry Mathers. Being the author of a book entitled, “Nebraska High School Sports” (2nd edition), made him a natural; his book dealt with the history of athletics in Nebraska from the 1890’s through the 1979-1980 school year. Mathers had also prepared documents to be included in a subsequent book that would take the History of Nebraska Sports through the 1999-2000 school year. That 3rd edition was never published (for a variety of reasons). Jerry Mathers died in 2003. Following his death, the Hall of Fame acquired Mather’s manuscripts about Nebraska athletics for the last two decades of the twentieth century. Hopefully, this 3rd edition will some day be published. Jerry Mathers’ knowledge (while he was living) and his printed research (following his death) have been tremendous aids in helping to select each group of Nebraska Hall of Famers.
Since the early 1990’s, the Board of Directors has had a dream that a Hall of Fame Exhibit Hall would some day be built. As a part of that dream, the Board was also hopeful that some day that the Hall of Fame, the Nebraska School Activities Association, and the Nebraska Coaches Association (N.C.A.) could all operate under one roof. Both of those dreams became a reality in the spring of 2006 when Hall of Fame Board of Directors accepted the N.S.A.A. invitation to join the N.S.A.A. (and the N.C.A.) in their new facility. The Hall of Fame Board of Directors extends a big “Thank You” to Dr. Jim Tenopir and the N.S.A.A. Board of Control for their willingness to include the Hall of Fame in their new building. Construction on this new structure, which is located in the Haymarket Ballpark Area just north of the Baseball and Softball Complex, began in 2007. The N.S.A.A. Offices were completed in the spring of 2008. The exterior of the Exhibit Hall for the Hall Of Fame was completed at the same time, with interior furnishings to be added in the future.
Creating an attractive and quality Exhibit Hall for the Hall of Fame will require substantial funding. A major fund raising project (which was officially launched on November 22, 2008, with a Press Conference at the Exhibit Hall) will need to raise approximately $1.5 million. Many Nebraska Sports Fans will need to be extremely generous for the Hall of Fame Exhibit to be something that we all can be truly proud of. Further information will be added here upon completion of the fund drive.
This brief history was written by Randy Cordes in January of 2008 (with updates in December of 2008), with major contributions from Dennis Smith, Roger Neujahr, and Buck Mahoney.
NEBRASKA HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS HALL OF FAME
OFFICERS & BOARD OF DIRECTORS
MOST RECENT UPDATE – SEPTEMBER 26, 2011
CURRENT OFFICERS - - - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – ________________
PRESIDENT - - - - - DICK BEECHNER
VICE PRESIDENT - - - STEVE SHANAHAN
SECRETARY - - - - - PAT SALERNO
TREASURER - - - - - DENNIS SMITH
OFFICERS TENURE - CURRENT & FORMER
# EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR - DICK BEECHNER - - - 2002 - 2010
RANDY BATES - - - - 2010 - 2011
PRESIDENT - - - - - STEVE WINDRUM - - - 1993 - 1996
DUANE HAITH - - - - 1996 - 2000
BOB WHITEHOUSE - - 2000 - 2005
WALLY MCNAUGHT - - 2005 - 2007
BOB WHITEHOUSE - - 2007 - 2009
JACK GUGGENMOS - - 2009 - 2011
DICK BEECHNER - - - 2011 - PRESENT
VICE PRESIDENT - - - BILL SHOEMAKER - - 1993 - 1995
JACK HALLSTROM - - 1995 - 1999
BOB WHITEHOUSE - - 1999 - 2000
DUANE HAITH - - - - 2000 - 2003
WALLY MCNAUGHT - - 2003 - 2005
STEVE SHANAHAN - - 2005 - 2007
JACK GUGGENMOS - - 2007 - 2009
STEVE SHANAHAN - - 2009 - PRESENT
SECRETARY - - - - - ROGER NEUJAHR - - - 1993 - 1996
STEVE SHANAHAN - - 1996 - 2005
NANCY BECKER - - - 2005 - 2008
JERRY STINE - - - - 2008 - 2010
PAT SALERNO - - - - 2010 - PRESENT
TREASURER - - - - - ROGER NEUJAHR - - - 1993 - 1996
DENNIS SMITH - - - 1996 - PRESENT
NOTE - FROM 1993 TO 1996, THE OFFICES OF SECRETARY &
TREASURER WERE COMBINED INTO ONE POSITION; IN
1996 THEY WERE SEPARATED, CREATING TWO OFFICERS.
TERM OF OFFICE - OFFICER TERMS AND BOARD MEMBER TERMS BEGIN
AND END WITH THE SEPTEMBER BOARD MEETING.
# - THIS POSITION WAS CREATED IN 2001 & FIRST FILLED IN 2002…
NEBRASKA HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS HALL OF FAME
BOARD OF DIRECTORS – MAXIMUM OF 33 ACTIVE DIRECTORS
CURRENT HALL OF FAME BOARD MEMBERS
NAME TERM EXPIRES YEARS SERVED
BUCK MAHONEY * 2012 1993 - PRESENT
DENNIS SMITH * 2012 1993 - PRESENT
RANDY CORDES 2013 1995 - PRESENT
BOB WHITEHOUSE 2012 1995 - PRESENT
JIM PAIGE 2012 1995 - PRESENT
DUANE HAITH 2012 1995 - PRESENT
SANDY PILFOLD 2012 1995 - PRESENT
RAY EHLERS 2013 1996 - PRESENT
GENE HAYNES 2014 1996 - PRESENT
JERRY STINE 2013 1996 - PRESENT
WALLY MCNAUGHT 2012 1997 - PRESENT
ROGER BARRY 2014 1998 - PRESENT
SUE (SOKOLL) WILCOXSON 2013 1999 - PRESENT
DEL SCHOENFISH 2012 1999 - PRESENT
ALDIE JOHNSON 2013 1999 - PRESENT
BUCK EDWARDS 2013 1999 - PRESENT
JACK GUGGENMOS 2014 2000 - PRESENT
JO DUSATKO 2013 2002 - PRESENT
DAN MOORE 2012 2004 - PRESENT
PAT SALERNO 2012 2004 - PRESENT
BOB JENSEN 2014 2005 - PRESENT
CHARLES MEYER 2013 2006 - PRESENT
STEVE JOEKEL 2013 2007 - PRESENT
BOB MARTIN 2014 2008 - PRESENT
BOB DANENHAUER 2014 2008 - PRESENT
KATHI WIESKAMP 2012 2008 - PRESENT
* - MEMBER – ORIGINAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS…
STEVE SHANAHAN 2014 1996 - 2007 / 2009 - PRESENT
DICK BEECHNER 2014 2000 - 2002 / 2011 - PRESENT
ADRIAN FIALA 2013 201_ - PRESENT
RANDY YORK 2014 201_ - PRESENT
DARIS BOYSEN 2013 201_ - PRESENT
33. _______________ 2014 201_ - PRESENT
NUMBER OF BOARD MEMBERS TERMS ENDING BY YEAR & # OF VACANCIES - 9/26/2011
2012 – 11 - - - - - - 0 VACANCIES
2013 – 09 - - - - - - 2 VACANCIES
2014 – 09 - - - - - - 2 VACANCIES
HISTORY OF THE SIZE OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
ORIGINAL BOARD IN 1993 - - - - - - 18 MEMBERS
BOARD EXPANDED IN 1995 - - - - - - 25 MEMBERS - #
BOARD EXPANDED IN 1998 - - - - - - 30 MEMBERS - #
BOARD EXPANDED IN 2007 - - - - - - 33 MEMBERS - #
# - MAXIMUM NUMBER OF BOARD MEMBERS ALLOWED BY CONSTITUTION...
NOTE: WHEN CHARLES MEYER WAS APPROVED AS A BOARD MEMBER AT THE
FEBRUARY 15, 2006, MEETING, THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME THE
BOARD OF DIRECTORS HAD ACTUALLY REACHED THIRTY (30) MEMBERS.
NOTE: WHEN BOB MARTIN, DAVE VAN METRE, AND BOB DANENHAUER WERE
APPROVED AS BOARD MEMBERS AT THE FEBRUARY 13, 2008, MEETING,
THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS HAD REACHED
THIRTY THREE (33) MEMBERS.
CURRENT EMERITUS HALL OF FAME BOARD MEMBERS
NAME YEARS SERVED
HOPPY MCCUE * 2011 - PRESENT
KEN FISCHER * 2011 - PRESENT
AL PAPIK 2011 - PRESENT
DAVE VAN METRE 2011 - PRESENT
CONDE SARGENT * 2011 - PRESENT
STEVEN WINDRUM * 2011 - PRESENT
* - MEMBER – ORIGINAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS…
FORMER HALL OF FAME BOARD MEMBERS
NAME YEARS SERVED
JERRY NEELY * 1993 - 1994
STEVE JOHNSEN * 1993 - 1995
BILL SHOEMAKER * 1993 - 1995
BILL MADDEN * 1993 - 1996
TOM MIHANE * 1993 - 1996
DICK THOMPSON * 1993 - 1996
TED ROWAN * 1993 - 1998
CHUCK JURA * 1993 - 2000
CAROL FROST * 1993 - 2000
JERRY MATHERS * 1993 - 2003
JACK HALLSTROM * 1993 - 2004
ROGER NEUJAHR * 1993 - 2008
TOM MILLSAP 1994 - 1996
GEORGE SHINKER 1994 - 2000
ROY POUNDS 1995 - 1995
CON MARSHALL 1995 - 1996
BARB WAGNER 1996 - 1996
LARRY MOLLRING 1996 - 2000
STEVE SHANAHAN @ 1996 - 2007
ROGER SAYERS 1996 - 2009
LINDA CARLSON 1999 - 2000
AL PAPIK 1999 - 2011
DICK BEECHNER # 2000 - 2002
DICK DAVIS 2000 - 2003
NANCY BECKER 2001 - 2008
STEVE ERWIN 2002 - 2003
STEVE BORER 2008 - 2011
* - MEMBER – ORIGINAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS…
@ - REJOINED BOARD OF DIRECTORS IN 2009
# - REJOINED BOARD OF DIRECTORS IN 2011
FORMER EMERITUS HALL OF FAME BOARD MEMBERS
NAME YEARS SERVED
DICK BEECHNER 2010 – 2011