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CURRENT ARTICLE
04/06/2014 - From The Press Box: Larsen and Stevens Part of New Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame Class
 John Larsen and Chuck Stevens.

Two names synonymous with high school sports in Lincoln will be part of the 2014 class into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame.

The news was announced Friday in a news release that named the ten athletes, four coaches, two contributors and one official to be inducted at the 21st induction ceremony Oct. 5 at the Lied Center.

Larsen is known for his success as the girls basketball coach at Lincoln Southeast, where he won nine state titles in 31 seasons while racking up 560 wins.  He also served as an assistant football coach on eight state championship teams and took over the head coaching job in 2006 and held the position until after the 2010 season.  

Larsen is one of the four coaches going in, joining Kelly Flynn of South Sioux City girls basketball; Columbus Scotus volleyball and girls basketball coach John Petersen and Kearney track coach Roger Mathiesen.

Stevens, a fixture in Lincoln broadcasting, spent more than 30 years covering high school sports on radio and television.  He came to Lincoln in 1960 as a 19-year-old young broadcaster to work as a staff announcer for KOLN-TV.  Much of his career was in sales and added sportscaster to his resume when he was a weekend sports anchor at the station from 1972 to 1982.  

During that time, he started broadcasting high school football and basketball games on a part-time basis on then rock and roller KLMS-AM in 1980.  When the sports director position opened up at KFOR-AM in 1982, Chuck accepted the job and began a 30-year career of doing play-by-play of high school games and anchoring sports on the morning show.

Chuck retired from the mic in December 2012 and devotes much of his spare time with family, friends and playing golf, which is nothing unusual for him during the warm months of the year.

He now joins Mark Ahmann as one of two broadcasters to be inducted as contributors.  Ahmann received the honor in 2007.

Joining Chuck in the hall of fame is fellow contributor Dick Beechner, who currently serves as a member of the hall of fame's Board of Directors and was the executive director.  Beechner served as a coach and administrator while organizing the state high school cross country and golf meets.

Congratulations to these men who I've either had the privilege of interviewing or worked with in my career!   Truly deserving of earning such a great honor.

The athletes and anniversary teams to also be inducted include the following:

--Wally Anderzunas (Omaha Creighton Prep, 1964): A two-time all-state player, he led Creighton Prep to the state basketball title in 1964, played at Creighton University and for the Cincinnati Royals of the NBA.

--Cory Eikmeier (Dodge, 1997): State record-setting running back rushed for 8,330 yards and scored 156 touchdowns in his prep career. Went on to play at UNO.


--Gerry Ferguson (Scottsbluff, 1947): A four-sport standout, he was All-Big Ten in football and basketball, leading the Bearcats to the mythical state football title in 1945. Also a state long jump champion, he earned three letters playing football for the Cornhuskers.


--Dennis Harrison (Ralston, 1990): He was a two-time state high school all-around champion in gymnastics and the 1994 NCAA all-around champion leading the Huskers to the national title.


--Cedric Hunter (Omaha South, 1983): A four-year letterman and 1,000-point scorer for the Kansas Jayhawks basketball team, he averaged more than 23 points per game his junior and senior seasons.


--Peaches (James) Keaton (Papillion-LaVista, 1999): The ace pitcher on four straight Monarch state championship teams, she set numerous state records, including throwing 11 no-hitters, five perfect games and a .04 ERA in 1999. An All-American for the Huskers, she pitched professionally for four years.


--Kristie (Korth) Brezenski (Columbus Scotus, 1998): A standout on three volleyball and three basketball state championship teams, she set assist records while leading the Shamrocks to the state soccer championship in 1998 and became a four-time conference offensive player of the year for the College of St. Mary soccer team.


--Jerry Murtaugh (Omaha North, 1967): An undefeated state high school wrestling champion and an All-American linebacker at Nebraska, he set tackle records for the national champion Cornhuskers in 1970. Signed by the New England Patriots, his professional career never took off because of knee injuries.


--Gary Neibauer (Scottsbluff, 1963): All-state in football and basketball and a state champion hurdler, he pitched and ran track for the Cornhuskers then went on to play professional baseball for the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies.


--Larry Riessland (Pleasanton, 1967): He scored a national-record nine touchdowns in a single football game and finished with 80 his career. He also scored 400 or more points in his junior and senior basketball seasons and twice placed at the state track meet in the 880.

Official
--Roger Berney (Fremont): A registered wrestling official for 32 years, he worked 20 state tournaments as well as the NAIA National Championships of 1980. He also officiated volleyball for 25 years and football for 15 years.

Honorees

Great Moment in High School Sports – Twins Darren and Damon Schmadeke of Boone Central led their team to the 1991 Class C state track championship with a 1-2 finish in the 200.

Dominant Dynasty – Falls City Sacred Heart boys and girls won 29 state championships from 1988-2011.

Gustafson Inspiration Award – Josh Jones, Omaha Central’s career leader in scoring, saw his basketball career at Creighton end because of a heart ailment.  


Fischer Family Award – Bill and Delores Kropp Family from Aurora includes successful college athletes in several sports as well as successful coaches. Son Tom played in the NBA and granddaughter Jenny is a professional beach volleyball player. 


Silver Anniversary Team – Elkhorn football (1989), Class B state champions went 13-0 and outscored foes an average of 33.5-7.7.


Silver Anniversary Team -- Hastings St. Cecilia volleyball (1989), Class C2 state champions, went 27-0, while opponents averaged less than five points per set. 


Golden Anniversary Team – Columbus football (1964), went 10-0, outscoring opponents 318-87 and chosen as the state champion by the Omaha World-Herald.


Golden Anniversary Team -- Cozad Wrestling (1965), won Class B state title for the third straight year with five individual champions.
 
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