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04/25/2015 - From The Press Box: Saying Goodbye To Ade and Little Bro Heads To Columbus

 This week has been a time to remember a great athlete, broadcaster and most importantly, a great human being.

Adrian Fiala, a former Nebraska football and baseball player and long time radio and TV analyst for Husker athletics, died April 13 after a battle with a lung condition.

Thursday evening, those of us who were longtime friends, colleagues, acquaintances of Adrian's gathered at the Champions Club, in the shadows of Memorial Stadium where he made all those defensive plays as a Blackshirt in the late 1960s.  We celebrated his life by telling old stories about him, catching up on the latest happenings and toasting a terrific life he led as the NU athletic department's "ambassador."

Former fullback Jeff Kinney and radio and TV colleague Kevin Kugler were among the featured speakers.  

Kinney credits Adrian for laying the foundation for the Huskers' national championship success in 1970 and '71, after his senior season in 1969.

Kugler says the things he will remember about Adrian, was his great sense of humor.  

Ade did have a great sense of humor, in the times I was around him.  He'd share a few laughs with me before he would record his daily commentary for the Husker network feed.

Former Husker and longtime broadcaster Adrian Fiala died on Monday at the age of 67.

The turnout for his celebration of life Thursday was terrific.  Radio and TV personalities from Tom Johnson (formerly of KFAB), Nebraska volleyball voice John Baylor and Neil Nelkin to my colleague John Harris and former KMTV sports director and longtime play-by-play man Jim Kelter were all there for the occasion and to reminisce Adrian's days as an announcer.

Adrian Fiala, everyone in Lincoln, America and across the state of Nebraska will miss you.

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It's been known for more than two weeks that my little brother, Jimmy Motz, will be the new boys basketball coach at Columbus High School.

Seems to be a perfect fit.

Like myself, he knows the type of playing environment that can take place in the old Columbus High gym.  

We both played at Lincoln Northeast, separated by five years, and face great Discoverer teams in that period of time.  Crowds were big in that gym, providing the perfect storm to spoil an opposing team's chances of winning.  Well, it worked some of the time.

But Jimmy hopes to bring Columbus basketball back into the spotlight.  The last time the Discoverers were at State was 2001, when the lost in the Class A championship to Lincoln East 36-35.

It will be nice to see him more often, since Columbus will play teams like Northeast and Pius X next season.   When he took over at Sterling in 2007, he brought them back from a 4-15 season before he showed up, to a 15-8 finish in year one and a Class D2 championship in only his second season.

Unfortunately, it didn't happen at Central City, with this past season he gained ground on a program that had been on hard times for years and never had much of a basketball presence.  The Bison finished 9-12, after having some two and four-win seasons previously.  It's progress and Central City had some kids that could play.

Jimmy Motz (Courtesy of the Central City Republican Nonpareil)

Central City is a great community.  The school and boosters supported Jimmy, but I think there may have been some of those people that maybe felt it was only a stepping stone for him.  Turns out it was, but you never know.

Columbus, which has a tradition of great basketball teams, could be similar to Jimmy's first year at Sterling.  Time will tell.  They will be a Class B team, with a little Class A flavor in their schedule.

I can say this......he will take the sense of community he learned from growing up and playing in northeast Lincoln, his basketball knowledge he gained as a young man through high school and his college career at Creighton and use it to the best of his ability at Columbus, just like he did at Sterling and Central City.

While he's now a Discoverer, deep down he still bleeds the black and white of Northeast High School.  There's still that sense of pride.  I know, because he expressed his best wishes to the Rockets before this year's state tournament on Twitter.  

It's easy for coaches to forget where they came from, but Jimmy Motz hasn't forgotten.

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