Home Welcome F. A. C. Farwell Farwell
F. A. C.
Gift Shop
Hall of
Do You
Ditka-isms Archives Randy's

Hall of Fame


A Hall of Fame sounds like fun and important doesn't it? Your nominees will be most welcome.

Ideas, comments and suggestions are always welcome at FAN FEEDBACK.

CRETE NEWS, June 14, 2006

Inside Lines.......

Local Athlete legends receive honors

With the rich history of championship teams and players who have called Crete home in the past centur and more, it should not be a suprise that two famous Crete sporting names have received honors in recent days.

Howard Waltman, known as Crete's "Mr. Baseball," was posthumously inducted into the Farwell Athletic Club Hall of Fame along with his teammates from the 1926 Farwell town team, while Don "Goose" Vyhnalek was inducted with his teammates into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame, which inducted its first class of honorees in May.

Waltman, who died in 1996, is known in Crete for his efforts to begin a Little League baseball program in town. He began the program in 1947, according to newspaper accounts, and coached youth baseball and softball teams for many years. The softball and youth bbaseball complex in Tuxedo Park was named after him in 1979.

Waltman came to Nebraska from New York on an orphan train and settled in Farwell, where his exploits on the field helped win the town team local champiuonship in 1926. His abilities also captured the attention of major league scouts, and he was signed by the Boston Braves in 1925. He played on their AA team in Atlanta from around 1929 to 1931, when he was called back to help on the family farm.

He continued to farm and play on the semi-pro and pro level in Nebraska before hanging up his glove to work for the Burlington Northern Railroad. Howard coached baseball in Crete for 17 years. He was presented with the Crete Sertoma's Service Award in 1979.

By Andy Mc Callister, sports writer for the Crete News
402-826-2147 or sportsdesk@cretenews.netNews


On September 25, 2005, in Lincoln, Ne. at the Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame annual banquet. Farwell has two significant contributions. Of the five honored coaches, Al Gaston, had his first coaching job in Farwell. Of the Golden Anniversary teams, Holstein is being honored for going undefeated in 1955-56. Guess what other team went undefeated that year and go beat by Holstein? You got it...Farwell!

Read on for more information or go to www.nebsportshalloffame.org.

........Honoring the Past to Inspire the Future.........


Shelly (Block) Tvrdy, Gothenburg, 1983
Todd Brown, Holdrege, 1978
Mike Cielocha, Columbus Scotus, 1979
Don Erway, Lincoln High, 1953
Mike Fultz, Lincoln High, 1973
Ken Geddes, Boys Town, 1966
John Kirby, David City St. Mary, 1960
Joe Orduna, Omaha Central, 1966
Randy Reeves, Omaha Benson, 1966
Willard Schmidt, Swanton, 1928
Theresa (Stelling) Gosnell, Auburn, 1990
Charlie Toogood, North Platte, 1945


Fred Bessler, Chase County
Dale Bubak, Hayes Center and Tekamah
Al Gaston, Grant and Ogallala
John Johnette, Omaha Burke
Phyllis Rice-Honner, Centennial


Jim Riley, Lincoln


Bill Lewis, Lincoln


Fischer Family Award: Leon and Mayme Dostal family, Scribner.
Ron Gustafson Inspiration Award: Neil Halford, Fort Calhoun.
Great Moment: Molly Hill and the Wayne High softball team.
Great Moment: Columbus Scotus volleyball win streak.
Silver Anniversary Team: Grant football and boys basketball, 1980-81.
Silver Anniversary Team: Fremont cross country and boys track, 1980-81.
Golden Anniversary Team: Holstein Basketball, 1955-56.
Golden Anniversary Team: Omaha Creighton Prep football, 1955


LINCOLN – Twelve of Nebraska’s greatest all-time athletes, five coaches, a contributor and an official will be inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame at its induction ceremony Sept. 25 at the Lied Center in Lincoln. (See ticket order info in right column)

This will be the 11th Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame Foundation induction ceremony, bringing the total number of athletes, coaches, officials and contributors inducted to 239. The athletes scheduled to be inducted this year are:

--Shelly (Block) Tvrdy, Gothenburg Class of 1983:A standout in track, cross country and basketball. She went on to play basketball for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and a career as a successful high school coach.

--Todd Brown, Holdrege Class of 1978: The first triple jumper in the state to surpass 50 feet, he still holds the state record at 50-2 ¼. A 1977 all-state defensive back and Shrine Bowl selection, he played wide receiver for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and professionally in the Canadian Football League.

--Mike Cielocha, Columbus Scotus Class of 1979: Won or shared six all-class gold medals at the state track meet in 1978 and 1979. Scotus won the Class B team titles those years as he finished with nine Class B gold medals. He was a three-year startger in football, making the Class B all-state team in 1978. He also played basketball and was the captain of the University of Nebraska track team.

--Don Erway, Lincoln High Class of 1953: Was named the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal-Star Athlete of the Year in 1953.He played on the undefeated Links football teams of 1951 and 1952, averaging 6.85 yards per carry. He was a two-year letterman in basketball, averaging 19.5 points per game his senior year while earning all-state honors. He also played catcher on two state championship teams and went on to play football and baseball for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

--Mike Fultz, Lincoln High Class of 1973: Won the all-class gold medal in the shot put (58-8 ¼) as a senior and played defensive tackle, running back and linebacker in football. He lettered eight times in football, basketball and track. He was a three-year starter at defensive tackle for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and a second-round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints.

--Ken Geddes, Boys Town Class of 1966: A starter on Boys Town’s 1966 Class A basketball state championship team, he earned all-state football honors as a senior and ran on the all-class, gold-medal winning mile relay team as a junior. He was an All-Big Eight football for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and played eight seasons in the NFL.

--John Kirby, David City St. Mary Class of 1960: A two-time Class C all-state football player and Wigwam Wise Man of America All-American. He was a two-year starter in basketball, leading the team in rebounding. Also had the best discus throw in all classes in 1960. He played football at Nebraska and was captain of the Nebraska team that defeated Auburn in the Orange Bowl. He played for the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants.

--Joe Orduna Omaha Central Class of 1966: The winner of three gold medals (long jump, low hurdles, 880 relay) at the 1966 state track meet, he was a starting halfback for the Eagles and a two-time state qualifier in wrestling. He was a three-year letterman for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, rushing for 1,968 yards and 26 touchdowns. He played professionally for the New York Giants and Baltimore Colts.

--Randy Reeves, Omaha Benson Class of 1966: A three-year starter in football who earned all-metro, all-state and all-American honors, including Coca-Cola Back of the Year. The Omaha World Herald Athlete of the Year, he was a two-year starter on in basketball and a two-time gold medalist in the pole vault. He was the first Nebraskan to clear 14 feet. He played football for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, earning letters in 1967-69.

--Willard Schmidt, Swanton Class of 1928: The first Nebraskan to play on an Olympic gold-medal basketball team (1936), he led Swanton to the Class L state championship in 1927 and the Class F title in 1928. He was a three-time All-Missouri Valley selection while playing for Creighton from 1931-34 and led the Bluejays to the conference championship. He died in 1965.

--Theresa (Stelling) Gosnell, Auburn Class of 1990: A distance runner who won four all-class gold medals in 1,600 meters and three in the 3,200. She won the Class B cross country championship as a senior. She was at Wakefield for two years, then finished her career at Auburn. In college at Nebraska where she ran track and cross country, she was a four-time All-American.

--Charlie Toogood, North Platte Class of 1945: An all-state tackle in 1944, he was the all-class gold medallist in the shot put at the state meet in 1945. He played for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, earning All-Big Seven honors in 1949 and 1950. He played for the NFL Champion Los Angeles Rams of 1951, and played for the Chicago Carninals and New York Giants. He died in 1997.

Coaches who will be inducted include:

--Fred Bessler: Coached football at Brule, Madrid, Cozad and Chase County and compiled at 248-81-1 record with 206 wins and a pair of Class C-1 runner-up finishes at Chase County before he retired in 2001. He coached Madrid to a 9-0 record and a No. 1 ranking. He was the Shrine Bowl head coach in 1995. In track, he coached the Longhorns to 26 consecutive conference championships.

--Dale Bubak: Coached at St. Paul, Hayes Center and Tekemah-Herman, guiding Hayes Center’s boys to five consecutive Class D state track championships from 1968-72. He also coached undefeated football teams in 1961 and 1962 at Hayes Center and was an assistant coach on the Class C-1 Tekamah-Herman state championship team of 1976.

--Al Gaston: Coached at Farwell, Stockville, Haigler Grant and Ogallala. In football, he compiled a 163-68-1 record and led Grant to five state championships from 1975-85 three No. 2 rankings. He also coached track for 30 years, winning state track championships at Grant in 1975 and 1976. He died in 1998.

--John Johnette: the first basketball coach at Omaha Burke (and its predecessor, Beveridge), he led the Bulldogs to state titles in 1977 and 1986 and compiled a career record of 292-251 before retiring in 1988. H also was Burke’s first baseball coach, winning Class A in 1970.

--Phyllis Rice-Honner: Only one of her 34 volleyball teams at Centennial had a losing record as she put together a coaching record of 459-151in 1984, 1985 and 1987 and reaching the finals in 1989. She also coached track for 16 years and basketball for one.

Other inductees:

--Bill Lewis, Lincoln, referee, long-time referee and Nebraska School Activities Association director of officials. He began officiating junior high basketball games in 1961, while still in junior high. He continued to officiate until hired in 1988 by the NSAA to be supervisor of officials. As supervisor of officials, he conducted rules meetings, clinics and camps, observed officials throughout the state and assigned officials for state tournaments and playoffs. He retired in 2004.

--Jim Riley, Lincoln, contributor, long-time NSAA Executive Director who coached basketball at Crawford, Norfolk and Omaha Westside before being hired as an assistant executive director for the Nebraska School Activities Association in 1970. In 1976 he became the executive director. During his tenure, the number of NSAA-sanctioned sports grew from six to 21. He retired in 2001.

Other awards that will be presented at the induction ceremony include:

--The Fischer Family Award, to the Leon and Mayme Dostal family of Scribner and the families of their sons (Bob, Larry, Ken, Norm, Rich, Dave and Don) and daughters (Irma Dostal, Mary Ann Johnson, Janet Bailey and Rosie Hanna).

--The Ron Gustafson Inspiration Award, to Neil Halford of Fort Calhoun who, despite blindness, placed fourth in the state wrestling meet in 1992 and was a state qualifier in 1991.

--Great Moments in Nebraska High School Sports, to the Columbus Scotus volleyball team, whose record winning streak reached 114 matches, and Wayne pitcher Molly Hill, who last fall posted state records of a 0.00 ERA and 543 strikeouts with a 34-0 record in a state-championship season.

--Silver Anniversary Team awards to the 1980-81 state champion Grant football (11-1) and boys basketball (26-0) teams and the Fremont boys cross country and track teams that won Class A state titles.

--Golden Anniversary Team awards to the Holstein basketball team of 1955-56 that completed a two-year sweep of Class E basketball, and the Omaha Creighton Prep football team of 1955 that was 8-0-1.


The Hall of Fame is pleased that the Nebraska Sports Council has offered to handle the sale and distribution of the tickets to our annual awards banquet (set for Sept. 25, 2005.

Tickets for the Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony are $20 for adults, $10 for elementary and high school students. Preschool students will be admitted free.

Tickets can be purchased by writing to the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame care of Cornhuskers State Games, P.O. Box 82411, Lincoln, NE., 68501. Tickets may be purchased by credit card by calling 1-402-471-2544 or toll free in Nebraska by calling 1-800-304-2637.

The Nebraska Sports Council long has been a supporter of high school sports, is best known for its annual Cornhusker State Games and directs the following programs:

N-Lighten Nebraska, Feb.1/June 1/ 05

N-Lighten Kids, Feb. 1/ May 1/05

Cornhusker State Games, July 9-17/ 05

What We're About

The Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization operating for nearly 10 years with the idea of preserving the history of high school sports. It has several awards annually honoring individuals and teams and has inducted more than 150 athletes, coaches and/or contributors, including some of the great names in Nebraska sports such as Gale Sayers, Johnny Rodgers, Carol Frost, the Fischer family, Tom Kropp, Nancy Kindig-Malone, Bob Gibson, Bob Boozer, Amy Stephens and Tom Osborne.

We're taking nominations for 2006 and after. Randy Cordes is chairman of the selection group.


3214 20th Ave. Kearney, 68845

1103 Mackensey Papillion 680467

21901 Woodland Hills Cr, Eagle 68347

1123 Delmar, Papillion, 68046

2948 Westridge Dr, Blair, 68008

19 honorees inducted into Nebraska prep hall of fame

BY RYLY JANE HAMBLETON / Lincoln Journal Star, 9/26/05

Ken Geddes worked hard at not working at Boys Town. That’s why he became an all-state football player, an all-Big Eight performer and played for eight years in the National Football League.

“When I got to Boys Town, everyone had to have a job. My job was in the bakery, and everybody was telling me that if you go out for athletics, you don’t have to work,” he told the crowd at the 12th annual Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony. “That was the start of my athletic career. Without Boys Town, I wouldn’t be here.”

Geddes was one of 12 athletes, five coaches, one official and one contributor inducted into the hall Sunday at the Lied Center.

Geddes also played basketball and was a gold medalist in track for Boys Town. After his career at Nebraska, he played for the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks.

Others inducted were athletes Shelly Block Tvrdy of Gothenburg, Todd Brown of Holdrege, Mike Cielocha of Columbus Scotus, Don Erway of Lincoln High, Mike Fultz of Lincoln High, John Kirby of David City St. Mary, Joe Orduna of Omaha Central, Randy Reeves of Omaha Benson, Willard Schmidt of Swanton, Theresa Stelling Gosnell of Wakefield and Auburn and Charlie Toogood of North Platte; coaches Fred Bessler of Chase County, Dale Bubak of Hayes Center, Al Gaston of Grant and Ogallala, John Johnette of Omaha Burke and Phillis Rice Honnor of Centennial; and official Bill Lewis and contributor James Riley, both who worked for the Nebraska School Activities Association.

Geddes and Fultz gave credit to their high school counselors.

“I want to thank my high school counselor for getting me into the college-prep classes I needed,” said Fultz, who was an All-American at NU and played for the New Orleans Saints and Baltimore Colts after his standout prep career. “I stomped around and said I didn’t want them, but I’m very thankful my counselor got me into the classes that allowed me to do the things I have.

“I want to thank my mother, because she was always there for me. She didn’t always give me what I wanted, but she was always there for me.”

Brown, who set the state triple-jump record at 50 feet, 2¼ inches, also played at Nebraska and then played five years in the Canadian Football League. He told of the time when he was 12 years old that he met Orduna and got an autograph.

Orduna excelled in football, wrestling and track at Central before earning all-Big Eight honors for the Huskers, and he then played three years in the NFL.

Don Erway, the 1955 Journal Star Athlete of the Year from Lincoln High, said his son told him just before his presentation that he was the oldest athlete being inducted.

“Thanks, son, for that. My mom, like moms all over, made scrapbooks for me. I just want to tell you young athletes that when you’re looking at your scrapbooks when they’re 50 years old, you’ll be reading them alone because no one else cares,” he said, drawing the biggest laugh of the day. “But hang on to them, because they make an excellent tool for putting grandkids to sleep.”

Reach Ryly Jane Hambleton at 473-7314 or rhambleton@journalstar.com.

Former Husker players among hall inductees


LINCOLN - Todd Brown remembered the poem he received as a 12-year-old asking for an autograph in a Methodist church in his hometown of Holdrege.

"As God made me, so I am. As he wills, so I'll be. Abide in you, Jesus Christ."

The writer? Joe Orduna.

"On that day," Brown said Sunday," you entered my hall of fame. And it's no surprise you're entering this one today."

Brown and Orduna, both former Nebraska football players, were among 19 honored Sunday at the 12th annual Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame induction at the Lied Center. More than 700 people attended.

Orduna, an Omaha Central graduate who lives in California, thanked his Nebraska family in another Christian testimonial.

"You probably don't have any idea of the impact that you have had on my life and the lives of others," he said. "You gave me an opportunity to come into your homes and your schools and your churches. You allowed me to taste life outside the world I was raised in. You confirmed something that my mother and my father and my family instilled in me - that the love of God is greater than anything."

Orduna (1966) was one of three inductees who graduated a year apart in the mid-1960s from Omaha-area schools and went on to be NU teammates. The others were Ken Geddes of Boys Town (1965) and Randy Reeves of Omaha Benson (1966), the World-Herald athlete of the year that year.

"If I had to choose from the teammates I played with in high school and college," Reeves said, "I would pick Joe Orduna and Ken Geddes. They were wonderful teammates, friends of mine, and I'm so delighted to see them thriving."

Retired Omaha Burke coach John Johnette said family and emotion - and the men in the stripes - were on his mind.

"Family is not only my blood relatives," he said, "but the administrators, the players, the fellow coaches, the community, the student body, that is our family. Not least, but sometimes least, the officials who make it possible for us to participate. And when you think of officials, that's when you see the emotional part."

The ceremony had a strong southwest Nebraska flavor, with coaches Dale Bubak of Hayes Center, Fred Bessler of Chase County and the late Al Gaston of Grant and Ogallala inducted. Grant's 1980 state championship football team, coached by Gaston, and 1981 basketball team were silver anniversary teams along with Fremont's 1980 boys cross country and 1981 boys track teams.

Other athletes inducted were Shelly Block Tvrdy of Gothenburg, Mike Cielocha of Columbus Scotus, Don Erway of Lincoln High, Mike Fultz of Lincoln High, John Kirby of David City St. Mary, the late Willard Schmidt of Swanton, Theresa Stelling Gosnell of Auburn and the late Charlie Toogood of North Platte. Other honorees were coach Phyllis Rice-Honnor of Centennial, contributor Jim Riley and official Bill Lewis.

The golden anniversary teams were Omaha Creighton Prep's 8-0-1 football team in 1955 that was the first coached by Don Leahy and Holstein's back-to-back Class E state basketball champions in 1955 and 1956.

The Leon and Mayme Dostal family of Scribner received the Fischer Family Award and Neil Halford of Fort Calhoun was honored with the Ron Gustafson Inspiration Award.

Great moments in Nebraska High School Sports were the 0.00 ERA and 543 strikeouts posted in 2004 by All-Nebraska softball pitcher and honorary captain Molly Hill of Wayne and the state-record 115-match volleyball winning streak for Columbus Scotus that ended in the 2004 Class C-1 final.

This site Created and Maintained by Strelecki Online Services
©Copyright 2005-2006 Mark Strelecki