Published Monday, May 21, 2012 AT 12:54 PM / Updated at 1:21 PM
Mad Chatter, May 21
Dirk Chatelain Omaha World-Herald

Bob Boozer, the most active 75-year-old you could ever know, died suddenly over the weekend. Friday afternoon he was fine. Saturday afternoon, a brain aneurysm had taken his life.

While Boozer’s name likely means very little to people of my generation, his place in Omaha history is almost unrivaled.

He is, without a doubt, the most accomplished basketball player the state has ever produced. He was a leader and role model, not only for blacks in his old neighborhood, but for whites who witnessed his class and integrity.

In February, I called Boozer to seek his opinion on Doug McDermott. If anyone could break down McDermott’s game, it was Boozer, who put up similar numbers at Kansas State in the late-50s.

Boozer’s response: He hadn’t seen McDermott play.

I was baffled. Really? Creighton has an All-American and you haven’t seen him? Boozer suggested we go to a game sometime. I called him a few weeks later, but he had a conflict.

The point is not to say Boozer didn’t care about McDermott. But even at 75, he had bigger issues on his agenda.

Upon retiring from the telephone company in the late 90s, Boozer couldn’t stand sitting around, so he accepted a position on the Nebraska Board of Parole, driving to Lincoln four days a week; the fifth day he spent in Omaha. Occasionally, I’d call his house at 7 or 8 at night seeking a comment for a story and he wasn’t home yet.

Boozer was No. 4 on The World-Herald’s list of greatest athletes in state history. But he didn’t seclude himself from the community. Nor did he spend much time re-living the glory days. He poured hours and hours back into Omaha, using his fame to help others. That’s the most important piece of Boozer’s legacy.

We’ll have much more on Boozer this week in The World-Herald.

***

>> The 2015-16 Big Ten football schedules came out this morning. Nebraska obviously kept Penn State (its official crossover rival). It was due to face Indiana. The question was whether the Huskers would draw Wisconsin or Ohio State. The answer was Wisconsin. I applaud the Big Ten’s decision. But I really wish the Nebraska-Wisconsin matchup could happen every year. It makes so much more sense than an annual clash with Penn State.

>> Can Nebraska win the Big Ten baseball tournament as a No. 4 seed? You have to like its chances better than a few weeks ago, especially with freshman lefty Kyle Kubat on a roll. Kubat can beat Michigan State. The question is, which starting pitcher can beat Purdue on Thursday?

>> Bo Pelini stands up for Alfonzo Dennard. I applaud Bo for saying what he thinks. But hopefully Dennard does indeed learn from his April incident on O Street. It may have been out-of-character, but it’s still a red flag.

>> Ridicule LeBron James if you must. But you better also enjoy him. Because there’s never been a player like him, says Michael Rosenberg.

>> James and Wade were unbelievable in Indy on Sunday. But Durant and Westbrook weren’t far behind Saturday night in Los Angeles. It’s incredible the poise and maturity the Thunder has demonstrated in the first two rounds. But beating San Antonio, which hasn’t lost a game since Manu Ginobili had a full head of hair, is the toughest stage of the gauntlet.

Here’s a few leftover links from last week (I didn’t post a blog on Friday):

>> I liked this Mike Bianchi paragraph from his column about Florida State: “If the Seminoles want to leave the ACC, fine. But here’s an even better idea: How about winning it every once in a while?”

>> I’ve never linked a story about ping pong, I mean, table tennis. But this is very good.

>> College football needs a commissioner, writes Clay Travis.

>> I missed this last week. A Missouri state senator GOES OFF on the rival Jayhawks. Hilarious.

About Dirk Chatelain

Dirk Chatelain is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska football and general assignments. You can follow Dirk on Twitter (@dirkchatelain) or email him at dchatelain@owh.com

Comments

  1. jeremy says:

    Dirk, i would love to see the entire World-Herald’s list of greatest athletes in state history. Could you post a link?

    1. Brian Norton Brian Norton says:

      Sorry Jeremy, currently it’s not up online (it’s a project from a different era of Omaha.com). But, it is something we’ve talked about. Give us some time, maybe we can get it posted.

      Brian Norton
      OWH Sports Online Editor

      1. Dos Passos says:

        hey brian, most of the links on the Big Red Bowl Retrospective are no good anymore http://omaha.com/section/BIGREDBOWLS

  2. Gumpa says:

    I agree Wisconsin is a better annual game than Penn State. Dont worry it will all change again when we go to 16 teams in the conference in a couple years. Add Notre Dame, add Pittsburgh, add Rutgers, add Boston College. Then redivide the divisions. Go with Nebraska Iowa Minnesota Wisconsin Mich St Michigan Illinois and Northwestern in one division and Ohio St Notre Dame Purdue Indiana Penn State Pittsburgh, Boston College and Rutgers in the other. Name the divisions East and West. I may be wrong the teams, but I am right on the alignments. What teams do you think will be brought in?

    1. joey says:

      ND???? They get BLUE CHIPS left and right. They still can’t get in the BCS major bowl picture. Clemson is on the rise, Try to snag a BIG 12 team. Like Okl St, OU. But heck if you’re going to invite Rutgers, why not aim for Iowa St, Kan St, or Baylor??? Heck why not Boise St, I sure would love to see what NU, Wisc, OSU, or Mich has by playing Boise St. I mean they did great against OU, GA,and other good teams. It will show the BIG what it really has. I want the BIG to get the Best Of The Best Teams. Not some lil schnook they can slap about. That won’t get NU into being the best. Just like KU basketball, they didn’t get to be a power house division in BASKETBALL, by playing these off brand teams NU plays and beats in Basketball. Pitt, is struggling too. The Big East, can barely have a winning season and play in the BCS. Look at Uconn vs OU. That was a joke, it was over before it started.

      1. Bob says:

        Boise State will never be in the Big Ten. NU barely made the educational minimum. NU needs to build up its R&D projects by a bunch to even be mentioned. And believe it or not, football or athletics in general are not the only game in town in the B1G. Even more comical are people suggesting Boise State to be in the Pac 12. Oh yeah, Stanford, Cal Berkeley, UCLA et al in the same conference with Boise State? The Pac 12 actually has real states as members. Hello! That is a real headshaker. People need to read something besides the sports page.

        1. joey says:

          Is that why LSU and Alabama refuse to play them? Oh that’s right Alabama scheduled MICH,.. why? Look at BIG vs SEC record!!! Yea BOB, so helloooo!!! You just like other teams refuse to believe that Boise St is a serious FBS team. There isn’y 1 team the Bronco’s couldn’t beat in the BIG. Come on man, Mich, Wis, Ohio St are just …ok teams. Funny though, Boise beat OU at it’s BEST. Think Mich, Wis, Ohio ST, or ANY team from the BIG can do that for that matter??? pleaaaaase… lol. You can’t be serious? Open your eyes and smell the coffee, Almost every out of conference team that Boise St has played they BEAT, from the BIG 12, SEC, you name it. Not even the BIG has that kind of credits. Ohio St played USC at their best and LOST, when Ohio St was at it’s BEST. When is the last time Wis, Mich scheduled an SEC, BIG 12 teams and won it in a REGULAR SEASON. Alabama will make Mich look like a joke this year or any other year, in Ann Arbor, or where ever they play them. BUT, like I said, notice LSU, and Alabama, already got the challenge by Boise St, and have NOT taken it. They even refuse to discuss it. Uh huh, now what were you saying….Bobby?

    2. NUCORNDEVIL says:

      No additional teams will save the big slow from it’s impending mediocre doom.

      1. Bob says:

        Is that why the B1G just reached an all-time high of ~$25 million to the 11 schools? Somehow that doesn’t correlate with your statement. (NU doesn’t get full share yet.)

  3. NUCORNDEVIL says:

    With a new coaching staff in place, and a real QB, that 2016 schedule looks like a smooth ride to the BIG Championship game.

    1. A Fan says:

      So… I assume you think Pelini is going to have a couple losing seasons between now and 2016? Because anything short of that… he’s going to remain the head coach, IMO.

      1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

        I believe this next season is going to be a disaster, if Penini survives it, he most assuredly wont survive the next. Recruiting will be important, hopefully we land a few high quality sympathetic recruits who are encouraged to help rebuild via early playing time, and ‘T.V.’ exposure. The book is out on Pelini, he can only defend classic drop back passing QB’s, his ‘genius’ (man/zone) secondary system that takes recruits 2+ years to learn, is now being picked apart and used against him. Smart move Carl, assistants will be bailing on Pelini after this season in droves, don’t be surprised to see Tim Beck take a step down, such as QB coach at another University a la Shawn Watson.
        When your HC goes on national television and claims he is lost, and is asking people around him for help in year 4……..red flag, especially considering the inexperienced people around him.
        I would seriously like to see Jeff Tedford of Cal be brought into Lincoln to shore up the option(dual threat) QB problem at NU…..Introduce a real offense, and QB development system……IMO.

        1. Skytown J says:

          Disaster? Not sure about that, but challenging for sure. We will now see what Bo can do, with his players. Make or break year for Bo. Just curious, why do you think Tedford would even consider leaving Cal for Lincoln?

          1. NUCORNDEVIL says:

            Thats a good Question, he prolly wouldn’t, but, the Pac 12 has loaded up on some solid coaches with Rich Rod, and the old T-Tech coach, the big slow, aside from Blowmea, and Urban may look more promising.
            If the money is right, he may look at it like a new beginning……..NU needs the orginizational experience, and offensive know how.

  4. LJ says:

    Dirk…Wow! You were right! That Mizzou State Senator was Hilarious!!! I could imagine the same thing in the Unicameral about the Buffs or the Longhorns.