In a historic 2005 series dubbed “The Nebraska 100: Our Greatest Athletes,” The World-Herald selected the state’s all-time top 100 athletes.
The elite group came from a pool of more than 450 names from the ranks of high school, college, amateur and professional sports from the past 130 years. Assistance came from a panel of veteran sports observers from across the state, with the newspaper’s sports staff determining the final rankings.
The World-Herald for the first time has digitized ‘The Nebraska 100′ collection, creating a unique player card for each honoree complete with biographical information, the athlete’s path to success, early signs of greatness and more.
The players are also immortalized in a World-Herald eBook, available on all major eBook devices, and you can buy the commemorative poster if you’re in the market for a permanent keepsake to put on display.
Each week we’ll highlight a different group of 10 athletes from the original 2005 list, so make sure to check the sports blog to find even more about the state’s greatest athletes.
Here’s a look at 71-80:
80. Danny Noonan, football, Lincoln: Coach Tom Osborne later admitted to Noonan that he was just about the last player to survive the cut on Nebraska’s recruiting board 23 years ago. Not only was Nebraska his only offer, but Noonan had not even one other opportunity to visit a Division I campus. Read more about Noonan.
79. Chuck Sharpe, swimming, Omaha: At the 1981 Big Ten Championship in Waukesha, Wis., Sharpe had barely made the 200 finals but ended up beating Iowa’s Graeme Brewer, the 1980 Olympic bronze medalist in the 200, to win the event. Read more about Sharpe.
78. John Parrella , football, Grand Island: Defensive coordinator Charlie McBride once ranked him among the top three defensive tackles he had ever coached. Read more about Parrella.
77. Johnny Hopp, baseball, Hastings: Hopp won back-to-back World Series with the Yankees in 1950 and 1951 and was voted the most popular player of the World Series in 1941. His best year at the plate was 1950 when he hit .339 for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Read more about Hopp.
76. Willard Schmidt, basketball, Swanton: Schmidt, who played basketball at Creighton from 1931-34, participated in the first Olympics where basketball was a medal sport in 1936. Read more about Schmidt.
75. Todd Brown, track and field/football, Holdrege: He turned down multiple scholarship offers from other schools, including a football and track scholarship package from Iowa State, to walk on at Nebraska and play football. Read more about Brown.
74. Charles Brock, football, Columbus: Brock captained the Green Bay Packers to a 14-7 win over the New York Giants in the NFL championship game in 1944. The Giants had beaten Green Bay 24-0 four weeks earlier. Read more about Brock.
73. Tom Osborne, football/track and field/baseball/basketball, Hastings: Maybe you have heard of him? Long-time Nebraska football coach. Recently retired NU Athletic Director. We even wrote a book on him. His best moment as an athlete? Osborne led Hastings College to the Mineral Water Bowl as a sophomore quarterback in 1957. Read more about Osborne.
72. Fred Hare, basketball, Omaha: Hare’s best moment as an athlete? On Dec. 12, 1964, he made an incredible shot — flipping the ball over his head with his back to the basket — at the buzzer to give Nebraska a 74-73 win over No. 1-ranked Michigan and All-American Cazzie Russell. Read more about Hare.
71. Angee Henry, track and field, Bellevue: The high points of her career include being a two-time NCAA long jump champion, a threetime conference champion and 10-time All-American at NU. Read more about Henry.