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 51-60:
60. Teri Steer, track and field, Crete: She was a two-time NCAA shot put champion at Southern Methodist. She was the 2002 USA indoor and outdoor champion as well as a 1999 World Indoor bronze medalist, and Steer competed in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Read more about Steer.
59. Verne Lewellen, football/track and field/baseball/basketball, Lincoln: Lewellen was known for a little of everything. Four-sport star at Lincoln High. Nebraska football great. Pittsburgh Pirates baseball signee. Four-time football all-pro with the Green Bay Packers. Longtime Packers front-office executive (once replaced by Vince Lombardi). NU law degree recipient. Brown County (Wis.) district attorney. Read more about Lewellen.
58. Dan Brand, wrestling/football/track and field/basketball, Lincoln and Bellevue: Brand’s best moment as an athlete was winning the bronze medal in wrestling at the 1964 Olympics. Read more about Brand.
57. Carl Vinciquerra, wrestling/football/boxing, Omaha: Vinciquerra played football at Tech High and Creighton University, but is better remembered at home for making the 1936 U.S. Olympic boxing team. Read more about Vinciquerra.
56. Bob Hohn, football/track and field/basketball, Beatrice: Hohn once said a highlight was scoring three touchdowns in the 1960 Shrine Bowl. “I was kind of surprised that somebody from a small school could play against the guys from the big schools.” Read more about Hohn.
55. Zach Wiegert, football, Fremont: Wiegert’s best moment as an athlete? No question here, it was his last game at NU — a 24-17 fourth-quarter comeback win over Miami in the Orange Bowl to complete a 13-0 season and give Tom Osborne his first national title as a head coach. “I played in the (1999) AFC championship game. But until you win the whole thing, it’s just not the same feeling.” Read more about Wiegert.
54. Tom Rathman, football, Grand Island: Tom Rathman still recalls competitors smirking when he first stepped on the runway. He looked more like a shot putter than a high jumper. But Rathman cleared one height, then the next, then the next. By the time he was finished at GIHS, he’d posted 6-foot-7. He won a state gold medal as a junior. Read more about Rathman.
53. Val Skinner, golf, North Platte: She is a six-time winner on the LPGA Tour. She was Golf Magazine’s 1982 college player of the year while at Oklahoma State. She’s a member of the Nebraska golf hall of fame and the Oklahoma State hall of fame. Read more about Skinner.
52. Howard Debus, football/track & field, Lincoln: His best moment as an athlete was winning four gold medals at the 1940 state track meet. Read more about Debus.
51. Gregg Olson, football/baseball, Omaha: Olson left the college ranks as a two-time All-American and was the fourth pick of the 1988 draft, the highest by a Nebraska native before Alex Gordon went No. 2 to Kansas City.