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 41-50:
50. Gary Anderson, rifle shooting, Axtell: Repeating as the 300-meter rifle Olympic gold medalist in 1968 in Mexico City, Anderson is the last of only four Americans in shooting history to earn gold medals in two Olympics. He also won that event in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. “When you win once,” Anderson said, “you’re the target from then on. To come back and win just as decisively as the first time is the moment I still remember best.”
49. Les Witte, football/basketball, Lincoln: After leading Lincoln High to the 1930 state basketball championship, Witte had two choices: follow his six older siblings, who all had attended the University of Nebraska, or join his older brother, Dutch, who had become coach at the University of Wyoming. In 1934, Witte’s 26-3 Wyoming team was selected as the national champion by the Helms Athletic Foundation, the only collegiate voting poll of the era.
48. Phil Cahoy, gymnastics, Omaha: A member of the 1980 Olympic team, Cahoy was also on the University of Nebraska teams that dominated the college scene.
Cahoy earned four NCAA national championships — two on the horizontal bar and two on the parallel bars — despite being 6-foot-1.
47. Randy Rasmussen, football, Cotesfield: Rasmussen started at offensive guard for the New York Jets in their 1969 Super Bowl victory over the Baltimore Colts, and was part of one of the great upsets in history when he blocked for Joe Namath in the win over Baltimore. He also played four years at Kearney State, during which the Antelopes lost only four games.
46. Dean Steinkuhler, football, Burr: Before the “fumbleroosky” and the NFL, Steinkuhler was an all-state eight-man lineman when he received one of Nebraska’s final scholarships for 1979. A 1983 All-America guard, he led a Nebraska line that produced more than 400 rushing yards per game, and he swept the Lombardi and Outland Trophies that season and even scored a trick-play touchdown in the 1984 Orange Bowl.
45. Bobby Reynolds, football, Grand Island: “Mr. Touchdown” scored a wild 33-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-1 led Nebraska to a 40-34 victory over Missouri in 1950. It has been estimated he covered as many as 100 yards, reversing his field three times and retreating nearly 30 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
44. Charles “Deacon” Jones, football/track & field/baseball/basketball, Boys Town: Jones competed in the 1956 and 1960 Olympics in track in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and was an NCAA cross country and track champion for the Iowa Hawkeyes.
43. Steve Hokuf, football/track & field/basketball, Crete: In his final football game as a Husker, he caught two touchdown passes and on another reception lateraled to Bernie Masterson for the other touchdown in a 21-14 win over Southern Methodist. Hokuf was also twice All-Nebraska in football and basketball and was a state pentathlon champion at Crete High.
42. Eric Crouch, football/track & field, Omaha: Crouch might best be remembered for one of Nebraska’s most famous passes in school history, a 63-yard touchdown against Oklahoma. The quarterback left Lincoln holding 19 school records and the program’s third Heisman Trophy.
41. Roland Locke, football/track & field, North Platte: At the 1926 Drake Relays, Locke ran a world record 9.5 second 100-yard dash on a cold, wet day. Locke took the lead soon after the gun and won going away. Locke held world records in the 100 and 220 (20.5 seconds on May 1, 1926).