LINCOLN — Matt Davison and Nicole Kubik thanked older brothers in different ways Sunday at the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame induction.
“The person who helped me in sports the most was my brother Travis,” said Davison, the 1997 World-Herald athlete of the year from Tecumseh who went on to a two-sport career at Nebraska. “He’s four years older than me, and he and his friends took me under their wing. They taught me how to compete and how to handle winning and losing.”
Kubik, the former NU basketball standout who graduated from Cambridge in 1996, got in a playful jab at her brother, Trevor.
“I’m thankful I didn’t watch my brother Trevor shoot too much,” she said. “I can’t remember who I watched, but I’m glad it wasn’t him.”
The 20th annual induction ceremony at the Lied Center for Performing Arts included the first father-daughter combination in the hall, Gene and Leigh Suhr.
Gene was a 200-win football coach and Leigh was the first four-time All-Nebraska softball player.
“To have the opportunity to go in today with my daughter makes it a special day,’’ Gene Suhr told the audience of more than 600.
“I wish I had half his passion and love for his sport,’’ said Leigh, who coaches softball at Omaha South.
She also looked at a photo of herself that was on display and in the awards program and said, “I might be the one person in the hall of fame with a mohawk. I wore my hair down today to be a little more professional.”
Also inducted were athletes Bill Hawkins of Beatrice (1952), Terry Williams of Omaha Central (1962), Reggie Smith of West Point Central Catholic (1966), John Sherlock of Omaha South (1979), Donna (Chvatal) Schuetz of North Bend (1982), Michelle Kush of Gibbon (1989) and Kelly Cizek of Millard South (1997); coaches John Faiman of Bellevue West, Tom McCann of Kearney and Dennis Troester of Bartley Southwest; official Darrell Lenz of Chappell; and contributors Dick Christie and Jack Payne of Omaha. Hawkins, Williams, Faiman and Christie are deceased.
Kelly Faiman, John’s son, said he remembered seeing the smoke from his father’s cigarettes float out from underneath the coach’s office door and through the projection of 8mm game films.
McCann said he got into wrestling at his Los Angeles-area high school only because the coach saw the 95-pounder moving a desk.
Payne, his announcer’s voice still strong at 90, said he considers his defining moment in Nebraska high school sports to be when he succeeded Joe diNatale as the announcer for the state track meet. It also was important to him, Payne said, to do live reports from the first girls state meet in Grand Island in 1971.
Perhaps the most poignant moment was when Bette Williams, Terry’s widow, accepted his honor. He died in February at his Fort Wayne, Ind., home, where he had been a longtime volunteer youth track coach.
“It was his dream and goal to become a member of the hall of fame,’’ she said. “Upon receiving the (induction) letter in March, I started to look for old photos as requested. I was out of luck (because) he had sent all of them in over the years. We found his last letter to the (hall) board, but he never mailed it because he had given up.”
Other honors Sunday
Fischer Family Award: Al and Patti Bahe family of Fremont: a three-generation coaching family.
Gustafson Inspiration Award: Olajuwon (O.J.) Wilson, Omaha Central: Diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at age 11, he suffered two strokes during treatment and lapsed into a coma. The cancer is now in remission, and he was a defensive tackle on Central’s reserve team.
Golden Anniversary teams: 1963-64 Beaver Crossing basketball (Class D state champion), 1963 Lincoln Northeast football (undefeated, finished second to Omaha Creighton Prep in final Top 10).
Silver Anniversary teams: 1988-89 Gibbon girls basketball (second consecutive undefeated Class C-1 championship team), 1988-89 Millard South boys basketball (undefeated state champion).
Dominant Dynasty: Omaha Central girls track, 1974 to 1990 (11 state championships and five runner-up finishes).
Great Moment in High School Sports: Gibbon’s comeback against Fremont Bergan (five points in the final six seconds to win 47-46) in the 1988 Class C-1 girls basketball title game.