In the Brock household during the 1920s and 1930s, you had to play sports.
All seven brothers combined for more than 60 letters for Kramer High — what is now Columbus High — with six playing college football. There was Tom, a center at Notre Dame. He became general manager at the Ak-Sar-Ben racetrack.
Bill played halfback for Creighton. Fred, a quarterback, started at Creighton and finished at Purdue. Johnny was a halfback at Kansas and Omaha University. Myron (Mike), the oldest, was a blocking back at Midland in Fremont. Bob, the third oldest, gave up football after losing a lung to “dust pneumonia.”
And Charles, the best-known Brock brother, checks in at No. 71 in the new Nebraska 100. He was a 12-letter man for the Discoverers in football, basketball and track who was All-Nebraska in basketball as a sophomore and junior and in football as a junior and senior. He was a weight man in track, but contrary to previous biographies didn’t win a state title.
At Nebraska, Charley started every game from 1936 to 1938, making The World-Herald’s All-Big Six first team each year and the Associated Press first team his final two years. He was also a first-team All-American in 1937 by the Newspaper Enterprise Association.
Taken by Green Bay in the third round of the 1939 NFL draft, Brock was a steal. He played center for the Packers from 1939, when they won the league, to 1947. He was a consensus All-Pro in 1945 — individual selectors also had him on first teams in 1940 and 1946 — and was named to the NFL’s All-1940s team in 1969.
Brock, who had been No. 74, was one of two athletes in the 71 to 80 range to move up from their 2005 ranking. Dave Hoppen, the former NBA player from Omaha Benson and NU, rose from 82 to 78.
Our sports staff panel debated the selection order of basketball players — as we did with football — at length. Notable is that Hoppen goes ahead of Omaha Tech legend Fred Hare, who slipped from 72 to 80.
The consensus was that Hoppen’s status as the Husker men’s career scoring leader and his time in the NBA outweighed Hare’s stellar prep career and legendary college moments, such as his no-look flip over his head to beat Cazzie Russell and Michigan in December 1964.
Between Hoppen and Hare is a pretty fair basketball player from the 1950s — Hastings’ Tom Osborne at No. 79.
Osborne was the first to receive The World-Herald’s athlete of the year awards for high schools (1955) and state colleges (as a junior in 1958, not as a senior). He was first-team all-conference at Hastings College three times in football and twice in basketball.
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