Omaha North’s retiring principal, Gene Haynes, is the 2020 Omaha Sports Commission Awards’ Dr. Jack Lewis Sports Person of the Year.
“This award recognizes an area leader whose contributions have raised the sports profile and improved the quality of sports events in the community, and Gene Haynes has contributed much to our city,” the OSCAs’ Josh Todd said.
Haynes came to the Omaha Public Schools in 1967 as a teacher and coach. He was boys basketball coach at the now-closed Omaha Tech before entering school administration. He has been North’s principal since 2001.
“I am very thankful for this prestigious award in honor of the late Dr. Jack Lewis,” Haynes said Monday. “Dr. Lewis was a highly thought-of person. Again, I am so honored to be selected for this award.”
In addition, the OSCAs has announced the finalists for its other annual awards and the public can participate in online voting through April 30 that will factor into the winners’ selections.
Todd, president and executive director of the Omaha Sports Commission, said because of COVID-19 restrictions, the OSCAs will not be held as scheduled at the Holland Performing Arts Center on May 28.
A taped awards show will air on the Omaha Sports Commission YouTube channel at a date to be determined.
“Our intent is to produce an exciting show, hosted by local dignitaries and featuring videos of nominees and announcements of the winners in each category,” Todd said in a press release. “We intend to capture the great sports figures and events that have taken place in Omaha through this special broadcast.”
The online show will include the induction of the 2020 Omaha Sports Hall of Fame class — athletes George Andrews, Jessica Haynes, Ike Mahoney (posthumously) and Gene Williams and the undefeated 1960 Omaha South boys basketball team. They will be invited in 2021 to accept their awards in person.
A selection committee vote determined the finalists in the following sports categories for the period from spring 2019 to winter 2020:
Female athlete: Jaylyn Agnew, Creighton basketball; Jordyn Bahl, Papillion-La Vista softball; Kaitlyn Hanna, Omaha Westside golf; Lindsay Krause, Omaha Skutt volleyball; Bella Pantano and JoJo Randby, Omaha Marian swimming.
Male athlete: Ty-Shon Alexander, Creighton basketball; Jay Ducker, Bellevue West football; Tyson Gordon, Skutt football; Chucky Hepburn, Bellevue West basketball; Hunter Sallis, Millard North basketball; Ryan Vermeer, Happy Hollow Club, golf.
Coach: Greg McDermott, Creighton basketball; Todd Peterson, Papillion-La Vista softball; Evan Porter, UNO baseball; Doug Woodard, Bellevue West basketball.
Team: Bellevue West boys basketball; Bellevue West football; Creighton men’s basketball; Papillion-La Vista softball; UNO baseball.
Sports moment: Bellevue West boys basketball comes back to win state championship against Millard North; Creighton men’s basketball defeats Seton Hall to win Big East Conference; Ale’jah Douglas of Omaha Northwest scores Class A girls basketball-record 51 points; UNO baseball wins Summit League tournament and advances to the NCAA regionals for the first time.
Steve Pivovar Sports Media Person: Damon Benning/Mike’l Severe, KOZN; Dirk Chatelain, Omaha World-Herald; Ross Jernstrom, WOWT.
The Nebraska 100: Our greatest athletes
The Nebraska 100, originally selected in 2005 and then updated and re-ranked in 2015, came from a pool of nearly 500 names from the ranks of high school, college, amateur and professional sports from the past 140 years. Assistance came from a panel of veteran sports observers from across the state, with the newspaper's sports staff determining the final rankings.