OPS Announces 2015 Athletic Hall of Fame Class

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The Omaha Public Schools will induct 10 new members into its Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday, November 21st. This is the tenth annual induction ceremony/banquet for the district.

Yvonne Hollman-Richardson – Benson High School
Yvonne Hollman-Richardson graduated from Benson High School in 1986 with an impressive track and field record, including sixth place in the 1985 State Track Meet (3200 meter), fifth place in the 1985 State Cross Country Meet and sixth place in the 1986 State Track Meet (3200 meter).

She graduated “summa cum laude” from Midland Lutheran College in 1990, and went on to earn a master’s degree in physical therapy from Boston University in 1993. She is currently a physical therapist for Tabitha Home Care in Lincoln, Nebraska.

While at Midland, she was a two-time NAIA Cross Country Academic All-American, a two-time NAIA Track and Field Academic All-American and a five-time NAIA Indoor National Champion. She was also a one-time NAIA Outdoor National Champion, a nine-time NAIA Indoor National Champion, a six-time NAIA Outdoor All-American, and a two-time NAIA Cross Country All-American. She led the Midland track team to the NAIA National Indoor Championship in 1989 and to third place in 1990. Richardson was the 1989 NAIA Outstanding Performer at the NAIA National Indoor Championship and the Kansas Relays’ 10,000-meter champion. She was twice selected to attend the USATF Elite Distance Camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

As of 2015, Richardson still holds Midland’s indoor records in the 880 yard dash (2:15.30), mile (4:52.01), 3000 meter (9:33.89), two-mile run (10:23.68), distance medley relay (11:48.56) and 3200 meter relay (9:16.46). Additionally, she holds outdoor records in the 1500 meter (4:29.55), 3000 meter (9:41.35) 5000 meter (17:05.03), and the distance medley relay (12:06.38).

Richardson married Ryan Richardson in December of 1991, and they have four daughters: Kayla Ann Richardson, 23; Kelsee Marie Richardson, 20; Kailey Shay Richardson, 18 and Karyssa Morgan Richardson, 16.

Hal McCaw – Bryan High School
Hal McCaw was born in Montezuma, Iowa, in 1935. His family later moved to Des Moines, where he attended Technical High School and graduated in 1954. While at Tech, Hall earned nine varsity letters in football, basketball, and baseball. He was the starting quarterback, point guard, and pitcher all three years. He earned All-City honors his junior and senior years in basketball and baseball.

After graduation, he became an undefeated Central States Boxing Champion from the state of Iowa. McCaw attended Westmar College in Le Mars, Iowa, on a four-year athletic scholarship. He lettered all four years in football, basketball, and baseball and earned the Westmar College Athlete of the Year award. He graduated from Westmar in 1958 with a teaching and coaching degree.

After completing his service in the U.S. Army, Hal started his teaching and coaching career in Lohrville, Iowa. After five years, he accepted a teaching and coaching position at Rock Falls High School in Rock Falls, Illinois, where he taught physical education and coached basketball. In 1965, McCaw and his family moved to Omaha, where he taught physical education and served as the head coach of boys basketball. McCaw also earned his master’s degree in physical education from Northeast Missouri State College (now Truman State) in Kirksville, Missouri, in 1970.

McCaw retired from Bryan High and OPS in 1994, after serving a total of 29 years with the Omaha Public Schools. To this day, Hal is still greeted with “Hi, Coach McCaw!” by former students, student-athletes and parents; McCaw said he feels truly blessed to have them in his life. Hal has been married to wife Edith for 59 years. They have three children: Maureen, Dan, and Tim.

Tim Wurth – Burke High School
Tim Wurth was born and raised in south Omaha and competed in Catholic Youth Leagues in football, basketball, and baseball. He credits most of his competitive nature to those years playing from sunrise to sunset on neighborhood fields. In 1972, his family moved out to west Omaha, where he attended Burke High School. He played football and baseball while at Burke. By the time he graduated in 1976, he owned most of the school’s offensive football and baseball records. He was recognized as the Athlete of the Year in 1976.

After high school, Wurth accepted a football scholarship to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he broke the freshman team rushing record. Over the next three years, he earned varsity letters while playing I-back and fullback for UNL. He also served as a punt and kick-off returner and received an Academic All-Big 8 Conference award his senior year with a 3.4 GPA.

While attending UNL, Wurth married his high school sweetheart, Suzanne Wohlers, in 1977. They had quadruplets his senior year of college. Those four children followed their father’s example by becoming student-athletes as well. After college, Tim began a career in commercial real estate that continues today. He has been involved in several successful ventures in the Omaha and Lincoln markets. Today, he is focused on the development of Senior Housing Projects in small towns.

Keith Jones – Central High School
Keith Jones was born and raised in Omaha. He played football at Central High School, where he broke records set 23 years earlier by Gale Sayers. Jones ran for a high school single-game career record of 235 yards against state champion Creighton Prep and 216 yards against runner-up Omaha Gross.

After high school, Jones went on to play football at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where his nickname on the field was “End Zone,” as he led the Huskers in touchdowns (13) and scoring (80 points as a senior). Keith finished fourth all-time at Nebraska in touchdowns (31) and eighth in scoring (188 points). Jones averaged 123.2 rushing yards per game in 1987 to rank eighth in the NCAA and second in the Big Eight that season. He ended his college career at Nebraska as the third- leading rusher in school history.

Keith worked in auto finance and mortgage finance for about 15 years after college. Now, he is a stay-at-home father who also manages rental properties around the city of Omaha. He is married to wife Jeanne Jones; the couple has twin 5-year-old girls, who just started school. Keith also has two sons – a 16-year-old and a 10-year-old. Their family gives to charitable organizations like the United Way, St. Jude’s, the Diabetes Association, Husker Legends Foundation, and Youth Football.

Jerry Murtaugh – North High School
Jerry Murtaugh was a three-sport standout at North High School, where he played football and baseball and competed as a wrestler.

Murtaugh went on to play football for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he was co-captain of the 1970 National Championship team. Murtaugh set a Nebraska record for most career tackles – a record that stood until 2004. Murtaugh was a defensive force for the Huskers, who led the Big Eight Conference in both rushing defense and scoring defense. As a senior, Jerry was recognized and ranked as one of the top linebackers at UNL. He earned All-American and All-Big Eight honors. Jerry was named Big Eight Player of the Year.

After graduating from UNL, Murtaugh went on to play for the New England Patriots in 1971. He then spent 32 years working for Union Pacific Railroad. He also served as the host of the Legends Radio Show in Omaha. Jerry is married to wife, Connie, and they have four children, 11 grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.

Frank Hanel – Northwest High School
Frank Hanel graduated from Schuyler High School in 1957. While attending Schuyler, he was All Conference, Second Team All-State and lettered in football all four years. He also lettered in basketball and track.

After graduating, Frank went on to attend Wayne State College, where he played football, lettering four years under three different coaches. He earned a bachelor’s degree in education in the spring of 1961.

Hanel started substitute teaching for the Omaha Public Schools in the fall of 1961 and later taught shop class at Lewis & Clark Middle School. He considers that moment the beginning of his teaching career. In the fall of 1962, Frank transferred to R.M. Marrs Magnet Middle School where he taught drafting and physical education. He also coached football, basketball, track, wrestling, and gymnastics. In 1965, Hanel moved to Central High School where he taught physical education and coached swimming, football and track. Frank received his master’s degree in physical education from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1970. In 1971, he became the head football coach at Northwest High School. He also coached boys track, wrestling, and girls track at Northwest. Frank spent 35 years coaching and teaching in the Omaha Public Schools, 24 of those years at Northwest High School.

Fran married in 1960 and has four children. He was widowed in 2004; remarried in 2009 and added four stepchildren to his family.

Hanel won numerous awards and accolades during his time with OPS and is honored to be inducted into this year’s OPS Athletic Hall of Fame.

Michael “Mickey” Sparano – South High School
Wrestling became a passion for Mickey Sparano at Omaha Technical High School. He lettered in the sport from 1941-1943 and enjoyed continuous victories on the mat throughout his high school career.

He joined the navy at the age of eighteen and flew as a flight bomber in World War II. He continued to wrestle with the Chicago Navy Pier Group. After the war, he attended the University of Nebraska on the GI Bill; while at NU, he became the Big Seven Wrestling Champ at the age of 25. He graduated with a degree in education.

He began his professional teaching career at Highland School in south Omaha (1952-1954). He then moved to South High School in 1955, where he served as the head coach of wrestling, the freshman football coach, and the assistant varsity football and baseball coach alongside legendary coaches Cornie Collins and Clete Fisher.

From 1956 to 1960, Sparano’s wrestling teams went undefeated – except for one tie with Central High school in 1958 –
winning a host of local and state titles. In 1958, he began the South High School Invitational and won it with a total 104 points. Under Coach Sparano, South High School wrestlers set more records than any other team in Nebraska’s history. In 1960, Sparano was named head coach of South’s varsity wrestling team, but left shortly thereafter to manage a nightclub for Omahan Tony Purcello before starting his own successful clubs.

Honors he received during his career include National Coach of the Year in 1960, the 25th Annual Silver Wrestling Invitational Award in 1981, and the Nebraska Scholastic Hall of Fame in 1984. Sparano has also been credited with bringing the sport of wrestling back to the forefront in the Omaha Public Schools.

Greg Wilcox – Technical High School
Greg Wilcox graduated from Technical High School in 1978. During his high school career (48-35 record), he won the 1977 AAU Greco-Roman Wrestling Championship (220 lb.) and placed second in the Elite Freestyle (185 lb.) In 1978, he won the Vern Ekfelt Wrestling Invitational (185 lb.) and placed fifth in the Nebraska State Wrestling Tournament. As a member of an international high school wrestling team for two consecutive years, he toured first in Poland and then in Germany. In addition to wrestling, Wilcox also played football at Tech and was selected to the Omaha All-Metro team for defense.

Wilcox went on to attend McCook Junior College (73-6 record), where he wrestled in the JUCO Nationals. From there, he moved on to the University of Nebraska at Omaha and wrestled for Coach Mike Denney. At UNO, he amassed a 73-19 record and set a single-season record of 42 wins. He finished fifth in the NCAA Tournament in 1981. In 1983, he took a National Championship and became a two-time All-American.

Wilcox earned bachelor degrees in education and psychology in 1984 from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and went on to earn a master’s degree in science in 1988.

He started his professional career with the Omaha Public Schools as a special education teacher at South High School, where he also served as the head wrestling coach and football coach. In addition to his duties at South, Wilcox also coached wrestling for Marrs Magnet Middle School.

Wilcox was inducted into the Nebraska Scholastic Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1995, the UNO Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000, the NCAA Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2005, and the Tech High Hall of Fame in 2011.

He has been a community supporter in the development of kids in sports in south Omaha, and has sponsored and coached the SOPAT Wrestling Club for kindergarten through eighth-grade students for more than 15 years.

Fred Marisett - Middle School
Fred Marisett attended the Hammond, Indiana, school system and graduated from Hammond High School in 1974. He went on to attend Peru State College graduating in 1978 with degrees in physical education and recreational administration. He received his master’s degree in secondary education administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1990.

During his 36-year career with the Omaha Public Schools, Marisett was a classroom teacher at the elementary, middle and high school levels. He also coached at the middle school and high school level for 24 consecutive years as either an assistant coach or head coach of wrestling, football, and track. During his coaching career, he was responsible for, or associated with, more than 25 individual state champions – and won three team state championships in wrestling. In 2002, he became athletic director at McMillan Magnet Middle School, where he was instrumental in establishing the OPS Middle School Wrestling Tournament, new district football regulations, and participation guidelines for athletes regarding academics and behavior in order to participate. In 2010, Marisett became Blackburn’s program director, where he remained until his retirement in 2014.

Marisett earned numerous individual honors and awards while attending Peru State, including All-American (1976), three-time National Tournament Qualifier in wrestling (1975, 1976, 1978), All-Conference, All-District, and State Collegian in football. During his final year of college, he participated in the NFL testing/draft process and received an offer to play professional football in the Canadian Football League, which he declined.

Marisett was inducted into the Hammond, Indiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2009, and the OPS Middle School Tournament he started now bears the name of Fred Marisett McMillan Monarch Wrestling Invitational.

Bob Danenhauer – Community Contributor
Bob Danenhauer started his professional career at the Millard Public Schools in 1983 teaching physical education and serving as assistant coach of football and as head wrestling coach at Millard North High School. In 1989, Bob moved to Hays, Kansas, to become the head football coach and assistant wrestling coach. In 1992, he returned to Millard, teaching and coaching until 1994, when he began his athletic administration career as the assistant principal and activities director at Millard South High School. In 1994, Millard South won the Omaha World-Herald’s All Sports Award for the boys and runner up in the combined All Sports Award for boys and girls.

In 1995, Bob became the assistant athletic director for the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the athletic director in 1997. During his tenure at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, the school won four national titles, several conference championships, as well as finishing as the runners-up in the 2005 Sears Director Cup Division II Institutions. Bob was instrumental in starting many sports at the university as well as assisting in raising $9 million dollars for the renovation of Sapp Fieldhouse.