When the Nebraska School Activities Association building was being designed in 2006, a wise man by the name of Jim Tenopir had the foresight to dedicate about 7,000 square feet for a future hall of fame exhibit area.
Well, the future is now, so legendary Nebraska names like Gale Sayers, Johnny Rodgers and Bobby Reynolds are now on display as the new hall of fame honors the past and inspires the future.
The exhibit hall can be found inside the NSAA building which is located just north of Haymarket Park in northwest Lincoln.
Our tour with Executive Director Larry Munksgaard begins in the Wally McNaught Theatre, "We have an introduction film that was produced by Nebraska Educational Television."
The next stop on the tour features an all-school kiosk based on a book entitled "Pages of History" co-written by Bob Ruyle, "It took us about 5 years to put the book together, it goes from 1894 to 1994 and covers all the schools in the state of Nebraska."
The main part of the exhibit hall is the kiosk which allows visitors to scroll through the more than 400 members of the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame.
More than a half a million dollars has been raised to fund the first two phases of this project. But there is still more work to be done to complete the interactive exhibits in third and final phase of the hall. Larry says, "We need to raise another $800,000 to $900,000 to complete the exhibit hall by completing the individual sport exhibits.
Assistant Executive Director Mike Rasmussen is in charge of collecting memorabilia for the final phase, "We hope to feature these kinds of things as people come through the hall and evoke some kind of memories of their high school careers."
In getting the hall of fame up and running, Larry has been motivated by two people in particular, "The efforts and passions of a person like Dick Beechner and a Wally McNaught has really been some of the things that have inspired me."
The hall of fame is currently open 3 days a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and Larry says he will also be available to give special tours for groups as well. Give him a call at (402) 432-8049.