Nebraska Sports Council (NSC) officials announced today that long-time Omaha North High School Principal/Athletic Director Gene Haynes will serve as Honorary Marshal of the Parade of Athletes for the 2021 Cornhusker State Games (CSG). Haynes retired last June after a 50-year career in education, including the past 20 years as North High Principal.
Widely regarded as one of Omaha’s most respected educators, Haynes began teaching social studies at Omaha Tech High in 1967 and coached the school’s basketball team for 13 years. He was the first African American head basketball coach in Omaha Public Schools.
Haynes came to North High in 1987 to serve as the school’s assistant principal and athletic director. Upon his retirement announcement, the Omaha North High School Foundation wrote on social media, “His inspiring leadership and positive impact on thousands of students and staff is legendary.” A stretch of 36th Street between Ames Avenue and Sahler Street has been renamed Gene R. Haynes Street.
NSC Executive Director Dave Mlnarik said the role of Parade Marshal is traditionally reserved to recognize a lifetime of sports service in Nebraska. Mlnarik also said the Sports Council had a special connection with Mr. Haynes, who made North High facilities available for its Winter Games events in the late 1990s.
The Haynes tribute and parade of athletes will kick off Opening Ceremonies at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 16 at Seacrest Field in Lincoln. Other show elements include skydivers, fireworks, a mascot showcase, a demonstration by Nebraska’s top retriever dogs and masters, and the lighting of the caldron by a mystery torchlighter.
Officials also issued a reminder to that Cornhusker State Games entry fees go up after April 1st. All registered participants receive a shirt with their paid entry fee and are welcome to attend the Opening Ceremonies, which is free and open to the public.
The Cornhusker State Games offers competition in 70 sports for athletes of all ages and abilities. Most events take place July 16-25 at venues in Lincoln, Omaha and other Nebraska communities including, for the first time, Kearney, which will host youth fast-pitch softball and volleyball, Columbus, where swimming will take place and Grand Island, this year’s venue for the Super Retriever Series. Those interested can find information or register at CornhuskerStateGames.com.
The Cornhusker State Games is conducted by the Nebraska Sports Council, which also conducts the WellPower Movement, the Pumpkin Run and the Lincoln and Omaha Corporate Games. Platinum partners include Farmers Mutual of Nebraska, Pepsi-Cola of Lincoln and Nebraska Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine. Learn more at NebraskaSportsCouncil.com.