The Opening Ceremonies Parade Marshal is a position that represents Nebraskan’s and their lifelong contribution to sports in their state.
2021 Opening Ceremonies Parade Marshal
Past Opening Ceremonies Parade Marshals
Gene 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. He then went to North High in 1987 to serve as the school’s Assistant Principal and Athletic Director. Gene retired in June 2020 after a 50-year career in education, including the last 20 years as North High Principal. A stretch of 36th street between Ames Avenue and Sahler Street has been renamed Gene R. Haynes Street.
Norm grew up around all different sports. He later got a job as a teacher and football coach at Clarks High School. It was here where he decided to start a program for wrestling to build better football players. He had a very successful career and coached 34 individual state champions. He attributes his success to a belief in hard work, repetition, determination and a never give up attitude.
Gene played 4 different sports, including football growing up. Once in college he continued to play football for a short time before joining the army. He was sent to Vietnam, where explosive shrapnel ended his military services. After 9 months recuperating in a Denver hospital he came back to Nebraska to attend the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He started his coaching career after graduating and later ended up at Papillion La Vista High School. Once Gene took over their football program there was a significant change in their football season. From only winning a few games a season to playing in the Class A State Championship Game.
Tom grew up in Aurora, Nebraska. He is a member of 6 halls of fame. In 1971 he was awarded the title of Nebraska Athlete of the Year. After being drafted by the pros in both football and basketball he played professional basketball for 5 years. Sports Illustrated recognized Tom as one of Nebraska’s 50 greatest athletes of the 20th century.
Harland was a native of Courtland, Kansas. After graduating from college and six years of work as a minister in different states, he returned to Lincoln to work for the YMCA. In 1976, he became the coordinator of the Nebraska legislature while also serving as a chaplain of the unicameral until his retirement. He was involved in the State Games from the very beginning and served on the opening ceremonies committee for many years.
The Downtown Optimist Club of Lincoln has provided volunteer and financial support for many Lincoln organizations, including the Cornhusker State Games, since 1991. The club disbanded a few years ago, but before doing so, gave major gifts to several Lincoln organizations.
Ed is from Wyoming, he came to Nebraska to play basketball for the Huskers and decided to stay here. He then became Coach McPherren and had a very successful career. He retired as Lincoln East High School’s head basketball coach, a position he held for 18 years. Prior to that, he served Lincoln East as assistant basketball coach for 25 years.
Tom’s coaching career followed and overlapped his highly successful high school, college and post-college wrestling career, which included numerous state, regional and national championships in different states. He was a U. S. Olympic trials finalist in 1964. Wrestling into his 50’s and usually competing against much younger wrestlers, Tom was our 1997 Cornhusker State Games Male Athlete of the Year.
Mike is a native of Neligh, Nebraska and was a 4 year starter in football and wrestling at Dakota Wesleyan University. He is also a member of the Dakota Wesleyan Athletic Hall of Fame. He went on to coaching wrestling at the University of Nebraska-Omaha for 32 seasons, creating a very successful career for himself.
Coach Allen, a Lincoln native and graduate of Lincoln High School had a 40 season career as the Husker head gymnastics coach. This makes him the longest-tenured head coach in Nebraska History. His 8 NCAA titles are also the most of any head coach in Husker history. In 1985 Allen helped establish gymnastics as one of the 19 sports in the inaugural Cornhusker State Games, serving as the first gymnastics director.
Po Box 29366
Lincoln, NE 68529
3260 Folkways Blvd Suite B
Lincoln, NE 68504