3/5/2013 4:43:12 PM
McCloughan, Tierney, Rhodes Among Nebraska Top 100 Athletes

Recently the Omaha World-Herald compiled a list of Nebraska's top 100 athletes of all-time. The top 100, selected in 2005, came from a pool of more than 450 names from the high school, college, amateur and professional sports from the past 130 years. To be eligible for consideration, candidates have to have been born in Nebraska and began their athletic career in a Nebraska high school. 

The highest ranked athlete on the list from our area is Kent McCloughan of Broken Bow at No. 35. McCloughan was a standout athlete in football and track and field for the Broken Bow Indians in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He went on to play college football for Nebraska and was drafted by the NFL's Washington Redskins in 1965 as well as the AFL's Houston Oilers. McCloughan was also a member of the Oakland Raiders and helped them reach Super Bowl II in his third season with the team.

"I played with quite a few good players. It's quite an honor to think after all these years that anybody would remember you from Broken Bow, but we did ok I guess," said McCloughan.

McCloughan was All-Nebraska in football in 1959 and 1960 at Broken Bow High School. He also won three gold medals in the 100-yard dash and also set the 220-yard dash state record of 21.4 seconds in 1961. McCloughan says his fondest memory of playing in Broken Bow is winning the state track championships three years in a row (1959, 1960 and 1961). His record of 21.4 seconds in the 220-yard dash was set in 1961 and did not fall until just last year when Papillion LaVista's Kenzo Cotton ran a 21.31 in the 200 meter dash last year.

"It went for 10 years and I didn't think much about it. I'd come back and my dad would say that I still held the record and we laughed about it. It was time somebody ran faster."

McCloughan retired last May after working as a scout for the Oakland Raiders for 47 years. He lives with his wife in Loveland, Colorado.

The other athletes to make the list from our area include Paul Tierney of Broken Bow and John "Choppy" Rhodes of Ansley.

Considered a legend in rodeo, Paul Tierney of Broken Bow also made the list at No. 95. The rodeo star was very successful finishing his 10-year professional career as part of the millionaire club. Tierney won the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association's world all-around title in 1980. He also won a world-title in 1979 in calf roping. According to Tierney, his toughest competitor was his mentor Clark Brown of North Platte who he defeated in calf roping at the age of 22. 

The other athlete to make the list from our area was Ansley's John "Choppy" Rhodes at No. 94. Rhodes was the pride of Ansley during his playing career in football, track & field, baseball and basketball. Rhodes held three state high school track records at the same time in the pole vault, long jump and high jump. He became the first gold medal winner to clear 6 feet in the high jump and the first winner beyond 21-2 in the long jump.

Rhodes was a player/coach of Ansley's first ever football team in 1920 and was later selected to the Omaha World-Herald's first all-state football team in 1921. He graduated from Ansley in 1922 and went on to earn eight varsity letters at the University of Nebraska, three in football and track and two in baseball. He followed his Husker career as a coach for NU's baseball team, the University of Wyoming football team and the St. Louis pro football team. Rhodes also coached the Blair Bears for three seasons.  

The complete list of the Nebraska 100 can be found on the Omaha World-Herald website at omaha.com.


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