District I Spotlight: Marty Hingst - Milford
I grew up in Scribner, Nebraska, and was a 3 sport athlete (football, basketball and track) at Scribner High School. I attended Wayne State College where I played football and met some lifelong friends! I transferred to Midland Lutheran College and graduated in 1973. I continued college classes and did graduate work at University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
I married Charlene Muller, my HS sweetheart, during the college years . We were married 50 years until her death last spring after a long illness with Parkinson’s and dementia. We have 3 children. Heather is an entrepreneur and lives with her husband Chris in Omaha, Heidi and her husband Nate live in Fort Collins and son Kyle is an architect and he and his wife Kaisha live outside Atlanta. We’ve been blessed with 11 grandchildren.
In 1973, I started at Elwood HS where I taught Business /Speech and coached Football and Girls Track , which won the Class D Girls Track Championship. I then spent 5 years at Clay Center HS where I was Head Coach of Football, Wrestling and Boys Track. In 1979, I moved to Milford as the Head Football Coach, in 1981 was named the Boys Track coach. Collectively, the Football teams I’ve coached have won 269 games, with 229 coming at Milford, have qualified for the state playoffs 18 times, have been to the semifinals 5 times and have been C-1 State Champions twice. (1995 and 1996). I’ve been fortunate to coach in the Shrine Bowl twice: Assistant Coach in 1992 and Head Coach in 1999.
Since 1983. I’ve been the AD at Milford. In those 38 years, we’ve added JH Football, Cross Country and Softball, built two tracks and one gym. We’ve had 8 NSAA Team Champions during that time, all awesome groups of kids to win State Titles. Probably one of our best years was in 2010-2011 when we had Semi-finals teams in Football and Boys Basketball plus Runners up in Boys Cross Country. Those efforts combined brought Milford a runner up in the Boys NSAA US Cellular Cup.
I feel very fortunate to have worked with great athletes, coaches, administrative assistants and administrators. It’s always about the quality of people you can be surrounded with and we have a lot of good people at Milford. I’m particularly proud that I had the same three football assistants (Tony Muller, Glen Pasho and Tim Fichtner) for 33 years from 1983 to 2016. That has to be a record doesn’t it?
I’m just amazed at the time my fellow AD’s in the Southern Nebraska Conference have taken to work through the COVID Pandemic. Extra meetings, sharing thoughts, countless additional hours, great people going the extra miles to make sure our competitors are safe. If the SNC is doing this—I know the rest of the AD’s in the state are doing the same.
I’m just proud to be part of a group that does so much for the sake of students- both our own and our competitors!
District II Spotlight: Rochelle Rohlfs - Marian
My educational career began in 1989 at Marian High School as a Math teacher and Varsity Volleyball coach and Assistant Track Coach. I had tenures of being Head Soccer Coach for five years and Head Track Coach for seven years. In 2012, I became athletic director/assistant principal at Marian while continuing to coach volleyball. In 2014, I retired from coaching volleyball and have immersed myself into my administrative role at Marian.
One initiative that has enhanced my role as an athletic director is to begin a student-athlete leadership group called Crusaders Elevating Others (CEO). Teaching our athletes to be leaders on and off the court and sharing ideas with their peers from other sports in our school has proven to pay off on all of our sports teams. There are several books and people who are excellent resources in this field that provide a framework for us to use with our student-athletes. If this is something you or your school has not considered yet, I highly recommend it!
District V Spotlight: Brad Nelson - Axtell
This marks my 32nd year in public education. I started my teaching career in 1989 at Santee Public School. While there, I was able to teach 7-12 Social Studies and coach football, girl’s basketball and track. After two years, we moved to Axtell, and I have taught here for 30 years. In Axtell, I serve as the 9-12 Social Studies teacher, Athletic Director, head volleyball coach, and head girl’s track coach.
My wife of 34 years serves as the village clerk in Axtell, and we have two adult children. Our oldest daughter, Ashley, teaches first grade and coaches volleyball in Axtell. Our youngest daughter, Shala, works at Adams in Broken Bow. Ashley has two children, Brighton and Berringer, and Shala has one child, Raylan, with one on the way. Being a grandparent is one of the greatest joys in the world!!
Being an Athletic Director at a small school can be a very challenging job. Teaching a full load of classes, coaching numerous sports, and trying to organize athletic events and programs is often an 18 hour a day job! I feel the main keys to being a successful AD in a small school are: 1) being able to utilize your time effectively. 2) Staying organized in the classroom and with the school’s activities. 3) Balancing your time at home as much as possible. It is also important as an AD to have great people to work with. Administrators who are always willing to help out at events and allow time during the day for AD work. Assistants in the office who help keep schedules and finances in order make activities run smooth. Another important element of school activities is our volunteers who help run our home events. The people behind the scenes who run the chains, or clean up after a game are vital to a successful event.
I am grateful to all the people who have helped me to be able to have the best job I could have ever imagined!
District VI Spotlight: Bec Ray - Sandhills/Thedford
I have been the Activities Director at Thedford Schools and Co-Athletic Director with Sandhills since the 2017-18 year; so going into my 4th year now. I have locally substituted since 2010 and finally graduated from UNL in 2018 with my Masters of Science with an endorsement in FCS and received my teaching certificate. Before being hired at Thedford, I coached girls’ basketball at Mullen for 5 years then got to coach for Sandhills/Thedford when hired as the A.D. I’m very involved in youth sports in our communities coaching basketball, soccer, and helping with volleyball.
Fun fact about me – I am from British Columbia, Canada eh’. Out of high school I received a full ride basketball scholarship from Western Wyoming Community College (2yrs) and from there received my second full ride to play at Chadron State College. I also got asked to throw the javelin on the track team my senior year. I graduated with my BA in Psychology and a minor in FCS. One spring in college, I got invited to a branding in Thedford, NE by a girl on my basketball team; which is now my sister in-law…the rest is history from that day. I fell in love with the sandhills immediately and knew this was where I belonged. My husband and I have been married since 2009 and have 2 daughters: Emma (9) and Paisley (7). Both love playing all sports as much as I do and love traveling.
Something I feel like I have helped initiate since being AD (with the help of Adam Marten as the other AD at Sandhills) is a positive, stronger communication base between the two schools and the two communities. Co-ops can be very challenging– it takes patience and a lot of communication and organizational skills, but I have loved every minute of it. The struggles only make us stronger.
ADs also need to get resourceful when on budgets (or do what they can to help improve their school on a minimal budget), so I conquered my fear of heights in August by getting on 25ft rusty old scaffolding and repainted our football field scoreboard from an old rusty orange/red to Knights green, put new decals on it, and replaced 15 light bulbs. It looks pretty awesome – people thought we bought a new board. Also, thank you to District VI for voting me to represent our district at rep assembly this April. I’m excited to be more involved and be our representative!