Gene Suhr


A motivator, innovator and a master builder of programs, Gene Suhr created a winning legacy on the football fields at Ord and Papillion. He compiled a 200-95 record over a 23-year head coaching career, which included 21 state playoff appearances.  Suhr led Papillion-LaVista to undefeated state championship seasons in 1990 and 1996, with both teams considered among Nebraska’s all-time best. His Monarchs also won state runner-up honors in 1985, 1995 and 1997.  The first trip to the finals came in his second year at Papillion-LaVista. The school had only one previous playoff team.  The Monarchs went on to a state record 16 straight playoff appearances. He has won several coach of the year awards and was in demand as a speaker at coaching clinics. He finished his coaching career as offensive coordinator at Wayne State College.

Allison Weston


The captain of the 2000 Olympic volleyball team in Sydney, Australia, Weston was a multi-sport standout and a 1992 graduate of Papillion-LaVista High School. The 1992 Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal Star Athlete of the Year, Weston was all-state in volleyball and basketball her junior and senior seasons, and she was named the Gatorade Circle of Champions Nebraska Basketball Player of the Year. She also qualified for the state track meet and was an all-state soccer player. She played professional volleyball in Italy.  She is arguably one of the best collegiate volleyball players in NCAA history. Nebraska’s first three-time, first-team AVCA All-American, Weston capped an impressive career by winning the 1995 national title and sharing Player-of-the-Year honors with Cary Wendell of Stanford. The former captain of the U.S. National Team, Weston still holds school records for kills in a four-game match (37) and career kills (1,778). She also ranks in the career top 10 in nearly every statistical category and holds three of the top-10 single-match kill performances. A two-time Academic All-American, Weston was also a two-time Big Eight Player of the Year. 

Jodi (Janssen) Harper

Class of 1994

Jodi (Janssen) Harper established the standard in Nebraska high school diving, becoming the first to sweep the gold medals all four years at the state swimming and diving meet. She set the state record in 1994, breaking the previous mark by 20 points. That record still stood at the time of her Hall of Fame induction. She was named a high school All-American by the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association of America. She competed for four years at Texas A&M, setting school records in the platform, 1-meter springboard and 3-meter springboard competitions and qualifying for the NCAA national championships in all three events her senior season.

Dennis Smith

Contributor. A huge, huge percentage of the credit for the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame Foundation goes to Dennis Smith. He had a vision of this organization and served the board from the organizational days of 1993. He’s been the treasurer since 1996. His 32-year career at Papillion-LaVista schools that included a position as principal from 1979-2000, netted many honors, including the naming of the annual high school track meet the “Denny Smith Invitational.” He was elected to the NSAA Board of Control for 21 years and his colleagues clearly recall his stance on most issues being “how does this affect the kids.” He was instrumental in the fundraising of more than a million dollars for the Papillion-LaVista stadium facility. He grew up in Cherokee, Iowa, and his football, basketball, track exploits drew him to Wayne State. He taught and coached at Creighton before moving to Papillion. 

Leigh Suhr

Athlete. Class of  1998

Leigh Suhr blazed a new trail at Papillion-LaVista High School, becoming the school’s first female athlete to win 12 letters. Suhr especially excelled on the softball diamond where she was a four-year starter at shortstop on a team that won three state championships. The Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year, she finished her high school career with a .401 batting average and a state-record 23 triples. The Monarchs won 32 straight games during Suhr’s career. Described as a smart defensive player and a tenacious competitor, she went on to be a four-year starter for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, ranking in the top 10 in most offensive categories. Besides her softball skills, she was a two-time state qualifier in track, an all-state honorable mention player in soccer and an all-state selection in basketball.

Peaches James Keaton


No one dominated Nebraska high school softball like Peaches James. The pitching ace on four straight state championship teams, the four-time all-state hurler set numerous state records, including 11 no-hitters, five perfect games and an 0.04 ERA in 1999. Her exploits included 31 consecutive wins, 19 consecutive shutouts and a streak of 257 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run. After high school, she became the first pitcher to earn All-Big 12 honors four times at Nebraska and she became a second-team All-American as a senior. She pitched professionally for four years and was a National Pro Fastpitch all-star in 2005.

Gwen Egbert

Coach- 2019

Gwen Egbert built two volleyball dynasties at Papillion-LaVista and Papillion-LaVista South high Schools, with each school forging state championship “three-peats.”  Egbert started her coaching career with Papillion-LaVista in 1987 and over the next 15 years led the Monarchs to the State Championship match eight times, winning state titles in 2000, ’01 and ’02.  In 2003 she took over Papillion-LaVista South, building another dynasty that achieved runner-up finishes in 2008 and 2009 before going on a three-year run that included three state titles and a 119-1 record.  The lone loss in that three-year period was to a nationally-ranked team from Kentucky.  Egbert left the high school ranks in 2013 to take over the Doane University Tigers, finishing with a 684-233 record as a high school coach.

John Gibson


John was a natural who quickly excelled at whatever he did.  He didn’t play football until 8th grade, but was a star by his sophomore season.  He didn’t triple jump until his sophomore year, but he set the Class A State and State Meet records, won the Class A Gold Medal for three years, and was named the Nebraska Gatorade Athlete of the Year as a Senior.  A football All-State pick as a junior and senior, Gibson scored every way: kickoff, punt, fumble recovery, and interception returns and as a receiver.  The 1996 Omaha World Herald Athlete of the Year, Gibson battled injuries throughout the early part of his career with the Nebraska Cornhuskers.  He was a four-year letterman, playing in 44 games and was one of the team’s leading receivers in his senior season, starting 12 games, including the Rose Bowl.