Four northeast Nebraskans included in Hall of Fame class

LINCOLN - Four northeast Nebraskans will be forever remembered for their contributions to high school sports.

After a delay due to COVID-19,  the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame inducted its 2020 class on Sunday. The class included 21 athletes, coaches, officials and journalists. Four of them are recognized for their work in northeast Nebraska.

Here are the Hall of Fame biographies for the new inductees.

Jeff Bellar (Norfolk Catholic): As Nebraska’s all-time leader with 363 football coaching victories entering the 2020 season, Jeff Bellar’s 38-year coaching career includes nine state championships, five runner-up finishes and 34 playoff appearances.  Six of his teams went undefeated.  In three years at Beaver Valley at the start of his career, he led the team to the school’s only playoff appearance.  He also coached one year at Norfolk High School, but spent the rest of his career at Norfolk Catholic.  Bellar was the named the National High School Athlete Coaches Association Coach of the year in 2016 and was inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame in 2020.  Bellar also coached track and field at Beaver Valley and Norfolk Catholic for 13 years.

Steve Farlee (Norfolk): Flood Communications' own Steve Farlee is one of the busiest officials in the state. Farlee officiated more that 3,000 basketball games over a 44-year period and has been a fixture in stripes on the football field for more than 25 years.  He also has umpired high school and American Legion baseball for more than 25 years and was inducted into the Nebraska Baseball Hall of Fame as an umpire in 2010.  Noted for his consistency, judgment and knowledge of the rules, Farlee has been assigned several state championship games in all sports.  His officiating resume includes NAIA and NCAA games in all three sports, including work in the Missouri Valley and Big 12 Conferences in football and baseball.

Steve Erwin (Laurel): An All-Class All-State selection in football and basketball, Steve showed uncommon versatility- he shot left-handed in basketball and passed right-handed in football.  A four-year starter in both sports, he led the Laurel Bears to an undefeated season and the Class B “mythical” state Championship as a Senior.  In his four years as the starting quarterback, Laurel won 32 games and lost six.  In basketball, he was a solid defensive player and strong rebounder who earned All-Class All-state honors.  He finished his high school career with 1,427 points and a State record 1,321 rebounds.  At the University of Nebraska, he started 55 of 71 games in an era before freshmen could play varsity.  His senior year, he averaged 3.3 assists per game.

Megan Neuvirth (West Point Central Catholic): When Megan Neuvirth got to high school, the W’s came in bunches.  In her four years at WPCC, the Bluejays won eight State Championship in volleyball and basketball.  An All-Stater in volleyball and basketball, she was named the Nebraska Gatorade Basketball Player of the Year in 2005.  She graduated having never experienced a loss on the basketball court (102-0).  She competed in four events in track, but focused on basketball when she got to college.  A four-year letter winner for the Creighton Bluejays basketball team, she scored more than 1,000 points in her career and was twice named the Missouri Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year.