Former NFL wide receiver Gerald “Jerry” Allen is among 12 athletes and coaches to be inducted this year into the Nebraska Black Sports Hall of Fame.
Allen, from Massillon, Ohio, played for the Baltimore Colts and Washington Redskins from 1966 to 1969 after graduating from the University of Omaha. In 1968 against the Chicago Bears, his 99-yard touchdown pass reception from Sonny Jurgensen tied the NFL record.
Also to be honored at a dinner Aug. 1 are Damon Benning (football), Ron Brown (football), John Edmonds (football), Calvin Forrest (basketball), Rhonda Blanford-Green (track and field), Jim Hall (multi-sports), Jimmy Jones (multi-sports), Ted Parks (basketball), Tony Ross (football, wrestling), Ron White (basketball) and Richard Wynne (football).
Benning, who graduated from Omaha Northwest in 1992, is the youngest in this year's induction class.
The hall's Image Award will be given posthumously to George Anderson, a longtime youth track and field coach.
Gerald “Jerry” Allen (Omaha University): The Massillon, Ohio, native came to Omaha U. after four years in the Air Force, and, after graduation, he played in the NFL for the Redskins and Colts. He played both ways for Indians coach Al Caniglia at Omaha and earned All-America honors as a halfback, also setting a school record with a 94-yard interception return. He set the school rushing record with 815 yards in 1965. In the NFL, his 99-yard TD reception from Redskins quarterback Sonny Jurgensen tied the league record. Entered the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 2005.
Damon Benning (Omaha Northwest, 1992): All-Nebraska football player was a running back at Nebraska. He was MVP of the Orange Bowl to cap the 1996 season, a 41-21 win over Virginia Tech. Later coached at Northwest and is a radio and TV broadcaster.
Ron Brown (Nebraska): The longtime Husker assistant football coach is starting his 23rd season at NU, the sixth on Bo Pelini's staff. The native of New York City played college football at Brown.
John Edmonds (Omaha South, 1958): A football and track athlete for the Packers, he played with the semipro Omaha Mustangs and made the Professional Football League of America all-star team in 1967.
Calvin Forrest (Omaha Central, 1970): All-Metro as a senior, averaging 21.1 points for the Eagles. He left UNO as its all-time leading scorer with 1,351 points.
Rhonda Blanford-Green (Nebraska): As a Husker hurdler, she was an undefeated Big Eight champion, 10-time All-American and two-time U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier in 1984 and 1988 in the 100 hurdles. She was selected as the Colorado Sportswoman of the Year in 1985 and currently serves as the executive director of the Nebraska School Activities Association.
Jim Hall (Omaha Central, 1938): A four-sport athlete at Central, he lettered 14 times in four years. He played soccer and softball for state-champion Storz Beer teams. In 1939 at Falstaff Park (24th and Vinton Streets), he raced Jesse Owens (getting a 5-yard head start) and lost to the Olympian by the same distance in the dash from center field to home plate. He was a Boy Scout volunteer for more than 50 years. He died in 1994.
Jimmy Jones (Omaha University): From Morristown, N.J., he competed in football, wrestling and track and field for the Indians. A four-year letterman in football, he made the all-conference team as a senior on offense and defense and was drafted by the Jets and Packers. As a heavyweight wrestler, he competed in the 1964 U.S. Olympic Trials. He also threw the shot put, discus and javelin. He was inducted into the UNO Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
Ted Parks (Omaha Creighton Prep, 1976): Was the first African-American All-Nebraska basketball player from Creighton Prep. The Junior Jays were state champions his senior year after finishing second in the ratings the previous two seasons.
Tony Ross (Omaha Central, 1969): Won two state wrestling titles at 175 pounds and was unbeaten as a senior. Was All-Metro in football as a junior for the Eagles. Played football at McCook Junior College and played football and wrestled at UNO.
Ron White (Boys Town, 1966): A Scholastic Magazine all-star as a senior, the lefty also was an All-Nebraska basketball player that year as the Cowboys repeated as state champions. He scored 1,306 points in his four years. Played basketball at Pershing College in Beatrice, Neb.
Richard Wynne (Omaha North, 1988): Was an All-Nebraska running back in 1987, when he rushed for 1,435 yards. Played football at North Iowa Area Community College, then at UNO.
George Anderson (Omaha): A world-class sprinter in the 1960s at Southern University, he came to Nebraska after being invited to the Kansas City Chiefs' training camp in 1967. The American Football League team sent Anderson for seasoning with the semipro Omaha Mustangs. He had a seven-year career with the Mustangs. He became a longtime youth coach, founding the North Omaha Boys and Girls Club track and field program in 1999. He died in January at age 70.