MISSION

To provide medical and financial assistance to in-need former athletes from Nebraska’s 15 four-year Colleges and Universities.

WHO WE ARE

Family, friends and fans of every letter winning male or female athlete from the 15 four-year colleges and universities who face medical and financial challenges.

WHO WE SERVE

Any former letter winning athlete from the 15 four-year colleges and universities in the state of Nebraska who have a qualified medical condition and lack the financial resources to meet their own needs.

Conceived by former Nebraska Football All-American Jerry Murtaugh and patterned after the NFL Greats Foundation, Murtaugh was motivated by the tragic real-life stories of former Huskers Andra Franklin and David Humm.

Both fell victim to progressive diseases and ailments in middle age that bankrupted them financially and left them virtually helpless as both quality and even access to health care deteriorated. Franklin passed away in 2006 of Heart Disease unable to provide for himself even basic services or prescription medication. Humm’s battle with Multiple Sclerosis progressed to leave him bedridden in need of 24-hour attention. Unable to access any benefits from his time in pro football (he had yet to reach eligibility age of 65), was incapable of providing for even the most basic needs. Murtaugh organized a benefit event. Proceeds yielded lifesaving funds that reinstated necessary care and provided peace of mind until his death

Shortly thereafter, the NGF was created, IRS 501C designation was granted (2014), by-laws were drawn up, a voting Board of Directors was formed, officers elected and activities commenced.

Nebraska Greats Foundation Leadership

The NGF is led by a volunteer board of directors from which four elected officers serve as the executive committee. The executive committee oversees the contracted executive director and administrator positions. The executive director and administrator execute daily operations ranging from development activities, outreach methods, facilitate grant requests and public events. They report on a weekly basis to members of the executive committee for oversight.

Jerry Murtaugh
Jerry Murtaugh
President
“We’re gonna help so many memory makers in Nebraska before I’m gone and then after I’m gone, we’re gonna help a lot more!”
Bill Hamik
Bill Hamik
Vice President
“I have a passion for all Nebraska athletes and compassion for those who are in medical need at a tough time in their lives.”
Johnny Dorn
Johnny Dorn
Secretary
“Our sports heroes have provided us with so many great memories over the years. The Nebraska Greats Foundation allows us to give back to those who have given us so much already.”
Monte Kratzenstein
Monte Kratzenstein
Treasurer
“The Nebraska Greats Foundation has touched me personally, serving many of my former teammates. Reaching out to assist former athletes no matter what name is on the front of the jersey is a great thing.”
Garry Clark
Garry Clark
Board Member
“I am humbled for this opportunity. Being a Nebraska Collegiate Athlete changed my life. I look forward to helping provide for the needs of former student athletes like me.”
Eric Crouch
Eric Crouch
Board Member
When asked by Murt (founder Jerry Murtaugh) to join the foundation it was a “no brainer” and I am happy to do whatever I can to make a difference. The College athletes of the state need help, and here we are!”
Maurtice Ivy
Maurtice Ivy
Board Member
“What we are doing matters. It impacts people in so many ways. The great fans who love the players can really be there for them in their time of great need. The NGF speaks to the very best in us.”
Rod Kestel
Rod Kestel
Board Member
“The Nebraska Greats Foundation allows me to give back. These former players have given all of us great entertainment and memories over the years. Now LET’S HELP THEM!”
Mandy Monson
Mandy Monson
Board Member
“I look forward to being a part of the support system that former varsity athletes from all of the 15 four-year Nebraska-based colleges and universities can tap into.”
Mike Peterson
Mike Peterson
Board Member
“The NGF is a fantastic organization that channels the passion Nebraskans have for their favorite teams and the life-long affection they have for the athletes who played.”
Jim Rose
Jim Rose
Executive Director – Ex Officio
“The NGF is quintessential Nebraska. We love our communities. We love sports and the athletes who make memories for us. And it’s in our DNA to help those in need, That’s the NGF to a T”
Dave Slagle
Dave Slagle
Board Member
“In this state, you may be a Bluejay or a Loper or Husker but Nebraskans pull for EVERYBODY. The NGF means nobody is left out and it’s a great way to bring us all together.”
Darrel Smith
Darrel Smith
Board Member
“I became involved in the NGF when I heard of the amazing work the foundation was doing. I want to help the NGF be sustainable far into the future and help build awareness in western Nebraska.”
Brett Wetton
Brett Wetton
Board Member
“The NGF changes lives. It gives hope. It gives back to those who mean so much to Nebraskans all around the world—our former collegiate athletes. In Nebraska, the cheering never stops.”
Dr. Monte Christo, MD
Dr. Monte Christo, MD
Specialty / Subspecialties: Anesthesiology/General Anesthesiology

Dr. Monte Christo is an anesthesiologist in Omaha, Nebraska and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Midwest Surgical Hospital and Nebraska Methodist Hospital. He received his medical degree from University of Nebraska College of Medicine and has been in practice between 11-20 years.

Dr. John Horgan, MD
Dr. John Horgan, MD
Specialty / Subspecialties: Urology/General Urology

Dr. John Horgan is an urologist in Omaha, Nebraska and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Boys Town National Research Hospital and CHI Health Lakeside. He received his medical degree from Creighton University School of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.

Dr. Michael Peetz, MD
Dr. Michael Peetz, MD
Specialty / Subspecialties: General Surgery/General Surgery

Dr. Michael Peetz is a general surgeon in Greeley, Colorado. Originally from Omaha, he received his medical degree from University of Nebraska College of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.

Dr. Scott Strasburger, MD
Dr. Scott Strasburger, MD
Specialty/Subspecialties: Orthopedic Surgery/General Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Sports Medicine

Dr. Scott Strasburger is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. Originally from Holdrege, NE and received his bachelor’s degree in life sciences from Nebraska. He attended the Nebraska Medical Center School of Medicine and served a surgical internship at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis.

Dr. Rob Zatechka
Dr. Rob Zatechka
Specialty / Subspecialties: Anesthesiology/General Anesthesiology

Dr. Rob Zatechka is a board certified anesthesiologist who has been practicing at OrthoNebraska since 2010. A Lincoln native and 1994 UNL alum, he attended medical school at The University of Nebraska Medical Center, graduating in 2004. He completed his residency in 2008 with an emphasis in anesthesia for organ transplantation and regional anesthesia. Dr. Zatechka stayed on at Nebraska Medicine as an assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology for two years prior to taking a position at OrthoNebraska as staff anesthesiologist.

Adam Skoda
Adam Skoda
Football, UNL

Inspirational former walk on from Lincoln High, Skoda played on two Husker national title teams. He lost a valiant battle with cancer. The NGF brought peace of mind to his family in the waning months.

Ade Dagunduro
Ade Dagunduro
Basketball, UNL

After an excellent college career, Ade played professionally around the world with growing knee injuries. He returned home to California to care for his ailing family exhausting all of his resources. The NGF partnered with several Nebraska health organizations to provide key procedures to repair his damaged knees.

Alan Pogue
Alan Pogue
Football/Basketball/Baseball, Dana College

Pogue was a cancer victim forced to long and expensive hospital stays. He passed away in Oct, 2015. The mounting costs from inadequate insurance placed great stress on Pogue’s survivors. The NGF provided a grant covering much of Pogue’s lingering costs.

Anthony Steels
Anthony Steels
Football, UNL

Popular Husker who led the team in minutes played in 1980 and well known for his singing voice at major sports events, Steels battle with cancer was aided by a grant from the NGF. He passed away in 2014.

Brianna Perez
Brianna Perez
Softball, York College

A standout softball player, Perez suffered from chronic knee trouble that eventually required significant medical attention. Immobile, Perez was unable to work yet and needed assistance from the NGF as medical bills and student loan payments mounted. The NGF grant eased her burden and now she is back working full time.

Danny Fulton
Danny Fulton
Football, UNO

One time NCAA record holder for receiving yards in a season, he was a 2 time All American for the Mavs. Finished with 152 career catches and 26 touchdowns. Played three seasons in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Browns. He passed away from complications from Cancer. The NGF supported his care in the last year of his life.

Dave Humm
Dave Humm
Football, UNL

Former All-American was the NGF’s first recipient. Felled by Multiple Sclerosis, the NGF provide Humm assistance before he qualified for support from the National Football League.

Giovanni Froldi
Giovanni Froldi
Soccer, York College

Gio, a native of Brazil is a member of the York College Dean’s list and a standout performer for York College. The Nebraska Greats Foundation supplemented his NAIA student-athlete benefits by providing care for an arm injury.

James Kiehn
James Kiehn
Football, UNO

Standout performer for the UNO Mavericks of 1984 that finished #2 in the nation. He also served in the US Navy as a fighter pilot until Pancreatic Cancer claimed him at the age of 55. The NGF supported Kiehn in his valiant fight.

Jim Unger
Jim Unger
Gymnastics, UNL

An early pioneer in the dynasty of Husker Gymnastics, Unger was the victim of a serious bicycle accident that left him permanently disabled. The NGF purchased a motorized wheel chair that brought him mobility and allowed Jim and his wife to resume operating a popular gymnastics academy in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Joel Brott
Joel Brott
Football, Concordia University

Brott suffers from early stage complications from Multiple Sclerosis. Living in rural Nebraska, he was forced to travel many miles for hydro-therapy treatments. The NGF installed a hydro-therapy device in his home that now allows him more regular treatments and less interruption in his family-owned small business.

Josh Jones
Josh Jones
Basketball, Creighton University

Former Omaha Central and Bluejay standout, Jones suffered from genetic heart condition that forced his retirement from athletics while still enrolled in school. The NGF provided residual co-pays from Jones’ NCAA insurance benefits toward major surgical procedures and after care. Today, Josh is one the NGF’s most passionate supporters.

Ken Clark
Ken Clark
Football, UNL

One of the most celebrated athletes in the history of Omaha Bryan High School, Clark finished his career in the top ten in rushing yards in Husker history. He played three seasons in the NFL. The NGF assisted Clark with expenses related to chronic heart disease before he passed away of a heart attack.

Larry Florence
Larry Florence
Basketball, UNL

A standout performer in the late 1990’s, Florence received assistance from the NGF to provide for travel expenses incurred when cancer required treatments far from his home.

Tami Harris
Tami Harris
Gymnastics, UNL

Harris was a standout performer during her collegiate career, bringing distinction and championships to Husker Gymnastics. Later in life, Harris began to develop serious Gastrointestinal and related illnesses that forced her to give up her career. After years of struggle, the Nebraska Greats Foundation provided Tami with funds to enter the Mayo Clinic where her condition was identified and a treatment program was created.

Tesla Oldfield-Davis
Tesla Oldfield-Davis
Softball/Cross Country, Peru State

A standout, two sport performer for the Bobcats, she was diagnosed with ALS before her 30th birthday. As the disease progressed, the Nebraska Greats Foundation provided valuable equipment her family insurance would not cover. These facilities have allowed her more restful sleep and slowed the degenerative effects of the disease.

Willie Miller
Willie Miller
Football, UNL

Best known as the bruising fullback that paved the way for Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch, Miller suffered from chronic back and knee injuries that required multiple surgeries and much outpatient care. The NGF assisted Miller with these needs which allowed him a faster recovery and to enroll in post-graduate courses to pursue a career in nursing.

Jonathan Hayes
Jonathan Hayes
Basketball, Dana College

The NGF assisted Hayes with lingering expenses from his cancer treatments not covered by insurance and from outstanding expenses related to surgical procedures.

Darrell Walton
Darrell Walton
Football, UNL

Darrel Walton was a standout high school performer at Omaha South High School who played Nebraska football in the Mid 1970’s ’75-78 on athletic scholarship.   He moved to defensive back for his senior season as the Huskers captured the Big 8 Crown and played in the Orange Bowl.

The Nebraska Greats Foundation assisted Darrel with post-operative expenses not covered by insurance after surgery for a chronic knee injury.

Sue Henry
Sue Henry
Gymnastics, UNL

Miss Henry, a cancer survivor needed assistance with transportation to and from Chemotherapy treatments.

John Morse
John Morse
Basketball-Baseball, UNO

The NGF assisted Morse with prescription medication to address his diabetes that was not covered by his insurance.

Dennis Stahlnecker
Dennis Stahlnecker
Baseball, Bellevue University
Facing bankruptcy, Dennis reached out to the NGF for assistance with outstanding invoices from emergency hospitalization for heart disease and pneumonia. His disability insurance did not cover all of his medical related expenses.
Sandy Zoroya
Sandy Zoroya
Administrator

“Being a part of the NGF is a great privilege for me. Hopefully, the NGF can be a bridge for our recipients to having better days!”

Should you have any questions about Nebraska Greats Foundation please contact Sandy at szoroya54@hotmail.com

Tom Dinsdale
Tom Dinsdale
Board Member
“I feel an obligation to the state’s collegiate athletes who have fallen on hard times. They nor any Nebraskan should ever struggle alone.”
Boyd Epley
Boyd Epley
Board Member
“I have a great desire to serve the NGF and its mission. I am excited to begin this next chapter of my career and utilize my experience and relationships to identify donors and recipients.”
Michael McGlade
Michael McGlade
Board Member
“The chance to support individuals that now need assistance after providing such great joy to other Nebraskans as they participated in athletics across the state energizes me.”
Adam Driver
Adam Driver
Track and Field Hastings College

Adam Driver was an elite Pole Vaulter for the Hastings Broncos and competed in national championship meets. He was injured in an industrial accident shortly after leaving college. The NGF provided Adam with equipment and facilities so that he could remain active. He is now an assistant Track and Field coach at his Alma Mater.

Facts and Figures

FACTS AND FIGURES: The current state of accessible health care in the US doesn’t provide for everyone.  In some cases, the coverage is so inadequate, out of pocket expenses cause financial hardship on individuals and families.  The NGF seeks to be a part of the solution by providing private sector, nonprofit support to those in need.

Former college athletes report twice the incidence of impactful health issues than non-athletes.  According to a 2017 study by Indiana University:

  • 50% of athletes report some chronic injury while playing.
  • 67% report a major injury while participating.
  • 55% report at least one unaffordable medical bill.
  • 44% say they could not come up with $400 in an emergency without family, friends or selling off possessions.

The NGF is a reflection of the core values of Nebraskans.

  • We support higher education.
  • We support the men and women who earn degrees (which is not a requirement) at our colleges and universities which are the epicenter of the state’s economy and cultural uniqueness.
  • Athletics is a cultural “tie that binds” the state’s communities together in a common cause that brings pride, joy, prestige and accomplishment to the state’s citizens.

Our Vision

The NGF recognizes a growing future need as more and more former collegiate athletes encounter both debilitating and chronic injuries and illnesses. The ongoing and growing lack of access to affordable health care has placed many Americans at great difficulty in addressing their own health care needs. Even states that provide expanded Medicaid leave many out of reach. The NGF will serve this expanding community by offering a private-sector solution to qualified applicants.