Nex-Tech Wireless recognizes athletic contributors in this special feature
Kansas Pregame & Nex-Tech Wireless are joining forces to recognize the individuals behind the scenes who help area school sports teams achieve success. Administrators, team managers, assistant coaches, booster club members and more. Please email nominations for the Winter Nex-Tech Wireless Supporting Cast to firstname.lastname@example.org by November 18th, 2020, and check out our Fall Supporting Cast below.
Richard Brake, Salina Central
Richard Brake has held multiple roles in the Salina community. He is the retired postmaster, one-time school board president and current para at Salina Central High School. Brake has long served as a Salina Central assistant coach in football, wrestling and baseball and as an assistant coach for Salina American Legion baseball. Also, he has announced games during the Kansas Grand Slam tournament.
Last winter, Salina Central had a change in wrestling when Shannon Peters resigned as wrestling coach following the graduation of his youngest son, Taylon. Brake remained on as an assistant. In ’17, Brake was the assistant for longtime head baseball coach Dee Kolzow. SC finished 15-6 and set the school record for single season victories and longest winning streak.
“We are extremely fortunate to have someone like coach Brake on our staff,” said Salina Central football coach Mark Sandbo. “He brings a wealth of life experience to both our building and program as a former postmaster, military veteran, and a former board of education member here in Salina. Coach has an energy that is infectious to players and staff alike, his attention to detail is really second to none.”
Bruce Buethe, Ness City
Bruce Buethe handles many roles at Ness City. Known for his outgoing personality, Buethe is a 7-12 grade math teacher, helps with robotics, coaches high school golf, and has even driven one of the team’s buses to sporting events.
Buethe, from Elk Creek, Neb., with a background in agricultural economics and banking, is also well-known as the voice of Ness City sports.
“About a typical small-town teacher,” he said. “I get to help with a little bit of a lot.”
Buethe, starting his fifth year broadcasting, is one of very few full-time teachers who announces. Buethe meets often with coaches and school administration to gather information and pronunciations, closely follows storylines and streaks, is knowledgeable about the Central Prairie League, and conducts frequent interviews with Ness City coaches.
In football, Buethe has called a cold weather playoff game versus Hoxie, along with big comebacks versus Satanta and Hodgeman County.
“It was so great to see because being a teacher, you see these kids everyday,” Buethe said.
Buethe has helped three high schoolers get on the air, including Ellinwood’s Alex Hammeke. Now at Barton County, Hammeke has called some BCCC basketball games.
“It’s an understanding of how important that event is to somebody, and if you treat it like that, I think you are going to do a good job,” he said. “It might be important to a grandma, it might be important to an uncle, it might be important to the coach’s family, and it might be important to your opponent’s family members as well. There’s something about a radio broadcast that is different than just seeing a stream.”
Cheryl Gleason, Kansas State High School Activities Association
Chery Gleason is the KSHSAA administrator for the KAY Program; girls volleyball, girls gymnastics, boys and girls bowling, tennis; KSHSAA Hall of Fame; Area Supervisors program for volleyball; and KCA liaison. Gleason has served on numerous NFHS committees, most recently the NFHS Volleyball Rules Committee.
A member of the Southwestern College Hall of Fame, Cheryl Gleason was one of the most versatile athletes ever to come out of Southwestern. She played tennis for four years, and volleyball and basketball for three years. She was a leader on the 1975 KCAC championship volleyball team. In 2015, Gleason was inducted into the Kansas Volleyball Association Hall of Fame.
Fran Martin, Kansas State High School Activities Association
Fran Martin is the KSHSAA administrator for boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball; Area Supervisors program for basketball; supervision of officials; Coaching School; and KIAAA liaison. Martin is currently the chair of the NFHS Basketball Rules Committee, the first female in history to hold such a role.
Fran conducts summer basketball camps throughout the month of June for officials who are looking to grow in their craft or get started. She is in the Greater Wichita Officials Association Hall of Fame.
Gleason and Martin were nominated by Carol Swenson, who said the duo “are key to Kansas prep sports and always go unnoticed until something goes wrong or against an individual’s personal wishes. Unless a person has actually worked closely with them in preparing for an event or preparing for a KSHSAA board meeting, or committee work on behalf of the association or the NFHS, they have no idea the number of hours, phone calls (and) emails they go through to make state playoff events go off.”
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