John “Choppy” Rhodes did it all.
The Ansley native held three state high school track records at the same time (vault, long jump, high jump); was player-coach of Ansley’s first football team in 1920, which went undefeated that season; helped Ansley win a pair of state basketball titles; and played baseball.
He was also selected to The World-Herald’s first all-state football team in 1921.
After graduating from high school in 1922, Rhodes went on to earn eight varsity letters at Nebraska — three in football and track, and two in baseball.
As a defensive end and running back for the Huskers, Rhodes earned All-Missouri Valley Conference honors in 1924 and 1925, and helped NU defeat Notre Dame’s legendary "Four Horsemen" and Illinois’ Red Grange. He was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1993.
Rhodes considered an offer to play baseball for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1925, but instead opted to return to school for his senior year. He helped the Nebraska baseball team capture a conference title in 1925, and he went on to win the all-around championship at the Illinois Relays in 1926.
Rhodes, who operated a car dealership in Spalding and died at the age of 48, followed up his playing days by coaching several sports. He was a football assistant at Nebraska and coached NU’s baseball team for two seasons, winning a conference title. Rhodes went on to serve as football coach and athletic director at Wyoming from 1930 to 1932 and coached the St. Louis Gunners pro football team in 1934. He also coached the Blair Bears for three seasons.
Played for: Ansley High and Nebraska Cornhuskers
Best moment(s) as an athlete: Nebraska's two wins against Notre Dame and its legendary "Four Horsemen." From 1922 through 1924, the Fighting Irish went 27-2-1, with their only losses coming to the Huskers. Rhodes also went on to score a crucial touchdown in 1925 in a 14-0 win over Red Grange and Illinois. Grange was held scoreless at home for the only time in his career.
Rhodes was No. 94 in the inaugural Nebraska 100 list in 2005. See more about the 2005 list »