|Sport||Track & Field|
Roland "Gip" Locke was called the "greatest of all time" by his coach, Henry Schulte — and for good reason. Locke held world records in the 100 and 220 (20.5 seconds on May 1, 1926).
The day he set the record in the 100, two watches timed him in 9.4, and the three others read 9.5. "Locke is the fastest there is," said Dean Cromwell, who coached Charley Paddock, considered the nation's top sprinter at that time.
Locke went on to become the NCAA outdoor champion in both the 100 (9.9) and the 220 (20.9) in 1926. He captained the NU track team in 1925 and '26, and lettered in football and baseball.
Locke's record in the 220 lasted nearly a decade until it was broken by Jesse Owens, then a runner at Ohio State.
Covering Locke's record 100 run, The World-Herald's Frederick Ware wrote: "The blond boy from North Platte sped to the greatest glory ever won by a single Cornhusker athlete or by a runner of short distances anywhere."
While at Nebraska, Locke ran every event from the 50-yard dash to the 300-yard dash, also competing on 440-yard, half-mile and mile relay teams and running the low hurdles.
Despite his world-class speed, Locke never competed in the Olympics; in 1928, he finished fifth in the 220 at the U.S. Trials, missing out at a shot at the Amsterdam Games. After the Trials, the president of the New York Athletic Club, William Kennelly, shuttled Locke and three other American non-qualifiers across the Atlantic in an attempt to help them crash the Games. Kennelly went as far as to stalk officials to the gates of the Olympic stadium, but the attempt failed.
As a football player for North Platte High School, Locke led the Bulldogs to an unbeaten season in 1921. He scored 12 touchdowns in a 176-0 win over Cozad that year.
In 2007, Locke was named to the Missouri Valley's all-time sprints team as part of the conference's centennial celebration.
After his athletic career, Locke worked as a lawyer in Lincoln and was named one of the city's outstanding lawyers.
Played for: North Platte High, Nebraska Cornhuskers and New York Athletic Club
Best athlete from Nebraska played with or against: Probably in the 220-yard hurdles it was Husker teammate Ed Weir, but Weir was no match as Locke beat the footballer in 23.6 seconds.
Best moment as an athlete: It had to be at the 1926 Drake Relays, where he ran a world record 9.5 second 100-yard dash on a cold, wet day. Locke took the lead soon after the gun and won going away.
Locke was No. 41 in the inaugural Nebraska 100 list in 2005. See more about the 2005 list »