LINCOLN, Neb. (April 11, 2017) — The Nebraska Sports Council has announced that Hall of Fame Kearney State basketball player and 25-year UNK Head Coach Tom Kropp has been named the Honorary Parade Marshal of the 2017 Cornhusker State Games (CSG) Opening Ceremonies. Kropp, a native of Aurora, is a member of four Halls of Fame, including the University of Nebraska-Kearney, NAIA, Nebraska Football and Nebraska High School Sports. As the Honorary Marshal, Kropp will lead thousands of CSG Athletes into the stadium at Seacrest Field to launch the Opening Ceremonies on Friday, July 21 at 8 p.m.
While he is best known for his stellar basketball career, Kropp starred in four sports for Aurora High School from 1967-71, earning all-state in both football and basketball and the title of Nebraska Athlete of the Year as a senior in 1971. He contributed to six state high school team championships in three different sports, threw a no-hitter in the state Legion baseball tournament, won the shot put at state with a toss of 56’ 6 ¾” and rushed for 1,015 yards his senior season in football. Kropp is the only basketball player in UNK history to average a double-double over his career (20.7 ppg, 11.2 rpg). He still holds the Kearney State/UNK single-game scoring record with 51 points in a win over Central Missouri State. He also played football at Kearney State and was a two-time Nebraska State College Athlete of the Year. After college, he was drafted by the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, the ABA’s Denver Nuggets, and the NBA’s Washington Bullets. He signed with the Bullets and was traded to the Chicago Bulls after his rookie season. He completed his second season with Chicago but was waived early in his third season in the NBA. He then played professional basketball in Belgium from 1979-1983.
Sports Illustrated named him one of Nebraska’s 50 greatest athletes of the 20th century, and in 2005, he was ranked 9th on the Omaha World-Herald’s Nebraska 100 ranking of the state’s best athletes of all-time. As the head coach at UNK from 1990 to 2015, Kropp’s teams went 482-245 from 1990 to 2015. Thirteen of his teams won 20 games and 11 reached the NCAA Tournament. His teams also won three Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) regular season titles and two RMAC regular season titles. Kropp’s 2003 team won a school-record 30 games and advanced to the Elite Eight. The Opening Ceremonies marks the official beginning of the 33rd annual Cornhusker State Games, which take place July 21-30. More than 12,000 Nebraskans are expected to participate. Register or find more information at CornhuskerStateGames.com.