By Randy York
Last Sunday, during the Husker Sports Network radio broadcast of the Nebraska women’s basketball game against Penn State, Matt Coatney gave a shout out to the “Attic Man”.
Attic Man is an affectionately coined name for a dedicated Nebraska fan who also happens to be the perfect example of the support that Jordan Hooper and the Huskers have in Alliance, Neb., so it seems appropriate to describe the lengths he goes to in following Hooper and the Huskers.
Attic Man redefines the meaning of avid fan because whenever the Husker women play a night game, he prepares himself for his favorite seat … in the attic of his house, the only place in the remote Sandhills that he can pick up Alliance KCOW’s radio signal.
Attic Man lives on a ranch south of Alliance, distance unknown. No one knows how he will celebrate Hooper/Husker hoops today, but most Alliance fans are choosing between two golden opportunities: 1) attending the game at the Devaney, where Alliance High School Athletic Director Tim Wallace estimates 60 to 100 natives will be camped out and cheering for a local legend; or 2) at the Alliance Performing Arts Center, where there’s room to accommodate more than 700 locals to watch the Husker-Gopher game on the Big Ten Network, plus enjoy free food prepared and served by the local chapter of the FFA.
Make no mistake. Attic Man is real. He is not a fictional character.
“I’ve never heard that story, although I’m not surprised it’s true,” said Mike Glesinger, Alliance KCOW sports director for the last 25 years. “We only have a little dinky 1,000-watt A.M. signal, so when the sun goes down, that signal shrinks from one that can reach Scottsbluff 50 miles away during the daytime to one that only reaches about 15 to 20 miles away at nighttime.”
We’re guessing Attic Man probably lives farther than 20 miles from Alliance, and he gets an N-Sider tip of the hat for being in a league of his own, just like Hooper, who grew up on a ranch, became a prep legend and now performs at the top of the Big Ten’s rebounding charts and near the top of the conference scoring charts.
“Jordan played in exactly 100 games at Alliance High and won 89 of them,” Glesinger said. “During that time, we won one state championship, were state runner-up once and finished third at state the other two years. Because of a few conflicts with the boys’ team, I covered 92 of Jordan’s game, and wouldn’t you know it? When I was covering the Alliance-Scottsbluff boys game in Scottsbluff, Jordan set the school record with 54 points at the Alliance-Scottsbluff girls game in Alliance the same night.
“I didn’t miss her second-best game, though,” Glessinger said. “She scored 47 in her last high school game against Omaha Skutt and had a three-point shot waved off at the halftime buzzer. That day, she set the record for most points scored in a single state tournament and finished second in career points scored in the state tournament. You know what, though? As good a player as Jordan is, she’s an even better person. She’s so unselfish, so team-oriented. She always felt like all those points made her look like a ball hog, but nothing could be further than the truth. If she had her way, she’d rather have all five starters score 10 points each than her score 50, win or lose. She’s always feeding her teammates.”
Wallace has lived in Alliance 34 years and is in his fifth year as AHS athletic director. Saturday, he and wife Kris drove to Lincoln to see their daughter, Emily, a December NU graduate now working in social services. They will join the Alliance faithful who will help salute Hooper at Sunday’s game and show the world how much she really is a Hometown Hero.
“Jordan’s a good one. She’s such a wholesome kid,” Wallace said. “Her attitude never changes. It’s always on, and it’s been that way since the first time I met her when she was in fourth grade. She’s so level-headed. She’s always represented this school tremendously well, and we’re all awfully proud of her. Of course, we’re also very proud of our two other Alliance High School graduates who ended up playing basketball at Nebraska – Amy Stephens and Tony Wilbrand. They’ve been great representatives of Alliance, too.”
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