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Wortman retiring after 41 seasons as Elkhorn's football coach

Wortman retiring after 41 seasons as Elkhorn's football coach

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Elkhorn vs. Lincoln Southwest, prep football, 9.13.18

Elkhorn head coach Mark Wortman signals a play to his team in the first quarter of a 2018 game against Lincoln Southwest at Seacrest Field.

Elkhorn football coach Mark Wortman is retiring after 41 seasons in that position and guiding the Antlers to the Class B state title in November.

Wortman leaves with a 356-96 career record after Elkhorn went 11-2 last season and won its sixth state championship under the Nebraska High School Hall of Fame coach. Four of Wortman’s title teams went undefeated.

Wortman is second in Nebraska high school football history for career wins behind Norfolk Catholic's Jeff Bellar.

Wortman, a Lexington native, was an assistant coach for four seasons at Littleton (Colorado) Heritage High School in the mid-1970s before spending the 1979 football season as a graduate assistant at Nebraska-Omaha.

He was offered a full-time assistant position at UNO in the spring of 1980, but Wortman decided to accept an offer to coach at Elkhorn and teach American history.

It turned out to be Wortman’s final coaching and teaching stop. Elkhorn has transformed from a rural high school when he first took the job to an Omaha suburban school today, and Wortman stayed ahead of the development and turned the football program into a powerhouse.

Elkhorn’s other state titles came in 1989, ’92, ’96, ’99 and 2011. The Antlers also were state runners-up five other times and reached the playoffs 31 times under Wortman.


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High school sports reporter

Ron Powell is a longtime prep writer for the Journal Star. He covers high school football, boys basketball and track as well as state college football and Husker and professional tennis.

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