HASTINGS, Neb. — Hastings High boys track and field coach Dave Johnson is the first winner of a new award created in memory of two Nebraska coaching legends.

The Dale and Brad Feeken Memorial Coaching Award is a collaboration between the Hastings Public Schools Foundation, the Adams Central Schools Foundation, and the Hastings Catholic Schools Foundation. A news release says the award pays tribute to the exemplary dedication of Dale Feeken and his son Brad Feeken, who devoted their lives to coaching and mentoring young athletes. 

In order to be eligible for the award, a coach must currently be leading an NSAA-sanctioned team at Hastings High, Adams Central or St. Cecilia. Nominations are accepted from employees at the three school districts.

Johnson started teaching at Hastings High in 1986. He was an assistant coach for eight state tournament boys basketball teams before taking over the boys track and field team as head coach in 2000. The track team has finished in the top 10 in the state five times since 2018. He guided the team to the Class B state title in 2021, the program’s first championship in 90 years.

Dale Feeken left a lasting impact during his 25 years as a teacher and coach at Adams Central Jr/Sr High. Dale graduated in 1970 from Doane University after earning his Bachelor's degree in education and later his Master's degree in history from the University of Nebraska. Dale was a beloved social sciences teacher and track and field coach at Adams Central from 1970-1995. He also coached freshman boys basketball. His dedication to nurturing the next generation of leaders was evident. Dale passed away in a 1995 car accident on his way to school.

Brad Feeken was a 1994 graduate of Hastings High School - where he still holds records for season and career field goal percentages.  He continued his education and basketball career at Doane University where he earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in education.   He began his professional career in Gretna teaching middle school reading and assisting the boys basketball program.  In 2003, he became head coach and remained in this role the rest of his life.  Brad passed away in December 2023 after a battle with cancer.