Grand Island lost two longtime coaches within the past week.
Fred Northup — known as “The Wizard of Ruby Street” for his success coaching boys basketball at Grand Island Central Catholic — died at the age of 93 on Monday.
Dan Traudt, who was a teacher and coach at Barr Middle School for 37 years, died at age 72 last Saturday.
Bill Gavers, who took over the GICC boys basketball program when Northup retired, said he was a great mentor.
“He was so supportive when I got the job at Central Catholic,” Gavers said. “He always made sure that people would feel welcomed whether it was kids or adults.”
Gavers got to know Northup well over the years.
“We would go together to scout teams,” he said. “I’d pick him up at his house and we would enjoy talking basketball together.”
As a young coach taking over a program from someone who earned a nickname like “The Wizard of Ruby Street,” Northup’s support meant a lot to Gavers.
“He couldn’t have been more supportive,” Gavers said. “He never criticized. When someone who did it for 40 years gives you that support, it is really important.”
Gavers could tell what kind of coach Northup was by the types of players he had on his first Crusaders squads.
“He had guys who loved to play basketball, guys who loved to compete,” Gavers said. “He had bright, intelligent teams.”
Northup was a longtime fixture at Central Catholic who often was a substitute teacher even after he retired.
Traudt was born in York and graduated from Henderson High School and Kearney State College.
He started his career at Barr in 1969, where he coached football and basketball for numerous years before retiring in 2007. Traudt was also a longtime referee, and he officiated at multiple state basketball tournaments over the years.
A memorial service for Traudt will be held at 2 p.m. on Monday at Third City Christian Church.
Mass of Christian Burial for Northup will be Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church.