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Friday, November 10, 2006

Senator-elect Webb's Nebraska Days

My Dad pointed me towards a brief article in today's Omaha World Herald about Jim Webb. (Registration required.)

As I have mentioned before, he went to High School in Omaha and started boxing there.
"Jim Webb first made news in The World-Herald in January 1963 as a 16-year-old Bellevue High School student about to fight in his first Golden Gloves boxing match.

Thursday, he was back in the paper: on the front page, after being declared the winner of the Virginia Senate race - which gave the Democrats control of Congress.

Webb's family lived in the Omaha area from 1960 to 1963 when his father, military officer James H. Webb Sr., was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base.

While here, the younger Webb attended Bellevue High School - now Bellevue East. He graduated from the school in 1963.

After leaving Nebraska, Webb served in the U.S. Marines and has worked as a lawyer, an author and a screenwriter. He served under President Reagan as assistant defense secretary and secretary of the Navy.

Webb's senior yearbook lists him as having been involved in a number of school activities: honor roll, student council, football, basketball, track, speech, Spanish club, Latin club and baseball.

On top of all that, Webb took up boxing while in the area.

His coach was retired Air Force Sgt. Harley Cooper of Omaha, who won Golden Gloves national championships in 1963 and '64.

Webb didn't share in that success in his first boxing match, on Jan. 25, 1963, at the Omaha Civic Auditorium.

Fighting at 135 pounds, he lost on a split decision, World-Herald archives say.

But it wasn't necessarily Webb's boxing ability that impressed Wally Provost, then the World-Herald's sports editor.

Provost wrote in a Jan. 23, 1963, column that Webb was "handsome, intelligent and very much aware of the excitement of his life."

"People such as young Jim Webb pleasantly amaze me," Provost wrote.
So, I am officially declaring Senator-elect Webb a Husker. I am not sure which is the greater honor, being elected Senator or being from Nebraska.

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