Obituary | Elvin 'Al' Papik

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Obituary | Elvin ‘Al’ Papik

Elvin "Al" Papik with Tom Osborne. Papik, who served for nearly three decades in leadership roles with Admissions and Athletics, died May 7. He was 95.
Elvin "Al" Papik with Tom Osborne. Papik, who served for nearly three decades in leadership roles with Admissions and Athletics, died May 7. He was 95.

Elvin “Al” Papik, 95, who served for nearly 30 years as a leader of Admissions and Athletics at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, died May 7.

Papik served many roles during his career with the Huskers and left a lasting legacy in Nebraska Athletics. He was presented with the Dick Herman Lifetime Achievement Award at Nebraska’s 2017 Night at the Lied awards ceremony. In his honor, the Papik Compliance Center is part of the Herman Student Life Complex in the West Stadium.


Papik first came to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1973 as the director of admissions, a position he held for 12 years. Papik then joined the Athletic Department in 1985 when he was hired by Athletic Director Bob Devaney to serve as the assistant athletic director for student services. Papik’s first task with the Nebraska Athletic Department was to unify the student support systems for the men’s and women’s athletic programs. Papik also became Nebraska’s first compliance coordinator in 1986.

Papik later assumed the role of senior associate athletic director, serving as the No. 2 athletic administrator. His primary responsibilities encompassed the entire area of compliance, including rules interpretation, education and serving as the liaison to the Conference office and the NCAA. In addition, Papik had the administrative responsibility of Academic Student Services and Athletic Medicine.

In December of 1996, Papik assumed additional responsibilities in football operations. He worked in that role for three seasons, then concluded his career in athletic administration as senior associate AD emeritus.

Papik’s time at Nebraska marked the second part of a highly successful career in college athletics. A 1950 Doane College graduate, Papik first served as a high school coach, before being named the head track and football coach at Doane in 1955, a position he held for 18 years.

The youngest of seven siblings, Papik was born Aug. 25, 1926, in rural Crete, to Charles and Agnes (Pomajzl) Papik. He attended Crete High School, graduating in 1944. Upon graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served for two years.

Papik enrolled at Doane College where he played football. He graduated with a degree in physical education and later earned a master’s degree from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

He met Gloria Jacobsen shortly after starting his teaching and coaching career in Laurel, Nebraska. The couple married on Aug. 12, 1951 in Sioux City, Iowa. They later moved to Crete, where Papik continued his teaching and coaching career first at Crete High, then with Doane.

In addition to his teaching, coaching and administration career, Papik found time to be the head starter and a referee for high school and collegiate track events.

Papik’s lifetime of service in athletics has been recognized by many groups nationally and in the state of Nebraska. Papik is a member of the Nebraska Football Foundation Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Basketball Hall of Fame (contributor), the NAIA Hall of Fame (coach), the Nebraska High School Hall of Fame (contributor), the Nebraska Shrine Bowl Hall of Fame, the Doane College Athletic Hall of Fame (coach) and the Nebraska Track and Field Hall of Fame (official). Papik served as the head referee at the Nebraska High School Track and Field Championships for 23 consecutive years.

Papik was a mentor to his players, coaches and all under his watch. He worked to help others be successful, be that through a word of encouragement, writing a letter of recommendation or just listening.

He was preceeded in death by his parents, Charles and Agnes; his wife, Gloria; sisters, Marie Clark, Helen Korbel and Emma Brydl; his twin brother, Ervin; and brothers, Edward and Lumir. Survivors include son, Jim (Marta), of Stromburg; daughter, Marcia (Ray) Henning, of Roca; grandchildren Jon (Rachel) Papik, Kristin (Daniel) Syde, Andrew (Annie) Henning, Joy (Tyler) Moore, and T.J. Henning (fiancé, Katie Hachen); and great-grandchildren, Bob, Maggie and Noelle Papik, Ellen and Reid Henning, Quincy and Zoe Moore, and Anna and Taletta Syde.

A Celebration of Life service is 1 p.m. May 13 at Lincoln Berean Church, 6400 S. 70th St. Visitation, with family present, is 5-7 p.m. May 12 at Roper and Sons South Lincoln Chapel, 3950 Hohensee Drive.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Teammates, Lincoln, Nebraska, and the Al Papik Doane College Athletic scholarship fund.

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