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AFM Magazine

Legends of the Hall

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With 119 chapters and over 12,000 members nationwide, The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, a non-profit educational organization, runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in today’s young people. NFF programs include the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Ind., Play It Smart, the NFF Center for Youth Development Through Sport at Springfield College, the NFL/NFF Coaching Academy, and annual scholarships of nearly $1 million for college and high school scholar athletes. Each month American Football Monthly will profile a member of the College Football Hall of Fame – our April subject is former Nebraska Coach Tom Osborne.

1937: Born in Hastings, Nebraska

1955: Selected HS Athlete of the Year in Nebraska

1959: Graduates from Hastings College and named State College Athlete of the Year

1962: Retires from pro football after playing three years as a wide receiver
Joins Bob Devaney’s staff at Nebraska

1970-71: Helps Nebraska win back-to-back National Championships

1972: As Receivers Coach and Offensive Coordinator, Johnny Rodgers wins Heisman Trophy

1973: Named Nebraska Head Coach, succeeding Devaney

1981: Center Dave Rimington wins Outland Trophy

1983: Tailback Mike Rozier wins Heisman Trophy

1993: Linebacker Trev Alberts wins Butkus Award.

1994: Named National Coach of the Year as Nebraska wins first of three National Championships under Osborne (‘94, ‘95 and ‘97)

1995: Awarded Distinguished American Award by National Football Foundation

1997: Wins third National Championship (13-0 record) and retires after 25 years as Nebraska’s Head Coach
Wins 250th game, a 69-7 win over Oklahoma

1998: Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame

A life-long Nebraskan, Tom Osborne was head coach of the University of Nebraska for 25 years, compiling a 255-49-3 overall record. That’s an average of over 10 wins a season with a .836 winning percentage. In addition, during his tenure, Nebraska accomplished the following:

• Played in 25 bowl games
• Won 13 conference championships
• Won 3 national championships: 1994, 1995, 1997
• Coached a record 46 Academic All-Americas
• Had a record of 60-3 his last five years as coach
• Had a graduation rate of 84% among his players

Growing up in Hastings, Osborne was All-State in football and basketball and was named the state High School Athlete of the year in 1955. He attended Hastings College and was named the state’s College Athlete of the Year in 1959.

After playing three years in the NFL as a flanker for Washington and San Francisco, Osborne joined Bob Devaney’s staff at Nebraska in 1962. For 11 years he was a graduate assistant, receiver’s coach, then offensive coordinator. He then succeeded Devaney as head coach, roaming the sidelines for a quarter century.

Osborne’s Husker teams played in bowl games every year he was a head coach. In addition to the three national championships, Osborne coached two Outland Trophy winners (Dave Rimington and Dean Steinkuhler), four Lombardi Award winners (Rimington, Steinkuhler, Will Shields and Zach Wiegert), a Butkus Award winner (Trev Alberts) and a Heisman Trophy recipient (Mike Rozier).

In addition to his success as a coach, Osborne is equally known as a humanitarian. Besides teaching Sunday school at a Methodist church, Osborne made speeches during his coaching career for both the American Heart Association and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The National Football Foundation gave him its Distinguished American Award in 1995, and he and his wife Nancy formed the Osborne Foundation to assist youth education.

After retiring in 1997, Osborne has had a successful run as a U.S. Congressman, a seat he currently holds in Washington D.C.

To find out more about how to become a member or for more information about The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame visit or call 1-800-486-1865.


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