Thanks Tom for giving our state an image of strength and integrity. You have lead by example and it is up to us to carry that image forward. Thank you for showing us how to live and how to lead a decent and honest life. You have been an outstanding role model for all the youth that you have been responsible for over the years. How can our state ever thank you enough?
I just wanted to say a great BIG thank you from all of us in my family. I was born in Lincoln and have been a Husker fan for as long as I can remember. When my family moved to California we continued to listen or watch Husker football games whenever they were available.
As a parent I want to thank you for the great example of leadership and dedication you have shown during your time at Nebraska. I certainly appreciate how you live your convictions within the world of collegiate sports. You have taken young people from all backgrounds and provided guidance and direction for them to follow. It has been wonderful to watch you continue to demonstrate the highest qualities of a man of character both on and off the field. For this example, I am very appreciative.
May God continue to bless all your tomorrows. Enjoy your retirement and all of your “new” hobbies.
Cindy Rap Shirley – Santee, California
You will always be remembered fondly by me and my family as a true Christian leader who stayed true to his principles in life and cared for his players and staff at Nebraska like they were family. I’m sure the players, the recruits and their families quickly picked up on that, and that was a big part of your success and the 3 National Championships you helped bring to Nebraska. Thanks for your caring, class, and commitment which you always demonstrated both on and off the field and in your coming out of retirement to help Nebraska once again as Athletic Director.
People say it’s sometimes the small things that show the real mark of a man. I’ve wanted to thank you for this for years, now I will. I’ll never forget the time in the early 1990s when I visited my Aunt Mildred suffering with terminal cancer at the assisted living center in Hastings. She warmly greeted me as always, and quickly showed me the book that you had just sent her along with your touching personal note on the inside cover. You thanked her for all she had taught you as your Sunday School teacher when you were a boy in Hastings, and how you had kept her in your prayers since learning of her illness. This was in October, the middle of your football season, when you sent her your book. You’ll never know how much that reconnection meant to her, and her family. She was so touched that you remembered her after all the years, and that after somehow learning of her illness, you had taken the time to send your book and personal note to her in those difficult last few months of her life. She followed your career all of her life, and was your biggest fan, Tom. We miss her, and we’ll also miss you at the helm at Nebraska. You gave joy to my Aunt Mildred, as well as to so many Husker fans, athletes, and students over your distinguished career.
I shared this story about you and my Aunt Mildred with Coach Bill McCartney out here in Colorado in the late 1990s at Promise Keepers. His eyes welled up some, and then he said, “Yes, that’s the Tom Osborne I know alright, he’s a friend of mine, he’s also a real man of the Lord, and a class act”. I hope my Aunt was up there above us listening to that, she would have really liked his comment a lot. You are not only loved and respected by your former players, assistant coaches, fans, and students, but also your coaching peers and competitors, a great honor for anyone to have. Well done, and thank you for all that you gave us and taught us Tom.
Mike Frost – Aurora, CO
Your role in Nebraska football/athletics has forever changed many young people for the better. Your patience, courage and morals have created something special at the University of Nebraska that can be carried forward for many years to come. Having grown up in Nebraska, I fondly remember listening to the games (when not televised) while hunting, camping or just hanging out. I am proud to be a true Husker fan and also a Coloradoan for Nebraska. Thank you very much for the joy you and your teams have given us over the years. We will be forever grateful, thankful and fondly remember you and your family. Best of luck on your next adventure in your life. God Bless!
David Rhoades – Gypsum, CO
You won your first national championship when I was three, another the next year, and your last when I was just six. I grew up to Saturdays of pure domination, unadulterated Husker passion, and all things Big Red. I grew up to a powerhouse that you put together and led. Because of you, I will be a Husker fan for life, even though I will probably never live in your state.
As a kid, I didn’t know every detail of the game, only stepped foot in Nebraska once a year, and went to school with Longhorn fans. Yet I viewed you as a hero. From what I saw and what my dad told me, you offered me my first glimpse of servant leadership. A humble man in all respects who led his team with a selfless confidence and sincere desire for his players to achieve success in academics and their future careers. But you weren’t just a coach and mentor to those players, you were my coach, in a sense – teaching me the importance of a balance between athletics and education, providing an example of humble leadership, and instilling in me a drive for greatness. One can’t just grow up watching the most dominant college football programs of all time and not strive for a similar greatness.
Not only did you lead the powerhouse that was Nebraska, but you did so with humility – a humility inspired by your Savior. There is no doubt in my mind that your successes in football pale in comparison to the impact that you made on your player’s lives. To have such a God-fearing man leading them, instructing them, and guiding them with love had to have been one of the most valuable experiences of their lives.
Currently, I attend the university of Texas at Austin and still pull for our Huskers (probably harder than ever). I honestly am so thankful for your continuing leadership and guidance of that program. The Nebraska Football and Athletic Departments are the successes they are today because of you and your decades of devoted leadership. Thank you for your service to the school and your state, and GO BIG RED!
Matthew Kerns – Houston, TX
I wanted to say thank-you for the positive and profound impact that you have had on my life, the lives of former players and coaches, and the entire state of Nebraska. I had the privilege and blessing of being asked to “walk-on” in the fall of 1988. I was from the small, rural farming community of Clarks that was stuck between Grand Island and Columbus.
My experience at Nebraska was everything I expected. The friendships cultivated with the players and coaches continue to enrich and shape my life to this day.
During my senior year at Nebraska, I had the opportunity to work as a graduate assistant alongside, Gerry Gdowski, Brian Carpenter, Tyler Zahn, and the rest of the coaches. The opportunity to observe you as you worked with your staff, challenging and encouraging players, and watching you deal with adversity and the daily challenges of being a coach was instrumental to me.
You taught me many lessons while I was involved with the program those five years, but the most important lesson I learned from you was how to treat people. Whether you were an all-american, walk-on, or the concession worker at the stadium, you treated each person with dignity and respect. Each person matters and you modeled that lesson for me daily.
Thank you for your lasting legacy, the impact you have had on me, and modeling to all of us how to live a life of integrity, trust, respect, and loyalty.
May God richly bless you and your family!
Brian Pollard – Clarks, NE
Thanks, Coach Osborne, for being a man of class and integrity…a champion regardless of what the scoreboard or pollsters said. Your faith and your values transcended the game we all love and made a difference not only on the field, but more importantly off it. There is no place like Nebraska, and there is no coach/athletic director/leader of men like Tom Osborne. You will be missed.
Nathan Birr – Sheboygan, WI
With the impending end of an outstanding career as coach and administrator at the University of Nebraska, several events have been planned as a tribute to Tom Osborne, who will retire from his current position as Athletic Director on Jan. 1, 2013.
Osborne’s five-year stint as a successful administrator follows a stellar career as Nebraska’s head football coach when his teams won 255 games, 13 conference championships and three national titles in 25 years. Saturday’s final home game against Minnesota, which kicks off at 2:42 p.m., will be Tom Osborne’s 500th in his career.
Tom Osborne has had several opportunities to be honored with the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s “Distinguished American” Award, and Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, seemed as good a time as any to accept the accolade. He will, after all, be retired from his Nebraska athletic director duties for all of 11 days when he accepts the award in conjunction with the 2012 Walter Camp All-America Banquet at the Yale University Commons in New Haven, Conn.
Tom Osborne is the gold standard for college football coaches and, in my opinion, he’s become an equally compelling role model for Division I athletic directors, even if he is less than a month from his 5-year anniversary as Nebraska’s AD.
Osborne announced his retirement Wednesday, effective Jan. 1, 2013.