Rimington Humbled and ‘Kind of Shocked’ with Big Ten Decision to Honor Him
Former Husker Lombardi and Outland Trophy winner Dave Rimington was honored this week when the Big Ten Conference announced his name would be part of a new set of trophies created to recognize the league's rich and storied history.
Rimington, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, and Ohio State's Orlando Pace were chosen to represent past legends and leaders on trophies that future generations of Big Ten athletes will compete to win. The Big Ten Offensive Line Player of the Year will be awarded the Rimington-Pace Trophy.
The awards are part of a lineup of 18 new trophies unveiled Monday in conjunction with the Big Ten's announcement of new football division names and a new logo for the 2011-12 academic year.
"I'm honored and I'm humbled to be the only guy from Nebraska on this list," Rimington said. "But I was kind of shocked by the whole thing because we've had so many great players at Nebraska ... guys like Johnny Rodgers and so many others. I never even thought I was the best athlete on my team. I guess that's one of the advantages of playing a position that nobody wants to play. I know they probably took some heat from people who might say this guy has never played a down in the Big Ten, so why is he on an award? I guess they're trying to figure a way to integrate Nebraska into the Big Ten, so I think it was a good gesture, and I am appreciative."
Only Back-to-Back Outland Winner in History
The only player ever to win the Outland Trophy in consecutive years (1981 and 1982), Rimington is one of the most decorated offensive linemen in college football history.
The 6-foot-3, 290-pound center was a two-time first-team All-American in 1981 and 1982 and is one of just 17 Huskers to have his jersey retired. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997, while his jersey was retired by Nebraska in 1982.
Tom Osborne, Rimington's head coach at Nebraska and now athletic director, said the honor was well-deserved. "We have a lot of great players the Big Ten could have selected, but I guess when you think of center, usually you think of Dave Rimington, and that's not just Nebraska, but nationally. Dave probably combined size, speed and strength about as well as anybody. He was one of the quickest guys off the ball we've ever seen here. He was amazing at center and did a great job for us every game. The Big Ten is obviously trying to be inclusive and have every team that they can be represented. So I think it's an interesting and probably appropriate that they could pick somebody like Dave out as someone who is symbolic or emblematic of Nebraska football."
A three-time first-team All-Big Eight choice from 1980 to 1982, Rimington was named the Big Eight Offensive Player of the Year in 1981, marking the only time in conference history that a lineman has earned the prestigious honor. During his career, the Omaha South grad helped the Huskers win back-to-back Big Eight titles in 1981 and 1982. Nebraska led the nation in rushing during his senior season.
A four-year letterman and three-year starter, Rimington was named team captain and capped his senior season by winning the 1982 Lombardi Award. Also, a two-time first-team academic All-American, Rimington was honored by the NCAA as a Top-Five Student-Athlete and was selected as a National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete in 1982. He was also a three-time first-team academic All-Big Eight choice from 1980 to 1982. In 1999, he was selected to the Walter Camp All-Century team.
First Husker Ever in CoSIDA Hall of Fame
More recently, Rimington became the first Nebraska student-athlete in history to be inducted into the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame. Rimington claimed that distinguished honor in 2004.
A first-round draft choice of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1983, Rimington played five seasons with the Bengals, and played two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles before retiring in 1989.
Rimington is the president of the Boomer Esiason Foundation and resides in New York. In 2000, the first Rimington Award sponsored by the Boomer Esiason Foundation to honor college football's center of the year was presented to Nebraska center Dominic Raiola, whose jersey No. 54 was retired in 2002. The annual award is presented in Lincoln. This year's Rimington Banquet will be held at the Rococo Theatre on Jan. 15, 2011.