“I first met Matt when he was a junior in high school. I watched him grow as an athlete and have now seen him emerge as an ambassador for the University of Nebraska. Creating Captains is a way for Matt to share his experiences as a student-athlete and help to guide our younger generation.” – Tom Osborne, Nebraska Athletic Director
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By Randy York
Last October, a couple days before analyzing Nebraska’s best football win of the season on the radio – a 24-3 thrashing of Michigan State – Matt Davison drove to North Platte and presented a $10,000 check to a community’s highly underfunded Backpack Program. It was just another example of Davison traveling the state and teaching how football relates to life through his Creating Captains Foundation.
Davison, Nebraska’s all-time leading receiver in bowl games and the freshman that made the miracle catch at Missouri and saved Nebraska’s 1997 national championship season, says his Creating Captains Foundation is simply an opportunity to teach skills he learned as a Husker. The idea was the result of a conversation with a Big Red football fan who was talking to Davison before Nebraska played Wake Forest in Winston Salem, N.C., five seasons ago. It models some of the same tenets anchored in Tom and Nancy Osborne’s TeamMates program. Bottom line, Davison says it’s a way for him and for countless contributors to give back after so much has been given to them.
Davison loves traveling the state and sharing what he experienced as both a Husker football player and basketball player. Using a combination of skills training and character building, he encourages and motivates students to reach their highest potential. “Basically,” Davison says, “Creating Captains is a statewide program designed to empower student-athletes to live a life of character, both on and off the field. We feel that once youngsters are engaged with positive messages early in their athletic careers, they’re equipped to succeed. Our goal is to instill values and to teach lessons that last a lifetime.”
Davison is proud of finding a way to steal a page from the Hall-of-Fame coach and three-term Congressman he played for. “Coach Osborne always believed that today’s athletes should become tomorrow’s leaders because the same principles that work in the locker room can apply to schools across the state and to communities anywhere and everywhere,” he said. “Creating Captains challenges our youth to be courageous in the face of peer pressure, so they can influence others to lead rather than follow. Our core values are character, courage, leadership and respect. We view those four values as pillars to become role models and motivators for everyone to pursue a life of excellence.”
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