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Bob Devaney Immortalized in East Stadium Statue
Bob Devaney won eight conference titles and two national championships at Nebraska.
Photo Courtesy UNL Photographic Services
Courtesy: NU Media Relations
08/29/2013
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Lincoln - Two days before Nebraska hosts Wyoming in the season opener for both football teams, Nebraska Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst announced Thursday that he has commissioned a statue of Hall-of-Fame Football Coach and former Husker Athletic Director Bob Devaney. The statue will be installed in the new East Stadium Plaza which serves as the doorstep to a 52,000 square-foot research facility, 38 new suites, 6,000 new seats and a graphic-rich tribute to Nebraska football tradition inside the historic gate 20 entrance.

The life-sized bronze statue of Devaney, sculpted by Omaha artist Joe Putjenter, will be unveiled Friday at 4 p.m. in a brief ceremony open to the public. Mike Devaney and Rob Devaney, Bob’s respective son and grandson, will attend Friday’s dedication and share their thoughts, along with Eichorst,  Tom Osborne, Nebraska’s former head coach and athletic director, and UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman.

“This is Memorial Stadium’s 90th anniversary season, and we wanted to recognize the man who’s widely considered the one who really built this stadium from the 36,000-seat facility it was when he arrived in Lincoln in 1962,” Eichorst said. “With the stadium’s anniversary, the dedication of the expanded East Stadium and the fact that Wyoming and Nebraska were the only two schools that Bob Devaney ever served as head football coach, we thought this was the perfect time to honor his tremendous legacy.”

Having Devaney’s statue in front of what is believed to be the only joint on-campus academic and athletic research facility in intercollegiate athletics is appropriate in another meaningful way. The North entrance to Memorial Stadium’s Athletic Complex features a Tom Osborne/Brook Berringer statue and the stadium’s actual playing surface was recently reintroduced as “Tom Osborne Field” on both the East and the West sidelines.

“Coach Devaney added Coach Osborne to his staff as a graduate assistant the first year he was here and later hand-picked him to be his successor as head coach,” Eichorst said. “Our Athletic Department has gone to great lengths to make the Devaney Center, named in Bob’s honor, a world-class, modern-day facility. But we also wanted something visible to honor Coach Devaney at Memorial Stadium, which has been sold out since the first year he arrived in Lincoln.”

Nebraska had only three winning teams in the 21 seasons before Devaney arrived. His first team went 9-2 and won Nebraska’s first-ever bowl game, 36-34 over Miami. Devaney’s teams won back-to-back national championships in 1970 and ’71 and captured eight conference championships in his 11 years as head coach. His overall 101-20-2 record in 11 years at Nebraska included a 32-game unbeaten streak. Devaney’s 1971 team that beat Alabama, 38-6, in the Orange Bowl, was recently voted by The Sporting News the No. 1 college football team of all time. Devaney coached 14 years at four Michigan high schools before becoming an assistant coach under Duffy Daugherty at Michigan State from 1953 to 1956. He served five years as head coach at Wyoming from 1957 to 1961 with a record of 35-10-5. His career head coaching record at both schools was 136-30-7 for winning percentage of .806. While he was head coach at Nebraska, Memorial Stadium attendance more than doubled to 72,700.

Devaney and Osborne became the third coaching duo to post back-to-back 100-win careers at the same institutions, but the first pair to accomplish that feat in just 22 years. Devaney served as Nebraska’s Athletic Director for 26 years from 1967 to 1993.

Bob Devaney at a Glance
Position: Head Football Coach
Schools: Wyoming, Nebraska
Years: 1957-1972
Inducted into College Football Hall of Fame: 1981
Born: April 13, 1915, Saginaw, Mich.
Died: May 8, 1997, Lincoln, Neb.

Bob Devaney Record

Year

Won

Lost

Tied

Pct.

Bowl

Highlights

At Wyoming

           

1957

4

3

3

.550

   

1958

8

3

0

.727

Sun

Skyline Conf. Champs

1959

9

1

0

.900

 

Skyline Conf. Champs

1960

8

2

0

.800

 

Skyline Conf. Champs

1961

6

1

2

.778

 

Skyline Conf. Champs

Totals

35

10

5

.750

 

Four league titles

At Nebraska

           

1962

9

2

0

.818

Gotham

 

1963

10

1

0

.909

Orange

Big Eight Champions

1964

9

2

0

.818

Cotton

Big Eight Champions

1965

10

1

0

.909

Orange

Big Eight Champions

1966

9

2

0

.818

Sugar

Big Eight Champions

1967

6

4

0

.600

   

1968

6

4

0

.600

   

1969

9

2

0

.818

Sun

Big Eight co-Champions

1970

11

0

1

.958

Orange

National Champions

1971

13

0

0

1.000

Orange

National Champions

1972

9

2

1

.792

Orange

Big Eight Champions

Totals

101

20

2

.829

 

Eight league titles

Overall Total

136

30

7

.806

 

12 league titles

Bowl Record

7

3

0

.700

 

Two national titles

Bob Devaney's Honors and Accomplishments

  • University of Nebraska Head Coach (1962-72)
  • University of Nebraska Director of Athletics (1967-93)
  • National Championship Teams (1970, 1971)
  • College Football Hall of Fame Inductee (1981)
   
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