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Twenty-one minutes before Nebraska kicked off its 125th anniversary football season, a redshirt freshman quarterback from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., stood with his parents, John III and Lori, and his sister, Katie, in the northeast corner of Memorial Stadium. Patrick Combs then announced that Johnny Stanton IV was the seventh annual recipient of the George Sullivan Endowed Scholarship award.
The scholarship honors Sullivan, Nebraska’s head athletic trainer from 1977 to 1995. Sullivan’s four-plus decades of service to Nebraska student-athletes is one of the longest tenured positions in the history of NU Athletics. The Sullivan Scholarship is considered a major award for well-balanced student-athletes who succeed both on and off the field. Consider, for instance, that Todd Peterson was the first Husker Sullivan Scholarship recipient in 2008, followed by Adi Kunalic in ’09 and Sean Fisher for the next three consecutive years. Jake Long earned the 2013 Sullivan Scholarship. By now, every serious Husker football fan knows the criteria upon which this award is based – varsity players with a strong commitment to community while demonstrating effective leadership skills, a high degree of integrity and a commitment to excellence in all endeavors.
Pre-Med Major Finds the Time to Help Others
Stanton (pictured above) is a nutrition science/pre-medicine major with a 3.5+ grade-point average after his first year on campus. The talented, dual-threat quarterback competes for playing time and donates his own time. A member of both the Tom Osborne and Brook Berringer Citizenship Teams, Stanton also is a two-time Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll award winner. Even though he had scholarship offers from the likes of Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin, he did not take any other visits after committing to Nebraska in the summer of 2012. Johnny honors Nebraska football in a classic yet competitive way. He has volunteered his time to Uplifting Athletes and Big Brothers/Big Sisters, plus Husker Heroes, Husker Hotline, School is Cool Week, the People’s City Mission, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. When opportunities arise to visit local schools, hospitals, and recreational/care centers, Stanton does whatever he can to help.
Husker Legend Sullivan Was a Big Part of the Team
George Sullivan, a Husker legend in every sense of the word, attended Nebraska football staff meetings every morning at 7 o’clock. “George’s input was always very valuable,” Tom Osborne said. “We trusted him just like a coach. He did a great job.” I saw “Sully” in the Nebraska Athletic Medicine Office before he and wife Genie headed to the hot northwest corner of the stadium to make Saturday’s pregame scholarship presentation. Sully now uses two canes instead of one to gobble up first downs on Nebraska’s fabled turf. “We’re honoring another great one,” Sully said of Stanton, “so I need to be out there.”
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Voices from Husker Nation
As a former Nebraska track coach (1972-78), I know George. He was our team trainer for outdoor track, besides his football duties, and he epitomizes the Husker spirit of selfless loyalty and dedication. Always there 24/7 for athletes and coaches as well, his advice and insight were strongly respected by all. Besides his RPT credentials, he was a master of athletic psychology, knowing when to encourage or admonish. Every NU athlete and coach who has represented the Huskers respects and loves this man for all he has done, and continues to do with his endowed scholarship. Three GBR Cheers for George Finley Sullivan!!! John K. Korky, Ph.D. 1977, Long Valley, New Jersey
Go, Johnny Stanton!!! What a perfect recipient of the Sullivan Scholarship!! Cheryl Barfoot, Arcadia, California