This weekend Nebraska Athletics will honor long-time Husker football athletic trainer George Sullivan on two separate occasions.
George Finley Sullivan, or “Sully” as many call him, is admired by hundreds of former Husker student-athletes and has taped thousands of ankles serving Nebraska’s Head Athletic Trainer from 1977 to 1995 and as an Assistant Athletic Trainer and Head Physical Therapist from 1953 to 1977. In recognition and appreciation of his more than 40 years of dedicated service to Athletic Medicine, the training room will be dedicated to Sullivan in a private ceremony on Friday, Sept. 26.
The “George Sullivan Training Room” is located in the interior of the Athletic Medicine Facility in the Osborne Athletic Complex and serves approximately 550 student-athletes on a daily basis. The South Stadium Athletic Training Room was originally dedicated in “Sully’s” honor on Sept. 11, 1999, a few years after his retirement. The athletic training room moved from the South to North Stadium when Memorial Stadium was expanded and the Osborne Complex was completed in 2006.
In a pregame on-field ceremony Saturday, Sept. 27, the first annual George Finley Sullivan Endowed Scholarship will be presented to senior receiver Todd Peterson. The scholarship was fully endowed in Sullivan’s honor in 2008 by the Touchdown Club of Nebraska, Inc., and many former Husker student-athletes graciously contributed to the fund. The scholarship will be presented annually to a “Nebraska varsity football student-athlete who has demonstrated a high level of athletic and academic achievement, with a strong commitment to community, effective leadership skills, a high degree of integrity, and commitment to excellence in all endeavors.” Preference is given to student-athletes who intend to pursue a career in a health-related field.
“George was a skilled, compassionate, diligent and innovative practitioner and cared for so many student-athletes,” Touchdown Club President Dr. Al Domina said. “He was also a mentor, teacher, advisor, psychologist and father-figure to many. He was devoted to his profession and this university. To help perpetuate George’s legacy, the Touchdown Club is proud to have matched dollar for dollar every contribution that came from former student-athletes in order to make this scholarship complete.”
Todd Peterson’s qualifications definitely fit the criteria. Peterson has been one of the top receiving targets for the Nebraska offense over the past three seasons and is currently just 57 yards short of becoming the 17th player in school history to accrue 1,000 career receiving yards with 943 in 39 games played. He is also in position to move into the top 10 on the Nebraska career receptions and touchdowns lists by the season’s conclusion. Starting each of the Husker’s first three games this season, Peterson is second on the team with 11 receptions for 127 yards and has one rush for a 2-yard gain.
Off the field, Peterson is a model student-athlete. Originally a walk-on from Grand Island, Neb., he has been on academic scholarship since his arrival in Lincoln, and currently carries a 3.763 grade-point average in nutrition, exercise and health science. He is a three-time first-team academic All-Big 12 selection and was honored eight times with a spot on the Big 12 Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll. A two-time selection to the Brook Berringer Citizenship Team, he has participated in extensive community service, as a speaker during School is Cool Week and American Education Week; a volunteer for Make-a-Wish, Read to Succeed, Special Olympics and Pacific Pals; and a regular visitor to local hospitals. He is a two-year member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and in 2007 was a finalist for the Wuerffel Award, a national award given annually to the football student-athlete who best combines excellence on the field, in the classroom and in the community. Peterson has been nominated for the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame postgraduate scholarship.