Turf to Bear Name of Tom Osborne Again
Randy York’s N-Sider
The legend who cemented Nebraska’s place in college football history has his name back where it belongs, and that linked legacy to Big Red posterity will continue to inspire the hearts of Huskers on every Game Day, beginning this fall, throughout the next 50 years, and beyond.
In this the 90th anniversary season of Memorial Stadium, a legendary name that graced the field for all of one season will return in perpetuity. Nebraska is finishing the installment of new FieldTurf, and it’s stunning, but what makes it truly classy is the red name stitched on the white edges of the east and west sidelines ... Tom Osborne Field ... a name that has been absent on that storied field for 14 seasons, even though it has remained the field’s official name since the University of Nebraska Board of Regents’ approval in 1998.
It’s easy to understand why Osborne asked that his name be removed from the field after its first and only appearance in 1998 – the same year that he retired from football and became a rare accelerated member of the College Football Foundation Hall of Fame. Osborne asked that his name be removed because he didn’t think it was fair to Frank Solich, who succeeded him as head coach.
Senior Management Team Unanimously Approved
Nebraska Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst said the Athletic Department’s Senior Management Team unanimously approved returning Osborne’s name to the sidelines, and the decision was especially timely with the installation of new FieldTurf.
The East Stadium expansion will be complete this fall. The project not only will increase Memorial Stadium’s attendance to 92,000 fans, but also will feature the Nebraska Athletic Performance Laboratory (NAPL), designed to become a world-leading research and educational facility committed to enhancing the performance, safety, health and well-being of student-athletes and others of varying physical abilities. Osborne was a key catalyst for NAPL, which will be adjacent to the East Stadium’s Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior (CB3) – Nebraska’s new academic research lab.
In addition to returning Osborne’s name to the sidelines, Memorial Stadium will continue having “Nebraska” stitched in red in the South end zone and "Huskers" stitched in red in the North end zone. A block red “N” remains the stadium’s 50-yard centerpiece, and two Big Ten Conference (B1G) logos are stitched in the northeast and southwest corners of the playing field. The "Tom Osborne Field" inscriptions are placed on Memorial Stadium’s northwest and southeast sidelines.
Osborne Icon for Nebraska and College Football
“Coach Osborne is a true icon for Nebraska and for college football,” Eichorst said. “He’s inspired half a century of Husker teams to unparalleled excellence, and I think every Husker fan will be glad to see his name back on the field.”
Osborne served as Bob Devaney’s offensive coordinator for Nebraska’s first two national championship teams in 1970 and ‘71 and was head coach for the Huskers’ national title teams in '94, ’95 and ‘97. His 255-49-3 career record averages more than 10 wins and fewer than two losses over 25 consecutive years. Osborne became the first coach in college football history to retire as a reigning national champion. A member of Devaney's staff for 11 years before succeeding him as head coach, Osborne won .836 percent of his games at Nebraska.
In 2007, Osborne returned to Nebraska as Athletic Director and restored the order of Husker football with the hiring of Bo Pelini as head coach. Overall, Osborne played a significant role in Nebraska football’s success for 41-plus seasons. In the last 50 years, the Huskers have won a nation-leading 79 percent of their games and also own an ongoing NCAA record of 50 consecutive years of home-game sellouts.
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