By Randy York, The N-Sider
Big Red football fans appreciate what Huskers take with them when they're gone and what they leave behind.
Let the record show that before their passing in the last week, two Husker football letterwinners from the 1960s left plenty. David City, Neb., native John Kirby was a Nebraska letterman at guard and linebacker in 1961, '62 and '63. Columbus, Neb., native Marvin Mueller was a Husker letterman at safety in 1965, '66 and '67.
Kirby died on his 70th birthday and his celebration of life service was last Saturday in his hometown of David City.
Nebraska football legend Bob Brown was a recent guest on Jerry Murtaugh's Legends Radio Show in Omaha. Brown told listeners that John Kirby and his former Oakland Raider teammate Gene Upshaw were “the two best pulling guards that I have ever seen” in college or the NFL.
Kirby played seven seasons in the NFL at linebacker. His first five years were with the Minnesota Vikings under Norm Van Brocklin and Bud Grant. His final two were with the New York Giants.
Both Huskers Went On to Earn Their Master's Degrees to Teach and to Coach
Kirby and Mueller (pictured above) both received master's degrees after they finished playing football. Kirby, who went on to teach and coach at David City Aquinas, earned a master's degree in education. He coached football and track and served in the National Guard. He retired after 27 years with an electronics company in Columbus. He was inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.
Mueller earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in education before going on to teach and coach for more than 30 years at the high school level, including Lincoln High School.
Both Huskers left legacies that included happy memories, provided precious moments and created sweet sadness in their passing.
Their stories and recent photos reinforce the deep appreciation Husker fans have for Nebraska natives who contributed to the rich tradition when Bob Devaney arrived in Lincoln. Both were important pioneers in helping Nebraska become a definitive college football power.
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