LINCOLN, Neb. – In honor of his debut, a graphic rendering of first-year head football Coach Bill Callahan is featured on the front of the first Nebraska football game ticket in 2004, while the artwork on the fronts of the tickets for games two through six features a different Great Player and Great Fan.
Five former players, representing five decades, and six longtime fans, each of whom have been season ticket holders for 40 years or more, were chosen to represent "Great Players and Great Fans" on this year’s season tickets. These 12 people represent all former coaches, players and fans who have made Nebraska special through the years.
University of Nebraska Athletic Director Steve Pederson asked an esteemed committee consisting of Don Bryant, longtime SID; Paula Varner, wife of former University of Nebraska President D.B. Varner; and Dr. Ronald W. Roskens, former President of the University of Nebraska, to assist in the selection of the fans.
"About a year ago, we asked for and received thousands of letters from our season ticket holders," Pederson said. "From those, we picked approximately 100 that were very special. I gave those letters to our selection committee, which then reviewed the letters and picked the six fans to represent the true spirit of the Husker Nation fan. We knew we also wanted to honor our great players, sot then I asked Mike Babcock to research and review great Nebraska players throughout the decades and to select those who had been spectacular players, but may have been under-recognized over the years."
Babcock, a longtime Nebraska football sportswriter and historian, picked five outstanding players that represent the tradition of the Husker football program.
While the ticket for the season-opener with Western Illinois features Coach Callahan for his debut, the next five feature "Great Players." While they may not have been the most decorated players in the Cornhusker storied history, they were by anyone’s definition "great" in their representation of the Cornhuskers, on the field as well as in the classroom.
Forrest Behm was an All-American in 1940, lettering in 1938, 1939 and 1940. He is one of 12 players inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, being so honored in 1988. He is featured on the Sept. 11 Southern Miss ticket and hopes to travel from his home in Corning, N.Y., to attend that game.
"I have so many great memories about Nebraska, and when I think of my experiences there, many of our traditions come to my mind. I guess the thing I will always remember fondly is when we would gather together in that old crummy locker room before the game and sing 'Come a Runnin' Boys,' and then rush out the door ready to dominate. I still know all the words."
Along with Behm, Roger Lohr will be featured on the Southern Miss ticket front. A native of Lincoln and a graduate of the University of Nebraska, Lohr has been a season ticket holder for 40 years. As a child, Lohr attended games sitting in the "Knothole" section. Lohr’s oldest son has attended every game with him since he was 10 years old. Now living in Minnesota, Lohr continues his loyal support by attending home games and hanging the "Minnesotans for Nebraska" banner in the north end zone.
Pat Fischer was a team captain for Bill Jennings in 1960, and lettered in 1958, 1959 and 1960. He was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1974 and comes from a long line of great players in the Fischer family. Pat also enjoyed an outstanding career in the NFL that spanned 17 years and included a trip to the Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins in 1973. Fischer resides in Leesburg, Va. He is joined on the Oct. 2 Kansas ticket by Kenneth Hitt. Ninety-six years young, Hitt has been a season ticket holder since the early 1940s, donating to the Touchdown Club since it was first formed. He taught true sportsmanship to his children and watched them and his grandchildren become faithful Husker fans.
Tony Jeter looks forward to Sept. 18, as the Huskers will be playing in his backyard in Pittsburgh against the Panthers. Nebraska’s first African-American Academic All-American, Jeter earned the honor in 1965. Lettering in 1963, 1964 and 1965, Jeter was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1986 and played for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1966 to 1968. Jeter is joined on the Oct. 16 Baylor ticket by Millie DeVere. After moving to Lincoln in 1947, Millie’s husband, a native of Lincoln, introduced her to Nebraska football and she has been a member of the Husker Nation ever since, missing just three games since 1952. After the death of her husband in 1978, Millie has continued the Husker tradition through her family by taking her grandchildren to the games and teaching them to uphold the reputation of being one of the greatest fans in college football.
Bob Terrio plans to travel from his hometown in Ontario, Calif., to be in attendance at the Missouri game, when he and Genee’ and Norm Godden are featured on the Oct. 30 ticket. Terrio earned all-conference honors in 1971 and has two national championship rings, playing for Coach Bob Devaney in 1970 and 1971. Terrio clinched the Husker national championship in the 1971 Orange Bowl against Louisiana State when he intercepted a pass late in the game. Genee’ joins those honored at the press conference, driving in all the way from Chicago, but her husband Norm, could not make the trip. Norm and Genee’ (pronounced Gen-NAY) are both graduates of the University of Nebraska (1960 and 1966, respectively) and are faithful donors to the athletic program. The Goddens said they continue their support of the Big Red through "thick and thin." Even though they currently live 500 miles from Lincoln, that hasn’t stopped the Goddens from returning to Lincoln for most every Husker football game.
Roger Craig was one of the greatest backs ever to don the scarlet and cream. He unselfishly shared the spotlight with Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier, lettering from 1980 to 1982. Craig earned all-conference honors in 1981, was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1989, and had a long and successful NFL career, playing eight years for the San Francisco 49ers, winning three Super Bowl rings, and three more years with the Los Angeles Raiders (1991) and the Minnesota Vikings (1992, 1993). Craig resides in Portola Valley, Calif. Leola Bullock joins Roger Craig on the Nov. 26 Colorado ticket front. Leola is a retired member of NETV’s Library. She and her husband have been longtime season ticket holders since the Devaney Era and have passed the Husker tradition down through their family. Leola is a 1999 recipient of the University of Nebraska "Fulfilling the Dream" Award for Exemplary Action in promoting the goals and visions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
"Last year at this time we talked about 2003 being the year of the fan," Pederson said, "To me, that is a never-ending salute. Each of these season ticket holders have been members of an exclusive club that has supported the Huskers and our sellout streak for more than 40 years. We also honor our former players. They have given our fans exciting, competitive collegiate football action for more than 100 years. I am proud to salute these great representatives of our players and fans."