Print  
Bill Jennings
Position: Head Coach
Alma Mater: Oklahoma
Graduating Year: 1941
  • Nebraska Head Coach, 1957-61
  • Nebraska Record: 15-34-1 (.310)
  • Nebraska Football Hall of Fame Coach (1996)

Bill Jennings spent five seasons as the head coach at Nebraska after coming to Lincoln as an assistant under Pete Elliott. Jennings also served as an assistant with Elliott for the Sooners.

Jennings spent seven seasons as the backfield coach for the Sooners but resigned after the 1953 to become associated with an oil company in Fort Worth, Texas. He re-entered the coaching profession at Nebraska with Elliott for the 1956 season, when Elliott became Nebraska's youngest head coach at age 29.

Elliott spent just one season at NU before moving on to coach at the University of California in 1957. After Jennings helped Elliott and the Huskers to a 4-6 record in Elliott's only season, Jennings took the reins as head coach in 1957.

In his first season at the helm, Jennings and the Huskers struggled to a 1-9 record, but showed improvement with a 3-7 mark in his second season in 1958. In his third year as Nebraska's head coach, Jennings and the Huskers made history by ending Oklahoma's 74-game conference unbeaten streak by capturing a 25-21 win in Lincoln in 1959.  NU finished with a 4-6 mark in 1959, and matched that record with another 4-6 performance in 1960. In his last season, Jennings led the Huskers to a 3-6-1 mark in 1961.

Although Jennings never enjoyed a winning season at Nebraska, many of the players he recruited to NU formed the nucleus of Hall of Fame Coach Bob Devaney's early Husker teams. In Devaney's first season in 1962, Nebraska finished with a 9-2 record and made an appearance in the Gotham Bowl. NU went 10-1 in 1963 and won the Big Eight title to earn a trip to the Orange Bowl.

Jennings was head coach when the Big Seven Conference added Oklahoma State and became the Big Eight in 1960.

Before coming to Nebraska, Jennings spent most of his life in Oklahoma. He played football at Norman High School, where he was coached by Dewey "Snorter" Luster, who was the head coach at OU from 1941 to 1945.

Jennings played wingback and end for OU Coach Tom Stidham's Sooners in 1938, 1939 and 1940. Jennings played in the East-West All-Star Game in 1940 and made four receptions in the contest.

Following his graduation from Oklahoma, Jennings spent one year coaching at Cushing High School in Oklahoma. He then enlisted in the Marine Corps, serving from June of 1942 until 1946, when he joined OU's coaching staff.

Jennings developed several All-America backs at Oklahoma, including quarterback Eddie Crowder, fullback Buck McPhail and halfback Billy Vessels.

Jennings was born March 13, 1918. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Oklahoma. Jennings passed away on June 8, 2002, at the age of 84.

First National Bank
Previous Next