Hall of Fame football coach Tom Osborne has continued to leave a lasting impression on the history of Nebraska Athletics since returning to lead the Husker program as the school's 13th athletic director on Oct. 16, 2007. Osborne, who led Nebraska to three national championships (1994, 1995, 1997) and 255 victories in his 25 years as the Huskers' head football coach, continued to use his impressive leadership skills to guide the NU athletic department for more than five years until is retirement on Jan. 1, 2013.
Following his retirement as athletic director, Osborne has continued to serve the department as Athletic Director Emeritus.
With the core values of integrity, trust, respect, teamwork and loyalty serving as guiding principles to Nebraska's program as a whole, Osborne made historic decisions to help the University of Nebraska athletic programs for years to come.
In June of 2010, Osborne joined Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman and Big Ten Conference Commissioner Jim Delany to announce the Huskers would join the Big Ten beginning on July 1, 2011. Nebraska's move to the Big Ten will continue to add University-wide academic opportunities, while providing financial stability for the athletic department for years to come.
Just a few months later, Osborne announced an aggressive expansion plan for the east side of Memorial Stadium that will increase attendance past 90,000 for the first time, while continuing Nebraska's NCAA record-setting sellout streak. The expansion, which is set for completion before the 2013 football season, will include athletic and academic research components.
In the spring of 2010, the city of Lincoln also received voter approval to begin construction on the 15,000-seat Pinnacle Bank Arena, which will serve as the new competitive home for both Nebraska men's and women's basketball programs beginning in 2013-14.
The basketball programs, the wrestling program and many of NU's other sports also have benefitted from the new Hendricks Training Complex at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The facility, which opened in October of 2011, includes practice and team areas, and greatly expanded athletic medicine and strength training areas.
The Nebraska baseball and softball programs also received a new indoor practice facility at Haymarket Park, which opened in the fall of 2011.
The first step in Osborne's aggressive building plan for Nebraska's facilities began in the summer of 2010, as the Huskers broke ground on the Student Life Complex on the west side of Memorial Stadium. The Student Life Complex, which opened in the fall of 2010, directly benefits every Husker student-athlete with expanded academic resources.
While Osborne helped initiate landmark moves off the field, he continued to help coaches and student-athletes focus on Nebraska's tradition of competitive success.
In 2011-12, 10 Husker teams finished among the top 25 in the nation, including the Nebraska football team's New Year's Day appearance in the Capital One Bowl.
One of Osborne's first major decisions as athletic director was to hire Bo Pelini as the Huskers' football coach. Pelini, who had spent the 2003 campaign as NU's defensive coordinator, has energized Nebraska's storied tradition with four consecutive nine-win seasons. Pelini's Huskers have finished among the Associated Press top 25 in each of the last three seasons. The football program also contributed three CoSIDA Academic All-Americans in 2011. By the time Osborne retired, Nebraska pushed its nation-leading total of academic All-Americans to 302 all-time, across all sports.
Coach Mark Manning's Husker wrestling program added a pair of CoSIDA Academic All-Americans in 2011-12. On the mat, NU tied for 21st at the NCAA Championships and have finished in the top 25 at five consecutive NCAA Championships during Osborne's time as NU's athletic director.
The tradition-rich NU volleyball program captured the Huskers' first-ever Big Ten Conference title in any sport in 2011, finishing No. 12 nationally while advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Coach John Cook's squad has claimed four conference crowns since Osborne's return to Nebraska.
The Husker women's gymnastics team led by Coach Dan Kendig added its first Big Ten championship, while finishing eighth nationally in 2012 for its third straight top 10 finish. The Nebraska women's indoor track and field team contributed another Big Ten title. Coach Gary Pepin's men added a tie for 11th at the NCAA Championships during the outdoor season for its best team finish since 2003, after tying for 23rd at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The NU men's and women's track and field teams have combined for four conference crowns, while producing eight top-20 finishes over the past five years.
The NU women's basketball team produced one of its best seasons in school history by rolling to a 24-9 record that included a run to the Big Ten Tournament championship game. Coach Connie Yori's Huskers finished No. 17 in the final AP poll and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third time since Osborne's return to Nebraska. The 2010 Huskers ran to the best season in school history with a Big 12 title and an NCAA Sweet 16 berth in 2010.
Coach Scott Jacobson led the Nebraska women's tennis team to one of the best seasons in school history in 2012, posting a school-record 24 wins and No. 16 final ranking. The Huskers advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, marking the third straight season the team has advanced to the postseason. The Husker men's tennis program added its first two NCAA appearances in school history in 2010 and 2011.
Coach Bill Straub's bowling team added a third-place finish at the 2012 NCAA Championships, marking the program's fifth straight top-eight showing. The Husker bowlers claimed the 2009 NCAA title. The Husker softball team made three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from 2009 to 2011, while the Husker women's golf and baseball programs both earned NCAA Regional bids in 2008.
Osborne made his second coaching hire since his return to Nebraska, when he named two-time Major League All-Star, three-time Gold Glove award winner, and former No. 1 MLB Draft pick Darin Erstad as the baseball team's new coach on June 2, 2011. Erstad was not only one of the best Husker baseball players in history, he was the starting punter on NU's 1994 national championship football team coached by Osborne.
The baseball program responded by posting a 35-23 record in his first season. It marked a five-game improvement in the win column over 2011. Osborne made another high-profile hire with addition of men's basketball coach Tim Miles on March 24, 2012. Osborne also hired former Husker Stacy Underwood as NU's fourth rifle coach on May 24, 2012.
Academically, Nebraska produced eight CoSIDA Academic All-Americans in 2011-12, before adding three more in the fall of 2012 to increase its nation-leading total to 302 all-time, across all sports. NU also graduated a school-record 155 student-athletes from August of 2011 through May of 2012.
Before being asked by Chancellor Perlman to return to Nebraska as athletic director in 2007, Osborne served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (Nebraska's 3rd congressional district) from 2000 to 2006.
He returned to academia following a 2006 gubernatorial bid, serving as a senior lecturer at Nebraska in the College of Business Administration, teaching leadership and business ethics, in the fall of 2007. Osborne also worked as a consultant for local college athletic departments for two years.
Osborne and his wife, Nancy, continue to pour their time and support into the TeamMates mentoring program, which they founded in 1991. TeamMates provides encouragement to school-aged youth to help them graduate from high school and pursue a post-secondary education.
Osborne's leadership of the TeamMates program began while he was putting the final touches on one of the best coaching careers in college football history. The Hastings, Neb., native, who earned master's and doctoral degrees in educational psychology from the University of Nebraska, was named NU's 25th head coach following the 1972 season.
In 25 seasons with Osborne at the helm, the Huskers mounted a 255-49-3 record - the sixth-most wins in major college history. Osborne's .836 winning percentage ranked fifth all-time. His career came to a close with a 42-17 win over No. 3 Tennessee in the 1998 Orange Bowl, when he became the first coach in college football history to retire as a reigning national champion. Following his career, he became one of just four coaches in history to have the mandatory three-year waiting period waived for induction into the National Football Foundation College Hall of Fame in December of 1998.
Osborne's 1994 and 1995 teams allowed Nebraska to become just the second school in history to post back-to-back perfect national championship seasons (Oklahoma 1955-56). Nebraska put together the best five-year run in college football history from 1993 to 1997, going 60-3 with five straight 11-win seasons.
Osborne led NU to 13 conference crowns, including six of his last seven seasons on the sideline. All 25 of his Husker teams won at least nine games and went to a bowl, while 15 won 10-or-more games.
In the classroom, the NU football program totaled 65 CoSIDA Academic All-America awards in Osborne's 25 years. In fact, he accumulated more football Academic All-Americans in his 25 years as coach than any other football program in the nation has produced in its history.
Prior to becoming head coach, Osborne spent 11 seasons under Devaney, helping the Huskers win back-to-back national championships in 1970 and 1971. In 1973, Osborne succeeded Devaney, who also served as Nebraska's Athletic Director from 1967 to 1993.
Osborne served as Nebraska's Athletic Director from 2007 through 2012. He was Nebraska's Athletic Director Emeritus from January 1, 2013, to June 30, 2013, and is now concentrating on finding and training nearly 3,500 new mentors for the Teammates Program that he co-founded with his wife, Nancy.Tom and Nancy have three adult children; Mike, Ann and Suzanne, plus four grandchildren.
Tom Osborne's Coaching Record
Tom Osborne's Honors and Accomplishments