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Billy Coby explained what teammates presented: Life Skills According to Billy.
Courtesy: NU Media Relations
          Release: 06/02/2012
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Coby Carries Life Skills Torch to New NU Job

By Randy York

There were lots of laughs Friday when coworkers and friends said goodbye to Billy Coby, who was working his last day as a Life Skills assistant in Nebraska’s Athletic Department. On Monday, Coby will carry his unique Life Skills torch to a new job as program coordinator for the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center, the nation’s largest multicultural center attached to a Student Union. Coby’s dry wit and timeless wisdom were in full force in his last day as an athletic department employee, but make no mistake. The once double Division I student-athlete (football/basketball) at Missouri State University brought a lot to Nebraska’s table. “Billy had a positive impact on our Life Skills program,” Nebraska Associate Athletic Director Keith Zimmer said. “He challenged our staff, and he challenged our student-athletes to think in a different way and to keep it real with both our programming and our relationships.”

Owner of a bachelor’s degree in Mass Media and two master’s degrees in Business Administration and Higher and Post-Secondary Education, Coby is now pursuing his PhD in Educational Administration at Nebraska. “Billy has accomplished a lot while he’s pursued his degrees,” Zimmer said. “He’s enhanced the resources and services we provide in Life Skills, particularly in graduate school preparation and mentoring.” During his Nebraska tenure, Coby coordinated the Life Skills Team Competition, Student-Athlete Career Fair, Graduate School Expo and HuskerConnect Mentoring Program. “Billy has been a good advisor for writing personal statements and finding money for scholarships,” Zimmer said. “He even helped prospective graduate students create a disciplined plan and complete schedules with practice tests to prepare them for their graduate entrance exams.”

Mentoring has been an equal point of emphasis. “Billy believes really strongly in mentoring and connecting with kids who don’t have the opportunities or the resources,” Zimmer said. “He’s been great in helping our student-athletes become role models so they can inspire young boys and girls who might be disadvantaged in thinking about getting a chance at higher education. If you have that chance, Billy believes you have the chance to succeed, and he’s gone to great lengths to grow our entire mentoring program. Basically, our mentoring program has tripled in size in his two years here, and he’s been the catalyst for that.”

A serious-minded Coby enjoys the light-hearted side of life, and his farewell reception reflected that with gag gifts, fond memories of competitions lost and won at staff retreats and an impromptu lecture that matched the surprise list of his favorite expressions. His teammates presented the list as “Life Skills According to Billy” and encouraged him to explain the first seven: 1) You can never say the wrong thing to the right person; 2) You can never say the right thing to the wrong person; 3) Avoid being someone’s source of frustration; 4) Microwaves are a man’s best friend;  5) Never commit to weekly yoga with a significant other; 6) Greatness is a gift, and I have it; and 7) When greatness knocks at your door, what do you do? You answer it.”

Well, true to form, when the Jackie Gaughan Center knocked, Billy Coby answered, giving the 30,000-square-foot multi-cultural facility a newly trained leader. “The Gaughan Center is responsible for serving all ethnic and minority students on campus,” Zimmer said. “We’ll continue to work with their staff and integrate programs where it makes sense. We’re always looking for better ways to communicate and collaborate with each other, so having Billy over there can be a real plus for us. We view the Gaughan Center as a spectacle on this campus, and we’d like to find ways for our student-athletes to help out and learn at the same time. This should be a neat opportunity for all of us.”

Send a comment to ryork@huskers.com (Please include current residence)

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