Thanking Suh: Osborne, Pelini, Perlman, Meyers, Rozier, Castner, Erstad
If you didn’t notice, there was quite a gathering at midfield last Saturday when Ndamukong Suh made his surprise announcement to donate $2.6 million to the University of Nebraska, his alma mater.
Everyone knew something special was about to happen when both teams left their sidelines and circled Suh to support an announcement that even amazes Tom Osborne.
Nebraska’s athletic director isn’t the only one struck by a 23-year-old Engineering grad who pledged $2 million to the Athletic Department and $600,000 to NU’s School of Engineering four months after his own college graduation and five days before the NFL Draft.
Smiles were all around. Handshakes and backslaps were everywhere. The second Suh announced what everyone was there to hear, a certain left-handed head football coach shot his right arm straight in the air. If you’d like to see that serendipitous moment and how excited Pelini was, hit the play arrow above to view the video.
Osborne and Pelini will tell you directly what they think about the Suh announcement. So will Harvey Perlman, Paul Meyers, Guy Rozier, Clarence Castner and Darin Estad.
Perlman, NU’s Chancellor, was on the field representing the University. Meyers and Rozier were representing the Nebraska Athletic Development Office that turned Suh’s dream into a reality. Castner is the president of the University of Nebraska Foundation that will process and execute Suh’s gift.
Erstad, a former punter who had a career game when Nebraska beat Miami to give Tom Osborne his first of three national championships, wasn’t on the field for the first-quarter ceremony. But one of Nebraska’s biggest athletic donors ever was in the stadium, goose bumps and all.
Nearly 78,000 Big Red fans saluted the news the only way they knew how – with a loud and appreciative round of their favorite chant -- Suhhhhhhhh!!!!!.
After the announcement, Suh walked off the field with a microphone following his every footstep and Lane Grindle asking the 2009 Outland Trophy winner several questions for the Husker Sports Network.
Suh stopped on the sideline for an impromptu press conference that attracted a dozen more cameras and microphones. After that, Suh needed to catch a ride with Rozier to Lincoln Municipal Airport, so he could fly to New York and resume his preparations for Thursday night’s nationally televised NFL Draft on ESPN.
Suh was about to gallop to the exit before hearing a plea, changing his mind and walking a few steps back to grant one last wish - Nebraska's cheerleaders wanted him to pose for a quick photo with them on this historic day for all who love Nebraska.
Interestingly, the Spirit Squad never has had to lead any Suh chant, even though it continues to rise in popularity, reaching its peak, perhaps, in that Suhperman-like effort in the Big 12 Championship Game in Arlington, Tex.
“That cheer started in the stands, and I have a feeling we haven’t heard the last of it,” said Marlon Lozano, manager of the Nebraska Spirit Squad.
Lucky Memorial Stadium doesn’t have a roof because the next time Suh is introduced here, during a game, not a scrimmage, it will be raised.