Bo Pelini's Football 101 Raises Over $40,000 for Cancer Research
Lincoln, Neb.-Excitement filled the air as nearly 900 Nebraska football fans gathered at the Hawks Championships Center to catch a glimpse of the Bo Pelini era at Football 101 on Tuesday. Head Coach Pelini and his staff coached basic defensive, offensive and special teams skills to the women and men in attendance.
The charity event, sponsored by the Bo Pelini Foundation and the Southeast Nebraska Cancer Center, raised a preliminary amount of $40,000 to be dispersed between the the University of Nebraska Medical Center's Eppley Cancer Center and the Southeast Nebraska Cancer Center. Since the start of the Football 101 program, more than $250,000 has been raised for cancer research.
Fifty-four cancer survivors took part in the day's activities before being recognized at the closing ceremonies. Coaches and participants clapped to "There is No Place Like Nebraska," while Bo Pelini and his wife, Mary Pat, honored each survivor with special "Wrapped in Faith" gifts hand-made by Katie Walter.
Women and men attending the first-annual Bo Pelini Foundation Football 101 began the day with a warm welcome from Bo Pelini, followed by welcomes from Southeast Nebraska Cancer Center's Dr. Nate Green and Eppley Cancer Center's Dr. Ken Cowan. Athletic Director Tom Osborne also stopped in for a special presentation before defensive coordinator Carl Pelini and offensive coordinator Shawn Watson taught participants the ins and outs of Nebraska's offensive and defensive units.
Husker football players Joe Ganz, D.J. Jones, Latravis Washington, Jacob Hickman, Jake Wesch, Todd Peterson and Blake Lawrence, took a time-out with the participants for a question and answer session. Interactive games kept the crowd entertained before lunch was served at the North Stadium concourse.
"I thought the start of the day was perfectly wonderful," veteran Football 101 participant Dot Hof said. "It seemed everyone was welcoming home a son. I liked when the coaches had interviews with the public and the players were a lot of fun. I also liked the fact that so many men came. It was surprising and give me hope that even more people will show up next year. It was a fun, great time."
Following lunch, the participants separated into beginner, intermediate and advanced class sessions before rotating between three activities. Tight ends coach Ron Brown and defensive ends coach John Papuchis conducted the first session with a little help from Bo Pelini. Brown inspired the students with a speech about integrity and Husker student-athletes. Papuchis taught defensive plays with video and visuals before Bo Pelini answered questions from the audience.
During the second session, fans got the opportunity to tour the Osborne Athletic Complex. The tour led through the front doors of the complex, past the weight room and into the athletic medicine facility. Participants were also taken through the Nebraska football locker room before touring the football offices.
The third session gave participants an opportunity to learn even more about the techniques used by the Nebraska offensive, defensive and special teams units. Assistant coaches, graduate assistants and interns each presented the students with interactive learning.
At the conclusion of the day, the participants were given the rare opportunity to be led onto the field through an authentic tunnel walk. Cancer survivors were honored before the camp wrapped up with highlights of the day on the HuskerVision screens.