Here are a couple historic tidbits from Nebraska’s third annual Heroes Game against Iowa: 1) Last Friday’s nationally televised game marked the Huskers’ 333rd consecutive home football sellout; and 2) When Big Red Fan No. 10,200 passed through a Memorial Stadium gate, the Huskers reached another major milestone – 25 million fans contributing to an ongoing NCAA sellout streak that keeps moving down the tracks game after game, year after year, decade after decade. This was Season 51 of celebrated fun, and Nebraska’s Director of Athletics last week honored four event staffers who have worked for Nebraska Athletics for more than half a century. In his Connecting on Campus column on Huskers.com, Shawn Eichorst recognized Barry Moore, in his 54th season on the events staff, plus Joe Hamersky (51 years of service) and two workers who reached the 50-year mark on the Events staff – Bill Bryant and Richard Stansbury.
Moore, 80, has been a timer for Nebraska basketball and football games for decades. He’s also worked on the sideline crew for Husker football games and always strives to represent Nebraska in the way the university expects – with dignity, honor and sportsmanship. “I tried to give every athlete and every team a fair opportunity to compete at the highest level of their ability,” said Moore, who also happens to be one of Nebraska’s most knowledgeable and most entertaining tour guides. Did we mention that Moore is also one of Nebraska’s best ushers, too? He goes out of his way to make the experience enjoyable for everyone, but only if it doesn’t deter others from enjoying the experience.
Barry Had Timing Down to an Art and a Science
A respected teacher, leader and role model at Lincoln Northeast High School, Barry Moore couldn’t ask for more in what he’s been able to see, do and show at his neighborhood Big Ten University – an institution he also served when it belonged to the Big 12 and the Big Eight. Check the photo at the top of this column. Barry’s the man in the middle. He’s the timer and addressing an issue with Joe Cipriano, Nebraska’s late head basketball coach who knew before he walked to the scorer’s bench who was going to prevail in a debate that never started.
If you’re like me and want to know the most memorable moment Moore ever experienced inside Memorial Stadium, I’ll ask the question for you. “Alex Henery’s (record 57-yard) field goal in the last couple minutes of the (2008) Colorado game,” Moore said. “I was in the coaches’ booth in the press box at the time. That made the kick even more memorable.”
He Even Helped Parents Find Lost Little Boys
What’s the most positive example you’ve experienced with a Big Red fan? “Helping a young couple find their lost little boy at a Nebraska basketball game several years ago,” answered Moore, who loves “the people” more than anything else. “The fans are knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and, in general, courteous. We are famous for that nationwide.”
Moore remembers a telephone call he received three years ago from the Daily Oklahoman newspaper in Oklahoma City. A reporter wanted to know why Moore thought Husker football fans were such good sports. Before answering the question, set the record straight. “It’s not just football,” he said. “In the old Coliseum, our volleyball crowds sang the National Anthem louder than the band played it, and we always applauded good plays, even when our opponents were the ones making them.
“We have not carried this at a high level over to the Devaney Center yet, but it will come,” Moore said before adding a footnote to his own observation: “Our Devaney crowds have not forgotten about our own players. That standing ovation for Kelsey Robinson the other night was awesome, and the same holds true for our fans in other sports.”
Moore: Look What Football Did for TeamJack
Nebraska student-athletes overall “are great,” Moore said. “They always seem to have time for you, and they often say hello to our elementary students who take tours in our stadium.” Moore believes football players see the world beyond themselves. “Look at what they did for Team Jack,” he said, wondering who else goes to lengths like that.
Ask Moore about his favorite coach over the last half century and you get an immediate answer – “Tom Osborne, of course!” Insisting he “can’t add anything that hasn’t already been said about the man,” Moore tries nevertheless. “He’s just so poised, but so friendly. His wry wit is so neat. He has it all, including a great faith life that we would do well to emulate.”
We finally get down to the nitty-gritty and ask Moore who’s his favorite Nebraska student-athlete of all time and why. “Wow,” he answers. “Six hundred-plus student-athletes and 54 years … Wow!” Admitting he knows few student-athletes personally, Moore manages to have a pretty good idea of which ones are great young people.
His Two Favorites: Rex Burkhead and Kenny Bell
“I’m going to cheat and name two – Rex Burkhead and Kenny Bell,” he said. In terms of his own experience guiding tours, “I’ve never seen an athlete draw as much attention and admiration as Rex does from the people I’m leading on tours … he was such a great player, but carried himself so gracefully and always had a smile for those around him. His work for Jack (Hoffman) took a lot of his time and emotion, but he handled it well.”
Kenny Bell? “Kenny’s just a delightful person,” Moore said. “His recent segment on BTN was great. He seems to have a neat sense of humor and handles interviews really well. Right now, he’s playing hurt, but he still puts on the helmet.”
And gives everything he has, just like Barry Moore has done for more than five consecutive decades. We’ve collected memories and thoughts from other Nebraska event staff veterans, so please stay tuned. Their insight helps define why we think the greatest fans in college football pass through our gates every game, every year.