Nebraska Leaders and Coaches Share Well Wishes for Tom Osborne

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Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne announced Wednesday he'll retire on January 1, 2013. Nebraska leaders released statements to share their well wishes.

Nebraska Head Football Coach Bo Pelini's statement below

“It has been a great privilege to work under Coach Osborne. Obviously, he trusted me to lead the football program here at Nebraska and he has been a valuable resource for me and our entire coaching staff the past five years. His leadership and vision has pushed our football program and our entire athletic department forward in many areas. To me personally, he has been a great leader, mentor and friend.

“With everything he has done for this athletic department, University and the state of Nebraska, you don’t replace a man like Tom Osborne. But, I have complete confidence in Chancellor Perlman and the leadership of the University that they will find the right individual to lead this athletic department going forward.”

Sen. Ben Nelson's statement below

"Tom Osborne and I have been friends since we were students at the University of Nebraska and lived in the same duplex in Lincoln. In all those years and in every endeavor he has always conducted himself with honor, integrity, passion and compassion.

When he became head coach there were those who wondered if he could fill the big shoes of Bob Devaney. He not only filled the shoes but in the true Nebraska spirit took the team to even greater heights.

Nebraska is a far better place because of the good work done by this living legend from his historic national football championships, to his six years in Congress, to Athletic Director, to founding Team Mates, one of the country’s premier mentoring programs.

This humble, soft spoken man who has national respect, may be retiring as Athletic Director but he will forever be in our hearts as a role model inspiring generations of Nebraskans yet to come."

Congressman Adrian Smith's Statement below

“Coach Osborne is a legend not only because of his success as a football player and coach, but also because of his life-long dedication to our state and service to others. During his time in Congress, he was an outstanding representative for the Third District. Today, I join all Nebraskans in wishing Coach Osborne the best and thanking him for his leadership, class, and countless contributions to our state.”

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry's statement below

“I thank Tom for his many years of service to Nebraska, both as Congressman for Nebraska’s Third District and his successful tenure at the University of Nebraska. Whether on the football field or in the halls of Congress, Tom Osborne conducted himself with the quiet confidence of a principled, steady leader. He leaves a legacy of excellent public service. I wish him all the best as he retires on January 1, 2013. ”

Sen. Mike Johanns' statement below

“Tom is a good friend and a life-long public servant,” Johanns said. “From Husker arenas to the halls of Congress, he has made a profound and positive impact on countless student-athletes and all Nebraskans.

“I want to thank Tom for his service to our state and special focus on young people both on the field and through the Teammates program. I wish him the very best in his much-deserved retirement.”

Gov. Dave Heineman's statement below

“Tom Osborne is an outstanding athletic director, and he is the greatest collegiate football coach of all time. When he became the athletic director five years ago, Tom immediately restored trust, confidence and stability in University of Nebraska athletic programs. Tom’s record on and off the field is extraordinary. Nebraskans are very proud of Coach Tom Osborne, and we thank him for his years of service to the University and our state.”

Wisconsin A.D. Barry Alvarez's statement below

"Tom Osborne has been a steady and stabilizing presence as athletic director at Nebraska since he moved into the position five years ago. Everyone knows about Tom’s football coaching legacy, but he has really helped guide Nebraska through some significant challenges in recent years and he was, obviously, a key figure in the school’s transition to the Big Ten. His departure is a loss for college athletics and the Big Ten, but I wish Tom well in his retirement. He’s earned it."

Nebraska Volleyball Coach John Cook's statement below

“Coach Osborne called me yesterday morning and said he needed to meet with me and my first thought was what did I do wrong, what trouble am I in? He told me he was retiring and why he was. I wanted to be reassured of a few things that he was ok. I think the best thing about Coach Osborne is as an athletic director he treats you like a coach, talks to you like a coach, he makes you feel like a coach, he relates to you like a coach and that is what great Athletic Directors do. I am really going to miss him and I just feel privileged, I really want to win him a national championship. It’s been a privilege to have him as Athletic Director, the support that he has given, the vision he has for the Devaney Center and volleyball. It was a very somber day for me yesterday and I know some of our girls were crying today.”

Nebraska's Running Back's Coach Ron Brown's statement below

"I'm sad to see Coach Osborne retire, but I'm sure he's thought about it a lot and prayed about it a lot and is operating under what he thinks is the best interests of the athletic department, his family and what the Lord has called for his life. He's been an amazing guy. He's one of those guys who has maximized as much as he could with what he was given. He's covered a lot of bases and a lot of ground...

"It caught me off guard a little bit. I kind of knew at some point it was going to happen, because he's not the type of guy who wants to overstay his welcome. If anything, he kind of left the coaching ranks early when he was 60 years old. I knew at some point he'd want to retire, but I didn't expect it to be today."

Johnny Rodger' s statement below

"It caught me by surprise. I've wondered how long Tom was going to hang in there. He has done so much for the university and the state, and it's a lot to ask for him to keep going now that he's in his 70s. He needs quality time for himself. He's been a great example and mentor not just for university but the state, United States and college football. He's had such a great run that we're just proud we know him and have been able to experience some of his leadership qualities."

Former Nebraska Head Coach Bill Callahan's statement below

"I'm happy for him. The old coach did retire. He's paid his dues. ... He's got such a great love for Nebraska that I thought he was going to probably be there forever. I know his family means a lot to him, and he's very diligent about spending time with his grandchildren and his own son and daughters. ... I think he's a smart man, one of the greatest football, college football, coaches in the history of the game. I've got nothing but great respect for him and wish him well."