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Former Huskers surprise Tom Osborne with career achievement award

Published: Mar. 10, 2021 at 5:27 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - A legendary figure in Nebraska, former Husker Football Coach Tom Osborne received quite a surprise Wednesday.

Former Huskers gathered to honor Coach Osborne’s life achievements and his work with the Teammates Mentoring Program.

Osborne thought he was showing up to do a radio interview and sign some children’s books, but when he walked into the Best of Big Red clothing store Wednesday morning, that plan went out the window.

Several former Nebraska football players came together to give him a career achievement plaque. Former player Josh Davis organized the event.

“Obviously he was a great coach, but more than anything he taught us about how to be great men, taught us about integrity, character, family,” said Tony Veland who played for the Huskers from 1991-1995.

“I was an inner-city kid from St. Louis. I grew up in a house with 26 people. He practically saved my life,” said ’90-92 Husker Kenny Wilhite.

“It’s very gratifying and surprising because nobody told me something like this would happen,” Osborne said.

Memories of the legendary coach ranged from on the field to off. And one former player’s fondest memory of Osborne was after he and his wife just had a child.

“Coach Osborne and his wife, Nancy, took the time to come up to our hospital room and welcome our new son into the world, and I thought, that’s a special man,” said Steve Glenn, a ’74-78 Husker.

For Osborne, these lifelong bonds mean more than any game he coached.

“The good thing about coaching for me was not the wins, losses or trophies; It’s the relationship, and those tend to go on. There’s hardly any week that goes by that I don’t hear from three or four players,” Osborne said.

Osborne says in his free time he’s been keeping busy with the Teammates Mentoring Program, especially now during the pandemic when mentoring and community is needed more than ever.

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