Former Husker coach receives heart transplant | Surgery and recovery "as expected"

Published: Oct. 28, 2019 at 3:48 PM CDT
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A former Nebraska football assistant football coach who stepped away from coaching to be on the heart transplant list had a transplant surgery at the Nebraska Medical Center last week.

The family of Barney Cotton, who coached the Huskers from 2008-2014 and was an offensive coordinator in 2003, said the surgery and recovery up to this point have "gone as expected."

Cotton was also the interim head coach for Nebraska in 2014 after the firing of Bo Pelini.

Earlier this year, it was announced Cotton, 62, stepped away from his post as the UNLV offensive coordinator to come to Omaha and await a transplant.

Cotton helped lead the Huskers into the Holiday bowl after having spent his eighth overall season on the Nebraska staff as associate head coach, and helped the Huskers finish in the top 20 nationally in rushing in each of his last five years. Cotton served as interim head coach at Nebraska in 2014.

Cotton has nearly two decades of experience as a collegiate head coach or offensive coordinator.

Cotton's family released a statement on the medical procedure on Monday:

Within the past week the Lord has blessed us with the incredible gift of life through a heart transplant surgery at Nebraska Medical Center. The medical staff tells us the surgery and recovery up to this point have gone as expected. While we had intended to keep the news regarding this procedure private for several weeks out of respect for the organ donor process, we greatly appreciate the outpouring of support and prayers that we have received. In June we began this journey at Bryan Heart in Lincoln and are grateful for their diagnosis, compassionate care and referral to Nebraska Medicine. Without them we would not be in Omaha today. We believe that this would not have been been possible without God, your prayers and the incredible team at Nebraska Medical Center. We would like to thank everyone including the doctors, nurses, transplant coordinators, physical, occupational and respiratory therapists, housekeeping, nutritional and surgical staff. Most important, we would like to thank our donor and our donor’s family. We recognize that our family’s joy is another family’s sorrow. We urge you to pray for the donor’s family in their difficult time. Romans 5: 3-6 The Cotton Family