Thomas William Osborne – born February 23, 1937


Tom Osborne – former Cornhuskers football coach, U.S. Representative, and UNL Athletics Administrator, and one of the most admired men in Nebraska – was born in Hastings. Considered a star athlete at Hastings High School, he excelled in basketball and football and earned the Omaha World Herald’s “Athlete of the Year” title.

Here are some other facts you may or may not know about Osborne:

  • Like his father and grandfather before him, he attended Hastings College, earning a B.A. in history in 1959.
  • Osborne achieved an M.A. in educational psychology from Nebraska (1963) and a doctorate in educational psychology (1965). He also served in the Nebraska Army National Guard from 1960 to 1966.
  • His tenure as head football coach at the University of Nebraska, from 1973 to 1997, is the longest in school history. Under his guidance, the Cornhuskers had a 255-49-3 record – the sixth-most all-time among major college football coaches with a winning percentage ranking fifth all-time.
  • Osborne was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (1999) and received the Jim Thorpe Lifetime Achievement Award (2000). ESPN honored him as the coach of the decade for the 90s (1999).
  • He and Nancy will celebrate their 55th anniversary this year. In 1991, they founded the TeamMates program to encourage school-aged youth to graduate from high school and pursue a post-secondary education.
  • In 1999, the playing surface at Memorial Stadium was renamed Tom Osborne Field, but Osborne asked that his name be removed from the field because he didn’t think it was fair to his successor, Frank Solich. His name was replaced in 2013 when the university installed its new FieldTurf.  

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