Hall of Fame - Inductee Detail

Bob Devaney

Bob Devaney


  • Position: Coach
  • School: Wyoming, Nebraska
  • Years: 1957-1972
  • Inducted: 1981
  • Place of Birth: Saginaw, MI
  • Date of Birth: Apr 13, 1915
  • Place of Death: Lincoln, NE
  • Date of Death: May 08, 1997

Member Biography

Bob Devaney arrived at Nebraska in 1962 at a crucial time. The school had seen only 3 winning seasons in 21 years. Devaney coached 11 years. He produced 11 winning seasons, 9 bowl games, 8 conference championships, 2 national championships (1970, 1971), a 32-game unbeaten streak, and a 101-20-2 record. His first team in 1962 went 9-2 and won the Gotham Bowl over Miami of Florida 36-34. His last 3 teams (1970-72) were in three Orange Bowls, beating Louisiana State 17-12, Alabama 38-6, and Notre Dame 40-6. His 1971 team was sometimes called the greatest in college history. The Cornhuskers went 13-0 and scored 511 points. Their 35-31 victory over Oklahoma was named the Game of the Century. Nebraska increased its stadium capacity from 34,000 to 72,700 and filled it for every home game. An indoor arena was built and named Bob Devaney Center. He served as director of athletics 1967-93. Nebraska, which had been last in all-sport rankings in the Big Eight, moved to first and had one of the nation's most successful programs. Devaney put heavy emphasis on the women's teams. Robert S. Devaney was born April 13, 1915, in Saginaw, Michigan. He finished high school and worked 3 years in a factory, then entered Alma College. He played end on the football team. Devaney coached 14 years in 4 Michigan high schools with a record of 85-21-3. He was an assistant coach from 1953-56 at Michigan State. Then came 5 years (1957-61) as head coach at Wyoming with a record of 35-10-5. He retired after the 1972 season. His career record was 136-30-7. His winning percentage was .806, No. 1 among active coaches in 1972. Devaney died May 8, 1997. The Nebraska State Legislature passed a resolution honoring his "contribution to the University and the state." A tribute to Devaney was read at the U. S. House of Representatives in Washington. His most famous quote came after a 1970 game. His team trailed Kansas 20-10 and came back to win 41-20. He told his players, "You learned you can come back. Remember that. That is the lesson of life."