Hall of Fame - Inductee Detail

Tom Osborne

Tom Osborne


  • Position: Coach
  • School: Nebraska
  • Years: 1973-1997
  • Inducted: 1998
  • Place of Birth: Hastings, NE
  • Date of Birth: Feb 23, 1937

Member Biography

Tom Osborne grew up in Hastings, Nebraska. He was all-state in football and basketball, won the state discus throw in track, and was named the state's High School Athlete of the Year in 1955. He attended Hastings College, where his grandfather, class of 1901, and father, class of 1930, had graduated. He was in the class of 1959, quarterbacked the football team and was named the state's College Athlete of the Year. Osborne played three years of pro football as a flanker for Washington and San Francisco. He joined Bob Devaney's staff at Nebraska in 1962 and for 11 years was graduate assistant, receiver's coach, then offensive coordinator. In that time he obtained a master's and a doctorate in educational psychology. He became head coach in 1973, retired after the 1997 season, and set these marks: 25-year record, 255-49-3, percentage .836 -- highest percentage of any active coach in division 1-A. 25 bowl games. 13 conference championships. 3 national championships. (1994, 1995, 1997) Record 60-3 last 5 years. Coach of the Year, 1994. Coached 46 Academic All-Americans, a record. Had graduation rate of 84 percent among his players. 3-0 record in Kickoff Classic. There were big wins in a 13-0 season in 1997 -- 69-7 over Oklahoma for Osborne's 250th career victory; 54-15 over Texas A&M for the Big 12 playoff; 42-17 over Tennessee in the Orange Bowl. And there was a close 45-38 overtime win over Missouri. Osborne served his community. He taught Sunday school at a Methodist Church, he made speeches for the American Heart Association and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The National Football Foundation gave him its Distinguished American Award in 1995. The governor of Nebraska designated January 1998 as "Tom Osborne Month" in the state. Tom and his wife Nancy formed the Osborne Foundation to assist youth education. The northwest pillar of Nebraska's Memorial Stadium carries this inscription: "Courage, generosity, fairness, honor -- in these are the true rewards of manly sport." Osborne echoed this in his book, "More than Winning." He wrote: "Success, as far as I'm concerned, cannot be measured in terms of wins. It's more than winning. To make an effort to win in a manner that reflects well on the university. That has a positive effect on young people." Osborne was born Feb. 23, 1937. He was 60 when he retired.