Nebraska AD Tom Osborne to retire

by Andrew Krammer

Nebraska athletics director Tom Osborne will retire Jan. 1, the Associated Press reported Wednesday. He'll stay on for "several months as needed" to assist the transition.

Despite serving in Congress before his term as Nebraska’s AD for the past five years, the 75-year-old Osborne is better known for leading one of the most successful coaching runs in college football history. His Cornhuskers teams never lost more than three games in his 25 years as a coach.

“At some point, whether you’re able to function or not, the perception that you’re getting old can get in the way,” Osborne said. “I don’t want to be one of those guys everybody is walking around wringing their hands about, what are they going to do with him. That happens sometimes.”

As athletics director, Osborne oversaw the school’s move from the Big 12 to the Big Ten and the construction of a new basketball practice facility.

At the helm of the Cornhuskers from 1973 to 1997, Osborne’s teams captured national titles in 1994, 1995 and 1997. He became the first college coach to retire as reigning national champion and was named into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1998.

Following his departure from coaching in 1997, Osborne served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from Nebraska’s 3rd congressional district from 2000 to 2006.

The Hastings, Neb. native returned to take over the athletics department after serving as senior lecturer at Nebraska in the College of Business Administration in the fall of 2007.

This time as athletics director, Osborne turned around a struggling Cornhuskers football program by firing Bill Callahan after the 2007 season and hiring Bo Pelini, who led Nebraska to the Big 12 championship game in 2009 and 2010.

The 13 conference titles Osborne achieved as a coach only compliment his .836 winning percentage, which is ranked fifth all-time among Division-I coaches. His 255 wins are tied for 17th among all college football coaches.