South Alabama vs. Nebraska, 9.12.15

Former Nebraska head coach and athletic director Tom Osborne on the field before the South Alabama game in September 2015 at Memorial Stadium.

If you're looking for Tom Osborne this season at Memorial Stadium, you won't find him in the spot he occupied for Husker games since 2007.

Osborne told the Journal Star he's given up his skybox in North Stadium.

"I've enjoyed using that box for several years," the former Nebraska head coach said Thursday. "But I really felt the athletic department needed to benefit from that box. It's worth a fair amount of money. It will now revert to the athletic department."

The 80-year-old Osborne, retired and living in Lincoln, has been a regular at home games in the box since taking over as Nebraska's athletic director in October 2007. Osborne has continued to occupy that box since stepping down as AD in 2012.

The playing field at Memorial Stadium is called Tom Osborne Field, for obvious reasons. After all, he finished his coaching career by sharing the 1997 national championship with Michigan, capping his record at 255-49-3, an .836 winning percentage. The Huskers' back-to-back national titles in 1994 and 1995 made Osborne the first head coach to accomplish that feat since Bear Bryant in 1978-79.

"I'll still go to games and I'll certainly watch every game," Osborne said right before a midafternoon workout. "I'm very supportive of (Nebraska head coach) Mike Riley, the team and athletic department. But after a couple years of enjoying that box, and not making any real contribution to the athletic department, I just feel this is the way it should be handled."

He said there likely will be a one-year transition period before the Nebraska athletic department makes the skybox available for purchase.

You have free articles remaining.

Become a Member

"I'm not going to be there (in the skybox this season)," he said. "But they've told me if I had anybody I wanted to have sit there — former players, boosters, whatever — they'd try to do that. I just feel it's important that the box be used for athletic department uses and not some old guy who used to coach but doesn't anymore.

"It's kind of a personal feeling. Even though I have tried to use it for university purposes on occasion, and it's certainly been a nice thing for my family, I don't think it should go on in perpetuity."

He told the university of his decision a few months ago.

"I certainly have strong feelings for the athletic department and university, and Shawn (Eichorst) has been very nice," Osborne said of the current Nebraska athletic director, who has had a box of his own elsewhere in the stadium since succeeding Osborne.

Osborne doesn't have an immediate plan for where he might sit for games.

However, "I think I can get a ticket," he said with a chuckle.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.


Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

Load comments