Tom Osborne to step down in Nebraska
by Erick Smith, USA TODAY Sports
Nebraska athletics director Tom Osborne announced plans to retire Wednesday.
Osborne will step down on Jan. 1 and will stay around the program for about six months to help with the transition and support recruiting for multiple programs.
He has served in the position for the past five years after succeeding Steve Pederson on an interim basis and then taking the full-time job.
“It has been a pleasure and an honor to work in the Athletic Department for the past five years,” Osborne said. “I hope that there have been some good things that have been accomplished during that time. I appreciate Chancellor (Harvey) Perlman giving me this opportunity. I’ve had the privilege of working with some outstanding people in the athletic department and have confidence that the trajectory of the athletic department is very good.”
Osborne, 75, said his age drove the decision to leave his job.
“I don’t want to be one of those guys that everybody is walking around wringing their hands and trying to figure out ‘What are we going to do with him?’” Osborne said.
Osborne leaves a lasting legacy at Nebraska.
A member of the college football’s Hall of Fame, he compiled a 255-49-3 record as the school’s football coach from 1973-1997 and won three national championships.
Following his retirement, he turned to poltics. Osborne served in the U.S. House of Representatives for six years and then ran an unsuccessful campaign for Nebraska governor in 2006.
Osborne returned to Nebraska the following year with the school’s athletics department in difficult circumstances.
He soon fired football coach Bill Callahan and hired Bo Pelini.
Three years later, Osborne helped lead Nebraska’s decision to leave the Big 12 in 2010 and join the Big Ten.
Nebraska is now in its second season in its new conference.
“It’s been a privilege to work with Tom,” Perlman said. “The move into the Big Ten could not have happened without Tom’s support.”
Perlman said the search to find Osborne’s replacement has already begun and he has interviewed candidates.
He said he hopes to have a hire “reasonably soon.”