Legendary Hall of Fame Husker football coach and former congressman Tom Osborne was celebrated by a group of his former players Wednesday for his life achievements, especially his work with the Teammates mentoring program.
Osborne thought he was showing up to do a radio interview and sign some children’s books at the Best of Big Red store in Lincoln, but instead was greeted by several ex-Huskers who presented him with a plaque.
Tony Veland, part of 2 Nebraska national championships and Super Bowl winner with the Denver Broncos, said while Osborne was a great coach “more than anything he taught us about how to be great men, taught us about integrity, character, family.”
Osborne called the event “very gratifying and surprising because nobody told me something like this would happen,” adding that the relationships he had – and still has – with his players meant more to him than the wins and trophies.
Osborne began Teammates in 1991 with his wife Nancy as a way to get his players more involved in the community through a school-based mentoring program at-risk youngsters.
Teammates now has chapters in 170 school districts in Nebraska, Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, and Kansas.
Osborne says he’s been keeping busy with Teammates, especially during the pandemic when mentoring and community has been needed more than ever.