Tom Osborne Biography

Tom Osborne is a former American football player, coach and a politician from Nebraska. This biography offers detailed information on his childhood, life, football career, achievements and timeline.

Quick Facts

Birthday: February 23, 1937

Nationality: American

Famous: Coaches American Football Players

Age: 83 Years, 83 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Pisces

Also Known As: Dr. Thomas William Osborne

Born in: Hastings

Famous as: Former American Football Player, Coach

political ideology: Republican Party


Spouse/Ex-: Nancy Tederman

children: Ann Wilke, Mike Osborne, Suzie Dobbs

U.S. State: Nebraska

More Facts

education: Hastings College, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

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Dr. Thomas William ‘Tom’ Osborne is a former Head Coach of the University of Nebraska football team and is considered to be the most proficient coach in the history of American college football. He was the Head Coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team for 25 years and succeeded Bob Devaney, who convinced him to become a volunteer graduate assistant on his staff in the beginning. After that, he made him offensive coordinator for a few seasons before he was announced as the Head Coach. Nebraska’s 25th Head Coach for 25 years, the longest tenure in school history is considered to be the most prominent achievement of his football career. Under his bearing, the program achieved success. The Cornhuskers made a 255-49-3 record under Osborne’s guidance, won a percentage of .836. His accomplishments were so highly respected that the National Football Foundation gave up its three-year waiting period so that he could be inducted into its Hall of Fame in December of 1998. After coaching, Osborne was elected to Congress in 2000 and served six years in the U.S. House as a Republican from Nebraska's 3rd district.

Childhood & Early Years
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  • Osborne joined the Cornhusker coaching staff and took up a job as an unpaid offensive assistant to Head Coach Bob Devaney in 1965. After having two consecutive disappointing seasons, he was made the offensive coordinator for the next season.
  • After being made the in-charge of the offense, Huskers won two national titles as Osborne deliberated on three areas of importance – a strong academic program, a strength and conditioning program and a more formalized program to attract walk-on players.
  • Devaney, at the age of 57, announced that he would retire from his position as the Head Coach and concentrate on his role as the athletic director after 1972 season. He named Osborne as the next Head Coach.
  • After the magnificent win over Notre Dame in the 1973 Orange Bowl, Osborne became the Head Coach of the team and remained in that position for the next 25 seasons.
  • Osborne and his wife, Nancy, founded The TeamMates program in 1991, which provides support and encouragement to school-aged youth with the goal that children graduate from high school and pursue a post-secondary education.
  • After retiring from football in 1997 Osborne worked in the political arena, as he served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from Nebraska’s 3rd congressional district (from 2000 to 2006).
  • He made a gubernatorial bid in 2006 before turning to academia. In the fall of the following year, he served as a senior lecturer at Nebraska in the College of Business Administration, teaching leadership and business ethics.
  • In 2007, he was made the interim athletic director of Nebraska and in the same year he fired the head coach Callahan and appointed himself as the interim head coach. He was paid $250,000/year and managed Nebraska's 23-sport program.
Major Works
  • Nebraska’s 25th Head Coach for 25 years, the longest tenure in school history, is considered to be the most prominent work of his career. Under his bearing, the program achieved success that exceeded any such program in its rich history.
  • The Cornhuskers made a 255-49-3 record under Osborne’s guidance, won a percentage of .836. The victories (255) are the sixth-most all-time among major college football coaches while the winning percentage ranks fifth all-time.
Awards & Achievements
  • For his exceptional services, Osborne was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (1999), received the Jim Thorpe Lifetime Achievement Award (2000) and ESPN honored him as the coach of the decade for the 90s (1999).
Personal Life & Legacy
  • Osborne and his wife, Nancy, have three children together: Mike, Ann and Suzanne and four grandchildren.
  • Nebraska renamed the playing surface at Memorial Stadium ‘Tom Osborne Field’ in Osborne's honor in 1999. It is said that the gesture embarrassed Osborne.
  • Osborne teamed up with Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers, usually his political adversary, to oppose efforts to expand gambling in Nebraska.
  • Osborne ran for Governor of Nebraska, challenging Governor Dave Heineman and Omaha businessman Dave Nabity in the Republican primary in 2006.
  • Osborne achieved an M.A. in educational psychology from Nebraska (1963) and a doctorate in educational psychology (1965). He also served in the Nebraska Army National Guard (1960–66).
  • As an unpaid offensive assistant to head coach Devaney in 1964, his only compensation was being able to dine at the athletic training table.

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