Published Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 11:12 am / Updated at 1:24 am
Timeline: Tom Osborne through the years

From his early days in Hastings, to coaching in Lincoln, heading to Washington, D.C., and his return to NU, The World-Herald looks back at life of the coach, politician and athletic director.

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1937: Born in Hastings, Neb., to Charles and Erma Osborne.

1955: Named World-Herald athlete of the year after starring in three sports at Hastings High School.

1959: Drafted by the San Francisco 49ers from Hastings College, which he chose after turning down a scholarship from Nebraska.

1962: Joins the staff of new Nebraska football coach Bob Devaney as a graduate assistant.

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1966: Becomes a full-time assistant coach, working with the receivers. He retools the Huskers' run-based offense in 1969, and the new attack — taking advantage of wingback Johnny Rodgers' explosive talents — helps Nebraska to national titles in 1970 and 1971.

1973: Becomes head coach and finishes 9-2-1, the first of 25 straight seasons with at least nine victories.

1978: Finally beats Oklahoma in his sixth try, 17-14, at a rocking Memorial Stadium. The Huskers lose to Missouri the following week, however, and the disappointed Osborne explores the job at Colorado. He decides to stay in Lincoln.

1983: Assembles his greatest team to that point, featuring the "Scoring Explosion" of Turner Gill, Mike Rozier and Irving Fryar. The No. 1 Huskers lose to Miami 31-30 in the Orange Bowl when Osborne's call for a two-point conversion fails.

1991: Founds TeamMates Mentoring Program with his wife, Nancy.

1994: Leads Nebraska to an undefeated regular season and on to the Orange Bowl to face nemesis Miami. The Huskers win 24-17 to claim Osborne's first national championship.

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1995: Leads another undefeated season marred by the arrest of star back Lawrence Phillips and the media scrutiny that follows. NU pummels Steve Spurrier's Florida team 62-24 in the Fiesta Bowl to claim Osborne's second national title.

1997: Announces retirement from coaching in December following another undefeated regular season. His inspired team blasts Tennessee in the Orange Bowl and gains a split of the national championship with undefeated Michigan.

2000: Wins election to the U.S. House from Nebraska's 3rd District and serves three terms. He loses a bid for governor in 2006, ending his career in politics.

2007: Becomes Nebraska's interim athletic director after the firing of Steve Pederson. Chancellor Harvey Perlman removes "interim" from his title two months later.

2010: Navigates the university, along with Perlman, into the Big Ten Conference to provide stability for the school's athletic program.

2012: Announces plan to retire Jan. 1, 2013.

Correction: A previous version of this timeline incorrectly stated the team that drafted Osborne and the year he was drafted.



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