Tom Osborne doesn’t mind the talk that Nebraska needs to improve the Tom and Nancy Osborne Athletic Complex, the football team’s home since 2006.
“I think they’re going to get my name off the building,” he said to laughs from the sellout crowd at Thursday's Big Red Today Breakfast. “They’re going to be looking for a $15 million to $20 million donation to get a name on there. I’m just tight enough that probably ain’t gonna happen.”
With Big Ten teams receiving $50 million a year from the conference, opponents with smaller fan bases than Nebraska’s — places “that would traditionally not have facilities that would knock your eyeballs out,” as Osborne put it — have put up expensive new headquarters.
“Of course, a lot of that is on credit,” he said. “It’s a little dicey. We’ve been fortunate not to have to borrow a lot of money."
Shrinking grace period
Osborne, lamenting the shrinking “grace period” for coaches, noted the loyalty Iowa administrators showed Kirk Ferentz, who in a 10-year stretch between 2005-14 had three six-loss teams, a seven-loss team and an eight-loss team.
His Hawkeyes have beaten the Huskers four straight seasons.
“The patience level here at Nebraska is probably a little bit shorter — after 20-some years where we haven’t won anything maybe terribly significant,” he said. “For some reason the memory of how it used to be seems to be fairly pervasive.”
Memories of Boulder
Nebraska plays at Colorado on Sept. 7, its first visit to Boulder since 2009.
Osborne recalled his first trip with the Huskers in 1962, when the line was anchored by Bob Brown, a future College and Pro Football Hall of Famer.
Brown had read about the elevation of Folsom Field, which is 5,360 feet above sea level. So he decided to test the effects at a Friday practice.
“Bob went down to one goal line and he sprinted the full length of the field,” Osborne said. “Then he just threw himself on the ground and was gasping for air. He was telling everybody the altitude got him.
"But the thing about Bob was that he never ran 100 yards in Lincoln, Nebraska. It would have been the same thing in Lincoln. So we had to get that out of their heads real quick.”