Tom Osborne Speaks About Character

Nebraska and football just go together and to just about every Nebraskan Tom Osborne is a football legend. . Former Nebraska football coach, member of Congress, and currently University of Nebraska Athletic Director spoke at the small school of Elmwood-Murdock just before the University of Nebraska joined the Big 10 and here is what he had to say.

Tom Osborne talks about character

Tom Osborne talks about character

This was just  over a week before the Nebraska Huskers kick off their season, Tom Osborne would take time out of his busy schedule to speak to Elmwood-Murdock Booster Club event. This says volumes about his character.

Elmwood-Murdock High School not a Class A school, we don’t have a huge population base, but Doctor Tom explained it this way.  “We scheduled this function quite a while ago, and although Rose Bowl committee was in town today and wanted me to attend a function tonight. I told them I had somewhere more important to attend.”

Former Nebraska Husker coach talks about character

“Character is a choice”

Tom Osborne is a very soft-spoken man, even with a mic it was difficult to hear him and you could have heard a pin drop in  the auditorium as everyone was as quiet as they could be so they could hear him speak.

Many people speak about character, and Tom emphasized that “Character is not inherited, or a trait, it is a choice.” A choice the “defines  how you act when there are no sanctions” (an appropriate  football reference) “It’s how you act when no one is looking, when you know you won’t get caught. Will you follow the rules when the coach isn’t looking? Return that wallet when you could keep the $50 inside.”

Tom referenced another famous Nebraska native,  Warren Buffet who once said that “Character was an aspect he looked for in an employee, along with Intelligence and Energy.” Intelligence and  energy were wonderful, but without character a lot of harm could be created. A positive character was a trait Tom looked for in players.  “Character will define how you react in adversity” Will you blame, divide or see adversity as an “opportunity to learn and grow.”

Tom and Nancy Osborne receive a check for TeamMates

Tom and Nancy Osborne receive a check for TeamMates

Very few times will you hear a public figure speak about spirituality. Tom Osborne does not shy away from this topic. He considers “spiritual dimension to be very important to character. Even if someone is not religious, spirituality is important. Every morning the football players had an opportunity to participate in morning devotionals and prayer before every game. The players were willing to sacrifice themselves for the team. ”

I couldn’t help but think of Notre Dame and the troubles in Happy Valley when former Coach Osborne spoke of honesty being part of character that he cherishes and looks for in a player. “It’s telling the truth, even when it won’t make you look good. A good reputation takes 30 years to build, but only five minutes to wreck”

This man has lived and built his character and reputation through not only how he has coached the Nebraska Huskers, but also through community service.  He created the TeamMates mentoring program in 1991, volunteers for many community events, and has made many unpopular decisions in support of his players.

More About Tom Osborne

Simmons says Osborne letter was life-changer

“Coach (Tom) Osborne gave me the play to take in and to this day, I use it for motivation,” said Simmons, a motivational speaker himself, who knows how to turn it around. As a matter of fact, Simmons credits Osborne for helping him turn his life around
Day 1: Fast-paced and guided by GPS

Popular guy: Husker video coordinator Mike Nobler did his best Tom Osborne impersonation during Monday’s practice, wearing a practice wardrobe straight out of the mid-80s. @HuskerExtraBC believe the term is business casual. Very casual. pic.twitter.com
The LIST- Tom Osborne | Sport Leadership

This week, legendary Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne discusses the influences on his Hall of Fame career, what traits he believes are most critical to effective leadership and his advice to the next generation of leaders.

5 thoughts on “Tom Osborne Speaks About Character

  1. My dad has been a Husker fan for years–but it has not been the same since Tom Osborne’s departure. We miss him greatly because his stamp on the team made it more than a championship team–he made them something to admire. I followed the team closely in those years and just loved them. Still do, but it’s different now. He was our coach.

  2. Awesome! He is a TRUE man of character and integrity! You will NEVER find dirt about this man. Having him involved with the Nebraska football team again has brought back the true meaning of Nebraska football. I hope everyone who attended walked away wanting to be JUST LIKE HIM!
    p.s. I wish I could have been there!

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