Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne is retiring as of January 1.
The 75-year-old Osborne says "the perception" that you're getting old "can get in the way." Osborne says he doesn't want to be a distraction.
"I don't want to be one of those guys where people are ringing their hands wondering what they are going to do with him," said Osborne. "That sometimes happens."
But Osborne is most widely known for his coaching. Every one of his 25 teams won at least nine games, and three of his last four teams won national championships. He retired with a career record of 255-49-3, an .836 winning percentage that ranked fifth all-time among Division I coaches, and 13 conference titles. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1998, the year after he retired.
Osborne turned to politics after his coaching days. By overwhelming margins, voters in the western Nebraska district elected him to the House of Representatives in 2000, 2002 and 2004. In perhaps the greatest upset in Nebraska political history, Osborne lost to incumbent Dave Heineman in the 2006 Republican gubernatorial primary.
After serving in Congress and losing a gubernatorial bid, he returned to the university in 2007 to take over the athletic department and oversee the rebuilding of the football program and shepherd the school's move from the Big 12 to the Big Ten.
"I'm probably healthier today than I was when I was a member of Congress. That takes a big toll on you. As everybody knows, I had a double bypass in 1985, so I've got a few wires in me internally that I probably wish I didn't have. I'm feeling good."
Under Osborne's watch, the athletic department has built a new basketball practice facility and entered into a public-private partnership to build a 16,000-seat basketball arena in downtown Lincoln that will open for the 2013-14 season. He also oversaw an expansion project that will increase Memorial Stadium's capacity to more than 90,000 next year.
"I want to make sure the building projects are completed although those they're pretty much on autopilot. I don't know that there's a whole lot that I can add to the process."
Perlman had asked Osborne to take over the athletic department at a time of turmoil. The football program was struggling under Bill Callahan, and staff morale was low under athletic director Steve Pederson.
Osborne fired Callahan after the 2007 season and hired Bo Pelini, who made the Huskers competitive again and led them to the Big 12 championship game in 2009 and 2010.
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