OUTLAND TROPHY AWARD DINNER
1st recipient Milt Tenopir
4th recipient Bobby Bowden
Tom Osborne Legacy Award is established to recognize an individual who is a:
“Winner On and Off the Field”.
While winning 255 games from 1973-1997, 13 conference championships and three national titles as the head man, Coach Osborne was equally concerned about his players’ development and life after the game. His teams produced more Academic All-Americas than any other in college football during his era. He emphasized the full development of his players’ lives – academic success, character development, a good spiritual foundation and involvement in the community.
Few if any coaches have impacted college football more than Tom Osborne when it comes to producing great linemen. His legacy of building a strong foundation in the trenches, whether it was on offense or defense, endures to this day.
Coach Osborne has been involved with the most Outland Trophy Winners in the 69- year history of the award. Starting with Larry Jacobson in 1971, Coach Osborne has been associated with all of Nebraska’s eight different Outland Winners, either as an assistant, head coach or athletic director.
During Coach Osborne’s head coaching tenure, Nebraska’s ability to produce great linemen was unparalleled in major-college football. In only six of Tom Osborne’s 25 seasons as head coach did the Huskers fail to produce an All-American on the offensive line. His teams generated at least one first-team, all-conference offensivelineman every season
Tom Osborne not only has enjoyed success as a player, coach and athletic director, but he also has made a positive impact during six years of service in the United States’ Congress and with the founding of Team Mates, one of the country’s premier mentoring programs.
The Outland Trophy – Tom Osborne Legacy Award is established to recognize an individual who is a “Winner On and Off the Field”. A national search is conducted and candidates are selected by the Outland Trophy Tom Osborne Legacy Award Committee.
•Candidate predominately played, coached and/ or made extraordinary contributions to the interior line of college football; and/or made contributions to the Outland Trophy.
•Candidate exhibited the characteristics of integrity, sportsmanship and fair play associated with Tom Osborne.
•Candidate continues to demonstrate a record of leadership in the community and continues to hold a record of good citizenship within and beyond the athletic field that is consistent with one of the award sponsors, Rotary Club of Omaha’s primary motto, “Service Above Self”.
The Tom Osborne Legacy Award was presented — by Osborne to Bobby Bowden— at the Outland Trophy Dinner at the downtown Doubletree in Omaha.
During Bowden’s first year as head coach at WVU, the football team of the state’s other top-division school, Marshall University, fell victim to a tragic plane crash. Bowden asked NCAA permission to wear Marshall jerseys and play Marshall’s final game of the 1970 season against Ohio, but was denied. In memory of the victims of the crash, Mountaineers players put green crosses and the initials “MU” on their helmets. Bowden allowed Marshall’s
helmets. Bowden allowed Marshall’s new head coach Jack Lengyel and his assistants access to game film and playbooks to acquaint themselves with the veer offense, a variation of the option offense which aids teams with weak offensive lines. Lengyel credits Bowden with helping the young Thundering Herd recover. Bowden reportedly became emotional while viewing the movie We Are Marshall, and has said that he was the original candidate for the Marshall head coaching job vacated by crash victim Rick Tolley.
Bowden became the head coach of the Florida State Seminoles because the climate was warmer than in Morgantown, and because Tallahassee was closer to Birmingham, Alabama, where his mother and mother-in-law both lived. The team had a 4–29 record over the previous three seasons, and Bowden planned to stay only briefly before taking a better job, perhaps as head coach at Alabama.During his 34 years as Florida State’s head coach he had only one losing season–his first, in 1976–and declined head coaching job offers from Alabama, Auburn, LSU, and the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons. From 1987 to 2000 the Seminoles finished every season with at least 10 wins and in the top 5 of the Associated Press College Football Poll, and won the national championship in 1993 and 1999.
Coach Bowden has spent much of his life after coaching college football either on the golf course, making appearances throughout the country or with his wife Anne. Coach remains very active, sometimes doing as many as five appearances a week. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.
In recognition of his career achievements and faith, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) awards The Bobby Bowden Athlete of the Year Award (started in 2004) each year to a Division I FBS football player who epitomizes the student-athlete and conducts himself as a faith model in the community, in the classroom and on the field. Nominees must have 3.0 GPA or better and must have the backing of his school’s Athletic Director and Head Football Coach.
Coach Bowden speaks monthly to numerous Christian groups (churches, FCA, colleges etc.) throughout the country giving motivational speeches.