Tom Osborne Legacy Award is established to recognize an individual who is a:
“Winner On and Off the Field”.
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.
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.
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 will be presented — by Osborne to Barry Switzer — at the Outland Trophy Dinner on Jan. 11 at the downtown Doubletree in Omaha.
University of Oklahoma
Following the 1966 season, Switzer moved to the University of Oklahoma as an assistant coach under new head coach and good friend, Jim Mackenzie. After Mackenzie died of a heart attack following spring practice of 1967, Switzer continued as an assistant under former University of Houston assistant and new Oklahoma head coach Chuck Fairbanks.
Switzer made a name for himself when he was OU's Offensive Coordinator by perfecting the wishbone offense and developing it into the most prolific rushing offense in college football history. Under Switzer's wishbone, the Sooners set an NCAA rushing record of 472 yards per game in 1971 and scored over 500 points in two different seasons, 1971 and 1986.
When Fairbanks accepted the position of head coach of the New England Patriots following the 1972 season, Switzer was the obvious choice to succeed him.
Switzer became head coach at Oklahoma in 1973, leading the team to undefeated seasons that year and the next. Oklahoma won national championships in 1974, 1975 and 1985 under Switzer's leadership. The team won or shared in the Big Eight Conference championship every year from 1973 to 1980. During his sixteen years as head coach at Oklahoma, his teams won eight of the thirteen post-season bowl games they played in, and 54 of his players were selected as All-Americans. In 1978, Billy Sims won the Heisman Trophy.
In 1989, after sixteen years as Oklahoma's head coach, Switzer chose to resign. Switzer succeeded in getting the better of several famous contemporaries, including a 12–5 mark against Tom Osborne, 5–3 against Jimmy Johnson, 3–0 against Bobby Bowden, and 1–0 against Joe Paterno, Bo Schembechler, and Woody Hayes. Along with Bennie Owen, Bud Wilkinson, and Bob Stoops, he is one of four coaches to win over 100 games at the University of Oklahoma. No other college football program has more than three coaches to accomplish such a feat.
Switzer was known as an outstanding recruiter of high school talent, particularly in the neighboring state of Texas. His record against Texas in his sixteen seasons as Oklahoma's Head Coach is 9–5–2. The 1984 game between these two universities ended in a 15–15 tie by virtue of a field goal by Texas on the last play of the game. On the next to last play of the game, however, there had been an apparent interception of a Texas pass thrown into the end zone by Oklahoma's Keith Stansberry. The pass was, however, ruled incomplete and the interception waved off. Bruce Finlayson, Supervisor of Officials for the 1984 game later admitted, as reported in the Daily Oklahoman newspaper the following Monday, October 14, 1984, that the officiating crew had made an error in not confirming Oklahoma's interception. The correct call would have preserved a 15–12 Oklahoma victory and changed Switzer's record against Texas to 10–5–1. Switzer has a 3–0–1 record against UT-Austin's Darrell Royal and a 2–0 mark against that university's David McWilliams.
Switzer resurfaced in coaching in 1994 with the Dallas Cowboys. Switzer stepped in following the departure of Jimmy Johnson, who as head coach had won the previous two Super Bowls. Johnson had clashed with owner Jerry Jones (leading to his departure) and many felt that Switzer was more apt to go along with Jones' ideas. Switzer was successful with the Cowboys, going 12–4 his first season in 1994 (losing to the 49ers in the NFC Championship). In Switzer's second season of 1995, the team went 12–4. Dallas won Super Bowl XXX over the Pittsburgh Steelers, 27–17, making Switzer one of only three coaches to win a college national championship and a Super Bowl (the others being Johnson and Pete Carroll).
In 1997, Switzer resigned as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys with a 40–24 career NFL coaching record.
Switzer was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001. In 2004, he received the Jim Thorpe Lifetime Achievement Award. Switzer still resides in Norman, Oklahoma with his wife Becky. In August 2007, XMSN added Switzer as a part of the channel's expanded college sports coverage. On September 9, 2007 Switzer joined the Fox NFL Pregame show. Switzer got into acting after coaching, playing the part of the Head Coach of the Prattville Pirates in the 1998 movie Possums. Switzer also guest-starred in an episode of TNT's Saving Grace titled "Do You Love Him?", which first aired August 11, 2008. In 2006, Switzer and Toby Keith helped found First Liberty Bank in Oklahoma City. He owns Switzer's Locker Room, Switzer's Vineyards and a number of other small businesses in the Norman area.