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Faith part of Osborne's foundation PDF E-mail

I had an opportunity to listen to Tom Osborne speak a week ago in Lincoln, talking about his faith and how that impacted how he conducted his life, and how that pertained to when he was head football coach of the Huskers.

I've heard him say some of these things before, yet he shared some extremely interesting insights.

He said he really began to take his faith seriously when he attended a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp in Estes, Colo., one summer when he was then a member of the Hastings College football team.

"For some reason I was attracted to go there," he said. "It was the second FCA camp ever held, and I drove out by myself. There were college and professional athletes there, and I heard Christianity articulated in a way that really resonated with me.

"Sometime during that week I made a commitment. It was during that week that I realized that this was for all the marbles, and that certainly changed the trajectory of my life. I have not been a perfect Christian, but I've never really wavered from that original commitment."

He said just like his football teams, that faith is sustained by discipline.

"By August 75 percent of our season had been determined, from the weight room, conditioning and spring football," Osborne said. "Discipline is critical. That's one thing I learned in athletics that is applicable to faith. Sometimes we want to be 400-pound bench pressers and only go into the weight room on Christmas and Easter. I try to read scriptures every day, usually in the evening."

He told about how he, the assistant football coaches and trainers would meet every day at 7 a.m., maybe just for 10 minutes or so, to read a scripture and what it meant to the team.

He talked about how legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden would never talk to his teams about winning and losing, only about the process of getting better and focusing on fundamentals.

And he talked about how winning isn't everything it's cracked up to be, that it's much more important how one goes about the process, honoring God.

"With the letters to the editor, hate mail and such, you realize you were in a conflicted situation," he noted. "It wasn't always easy. That's where I came with the main goal to honor God, with your actions, your language, actions on the sidelines and how you play the game."

The one thing I found fascinating and unique during his discussion was how he would take time on Saturdays to not only pray by name for every Husker player on the roster, but also for that day's opponent.

I had never heard Coach say that before, that he actually took time on game day to pray for Oklahoma and Barry Switzer, Colorado and Bill McCartney or even Miami and Howard Schnellenberger.

What a concept!

And in a nutshell, that's what sets perhaps college football's greatest coach apart from not only all of his peers, but from most everyone else on this entire planet.

Yes, Tom wanted to win every game just like the rest of them, but looking back, every year he coached was a championship season.

DAVE BRADLEY can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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