What do you think of when you hear that name?
The Rimington Trophy. The Nebraska Football legend. All-American student AND athlete.
How about the man who has raised more than $100 million dollars to fight cystic fibrosis and find a cure?
100-MILLION DOLLARS. Scratch that.. Nebraska Athletics journalist (and legend in his own right) Randy York puts that fundraising total closer to 105-MILLION. Randy’s recent profile of Dave Rimington, inducted as the first football player to be part of the inaugural 2015 class of the University of Nebraska Athletics Hall of Fame, is nothing short of jaw-dropping. It’s a reminder of how one person, any of us really, can CHANGE THE WORLD.
#50 Dave Rimington, Center, 1979-1982 (Photo courtesy Nebraska Athletics)
Rimington is a local guy, an Omaha South High graduate, who made the college football history books in his time at Nebraska. He is the only player to win the Outland Trophy in consecutive years and in 1982, he also won the Lombardi Award. That dedication to excellence continued in the classroom; Rimington was a two-time first team academic All-American, an NCAA Top 5 student athlete and a College Football Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete.
Photo courtesy Nebraska Athletics
Yet Rimington was still humbled to be selected as the first football inductee for the Huskers’ new Athletics Hall of Fame.
“It’s awesome,” Rimington told KETV’s Andrew Ozaki. “For all of the fantastic athletes that have been here, from the football team and every sports team, to be in the inaugural class is quite an honor.”
When Rimington returned to Memorial Stadium to be honored for his induction, his status in Nebraska was clear.. fans surrounded him on the sidelines to shake his hand, snap a photo, and for a few moments, talk to a Husker legend.
“I remember all the players. I remember the struggles, the good times and the bad times together,” said Rimington, who also told Ozaki about his favorite moment at Nebraska. “I think the first time we beat Oklahoma my freshman year. I actually wasn’t playing, but it’s still my favorite moment because it was the first time Coach Osborne beat Oklahoma. It was a really big moment.”
Photo courtesy huskermax.com
Rimington had his share of big moments, including seeing his own jersey be retired at Nebraska his senior year, making history winning the Big 8 Offensive Player of the Year as a lineman, and being chosen in the first round of the 1983 NFL draft. He played in the pros for seven years before accepting a new job.
“A good friend of mine is Boomer Esiason,” said Rimington. “He has a son with cystic fibrosis and he’s got a foundation. I’ve been running his foundation in New York City for the last 22 years, so I’ve been pretty busy with that.”
PRETTY BUSY?!?! Rimington told York about the Boomer Esiason Foundation’s most recent accomplishment, donating $10 million dollars to help develop a drug that was approved and appears to have provided a cystic fibrosis CURE for 4-percent of those affected by the disease.
Allow me to sidetrack for a moment.. in April of 2013 I profiled an Omaha family, including two sisters who battle cystic fibrosis daily. I will NEVER forget watching Alexa, then 7, and Presley, then 17-months, stopping their game of cards to strap on corded life jacket-like devices which literally SHOOK the mucus from their lungs and digestive tracts. Alexa told me about how much she coughs. Their parents told me about their fears, seeing the side effects of this disease take a toll on their girls, and reading stats about treatments and life expectancy. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE HALL’S STORY.
It is wonderful to advocate for a cause. It is inspiring to host events and give of your time and energy to help others. But Dave Rimington and BEF may be on the CUSP OF A CURE for people, for CHILDREN just like Alexa and Presley Hall. That is absolutely incredible.
Kind of makes football seem like an insignificant afterthought.. but in case you’re curious, Rimington backs his Huskers, losing season or not.
“We’ve just got to have some patience,” said Rimington. “We’ve got a new staff in place. We’ve just go to give them time to produce.”
To wrap up our interview, Andrew asked for advice for today’s Huskers. When you read what Dave Rimington said, I hope you take it to heart as much as I did, football player or not.
‘Just work hard,” said Rimington. “Every day, you’ve just got to try to get better.”
That’s what I’ll think of now when I hear RIMINGTON. To work hard, and every day, try to be better. Two little girls in Omaha may not know much about football or Outland Trophies, but someday to them, RIMINGTON may also mean a long, healthy life.
Click here to read more about #50 Dave Rimington via his biography with Nebraska Athletics.