Tag Archive | outland trophy

What’s In A Name?

RIMINGTON.

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.

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#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.

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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.”

Click here to watch KETV’s Husker Throwback Thursday feature on #50 Dave Rimington!

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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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Click here to read more about #50 Dave Rimington via his biography with Nebraska Athletics.

Click here to ready Randy York’s recent profile of Rimington: “Why Dave Rimington Was The Inaugural HOF Choice”

Click here to visit the Boomer Esiason Foundation website; click here to visit the BEF Facebook page.

The 2015 Rimington Trophy presentation, honoring the nation’s top collegiate center, will take place at Lincoln’s Rococo Theater on January 16th.  Click here for more information.

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PREVIOUS POST.. Class of 2003, Curt Tomasevicz!

NEXT WEEK.. Class of 2012, Rex Burkhead!

Will To Succeed

Looking back at your life, what are your biggest accomplishments in your eyes?  Perhaps raising good children. Maybe setting new records in your field.  Possibly, experiencing things few others can say they’ve done.

I met a guy last week with a list of accomplishments a mile long.  Still, the theme I kept picking up on throughout our interview was how to impact OTHERS. Ironically, that self-awareness of how the rest of the world can be impacted by one person’s actions makes this one that much more inspiring…

forget the fact that Will Shields is a College Football Hall-of-Famer and recent NFL Hall-of-Fame inductee.

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Photo courtesy Nebraska Athletics

CLICK HERE TO WATCH KETV’S THROWBACK THURSDAY HUSKER FEATURE ON WILL SHIELDS!

Giving back, who knows when that lesson was instilled upon the young man born in Fort Riley, Kansas and raised in Lawton, Oklahoma.  Shields himself told me about a moment at Nebraska that greatly impacted him.

It was November 3, 1990, Senior Day at Memorial Stadium.  Shields was a sophomore, watching as his teammate Kenny Walker walked onto the field.

“It was dead silence and we waved for him because he was deaf.  We honored him,” said Shields.  “I wonder what that would’ve felt like, being him at that point.”

Many of the 76,000 fans inside the stadium held their arms above their heads and rotated their hands, the American Sign Language symbol for applause.  The moment made national news, inspired a book, and Shields says, taught him parts of the game of football were bigger than anything else.

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Photo courtesy Nebraska Athletics

By the time Shields was a senior, he was a dominant offensive lineman at Nebraska named a First Team All-American, a Lombardi Award semi-finalist and the 1992 Outland Trophy winner.  At the height of that college success, drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1993, Shields and his wife also started the Will To Succeed Foundation to help abused and neglected women and children.

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Shields was out in the community, trying to be a positive influence and also make a tangible difference in countless lives.  According to the Will To Succeed Foundation website, the organization has created 12 different programs in the last 12 years to financially and emotionally support abused families.  100,000 people have been touched by the foundation since it’s inception.

Kansas City Chiefs guard Will Shields (68) celebrates during the Sept. 8 2002 away game against the Cleveland Browns. The Chiefs won 40-39.

Photo courtesy the Kansas City Chiefs

On the field, Shields was a MACHINE.  #68 was a Pro Bowl player every year from 1995 to 2006, a Chiefs team record, also tying him with just two other players for the most Pro Bowls every played by one athlete.  SHIELDS NEVER MISSED A GAME in his entire career.  He started 231 STRAIGHT games, including playoff games.

This isn’t flag football.  Shields was PUMMELING huge guys for hours on end every, single, one of those games.  How does the human body, the human spirit, sustain that for 14 YEARS?!?

“They say I’m on the mental edge of being mental,” Shields laughs.  “I just loved the game, love the sport, loved my teammates and wanted to be there for them week in and week out.  It might have been one of those selfish things, I didn’t want anyone to play my spot.”

Aside from his charity work.. and his awe-inspiring career.. Shields is also a husband and father.

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Photo courtesy the Will To Succeed Foundation

He seems to be doing a pretty darn good job at home, too.  Their daughter, Sanayika, played basketball for Drury University.  Son, Shavon, is one of the stars of the Nebraska basketball program.  Their family owns and operates a gym and sports facility in Overland Park, Kansas.

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Photo courtesy the Will To Succeed Foundation

Looking back, Shields says he know he would play professional football if given the opportunity, but I asked him if he ever dreamed of accomplished such amazing things in his life. For his work on the field, he’s been inducted into both the College Football and the NFL Hall of Fame.  For his impact off the field, the NFL named Shields the league’s Man Of The Year in 2003.

“You know, I just envisioned what the next day would hold, to work hard for that next day,” Shields answered.  “I never really thought about what it looked liked.”

Now, he says, he will try to live up the billing of all of the guys who came before him.  A great message for the young men in Lincoln following in Will Shields’ footsteps, playing every Saturday under the retired #75 on the wall of Memorial Stadium.

“Still some work in progress, but we’ve got some guys that are out there fighting pretty good.  I think there’s some things we have to work on,” said Shields.  “You want them to do well, you always do because you’re forever counted as a Husker.”

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Photo courtesy Nebraska Athletics; CLICK HERE to learn more about #75 Will Shields.

Click here to visit Will Shields’ official website.

Click here for more information about the Will To Succeed Foundation,

and click here to visit the foundation’s Facebook page.

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WEEK THREE.. CLASS OF 1971 JEFF KINNEY!

NEXT WEEK.. CLASS OF 1970 JERRY MURTAUGH!

For a full list of KETV’s Throwback Thursday Huskers, click on the Throwback Thursday index at the top of the page!

A Nebraska Legend

When the KETV Sports Team signed off on the idea of a Throwback Thursday Huskers edition, I started compiling a list of potential players we could catch up with.  Players I remember the most, players that have been Husker Nation favorites over the years, and the legend, the names and faces that are synonymous with the storied history of Nebraska Football.

One of my ‘long shots’ was a guy named Larry Jacobson.  Arguably one of THE BEST in Husker history.  Nebraska’s first Outland Trophy winner.  One of the stars of the Game of the Century in 1971.  A starting tackle on the 2-time national champion team.  I tracked him down, half expecting I would never hear back if I left a message.. I mean, he’s LARRY JACOBSON.

Larry was one of the FIRST to call me back.  Hilarious, outgoing, HUMBLE.  Proud to be a Husker and so grateful Husker Nation remembers him.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH KETV’S HUSKER THROWBACK THURSDAY SPECIAL ON LARRY JACOBSON!

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Photo courtesy of Nebraska Athletics & UNL Photographic Services

At one point in our phone conversation, I think I asked, ‘is this THE Larry Jacobson?!?’

Jacobson is now retired, enjoying his time reading, hunting, fishing and spending quiet evenings on the Platte river with his beautiful wife, Kathy.  This fantastic couple welcomed us to their home a few weeks ago to talk football.

Photographer Dave Hynek and I pulled up, and the first thing I saw was an older model porsche with the license plate 71 OUTLN.

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AWESOME, and just a preview of what we would see.  The first thing that greets you upon walking into the Jacobson home is an enormous Outland Trophy displayed on the fireplace mantel.  AN OUTLAND TROPHY.  And it has company.

“And this, I just got two years ago, the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award,” said Jacobson, who then picked up a photo.  “The #1 overall pick of the draft this year was JaDeveon Clowney.  He was a classy guy; we had a good time with him two years ago.”

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Jacobson, on the right, accepting the Bronko Nagurski Legends Award in 2012.  Photo courtesy of Nebraska Athletics, Randy York & NU Media Relations.

Jacobson wasn’t bragging and he wasn’t arrogant in showing off his collection.  It was almost like he was just as much in awe of all of the hardware and moments as we were!

He then led us upstairs to his ‘man-cave’ if you will.. a room he’s painted red and nearly every inch of space decorated with a Nebraska football memento. (I believe his wife, Kathy, gets much of the credit for that 🙂  There’s a collage featuring all eight of Nebraska’s Outland Tropy Winners, all signed.  You see photos of Jacobson alongside some of the most talented college football players of the last 40 years.  Hanging on one wall, tickets to the Game of the Century in 1971 signed by Devaney, Osborne, Switzer, Fairbanks.  The room is A MUSEUM of Husker memorabilia, each item cooler than the last, and Jacobson has a story for every piece.

Take the football, signed by Bob Devaney, who coached Nebraska in that epic game against Oklahoma.

“You say, sometimes you wish people could have the feeling once in their life that we had after that game,” said Jacobson.  Then, laughing: “we brought our own food down because we were afraid they were going to poison us!”

Turn to a black and white photo of the ’71 Huskers with President Richard Nixon.

“We were drafted while we were at the White House,” said Jacobson. “When we came out from visiting in the Oval Office with Nixon, they handed us a piece of paper.  I went to the Giants and Jeff [Kinney] went to the Chiefs.”

Hard to imagine the excitement a young Jacobson must have had about his future.  Little did he know, less than four years later, his playing days would be over.

One play.  A nasty injury. (“My ankle did a ‘280’ on me,” said Jacobson, comparing it to Sean Fisher’s leg break in 2010.)  Still in his 20’s, Larry Jacobson was forced to retire from football.

Jacobson, an Academic All-American at Nebraska, became a stockbroker, a career he would devote his life to for about 30 years until his retirement.

“I saw, as I was working, too many of my clients that worked and worked and worked, finally would retire and within two or three years, they died,” said Jacobson.  “I didn’t want that to happen to me.”

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Jacobson and his wife, Kathy, at an Angels Among Us fundraiser in 2010.  Photo courtesy of Angels Among Us and Mike Downey.

Jacobson now follows the Huskers from his season ticket seats in the south end zone, prompting a popular question from many Husker fans, ‘uh, his name is DISPLAYED ON MEMORIAL STADIUM. Why does he need tickets?!?’  Jacobson just laughs.

“You look up, and you can’t believe it’s there,” said Jacobson.  “You know, my Dad lived a good life until he was 85.  I wish he would’ve lived a couple more years so he could see it up there.”

And maybe Dad could’ve weighed in on the debate that seems to present itself every time another team makes a run at repeat national titles.  Would any of today’s teams have beaten the 1971 Nebraska Cornhuskers?

“There are a lot better athletes now, but as far as an organization, as far as a team, I don’t think there’ll ever be one like the ’71 Cornhuskers,” said Jacobson.

They were the only team to beat the #2, #3, and #4 teams in the country in the same season.  25 of the men on that team went on to play professional football.  The Sporting News named their team the BEST EVER.

Jacobson, who still keeps in touch with many of his teammates, calls himself ‘fortunate’ to have been a part of it all.

“People remember Johnny Rodgers.  They remember Jerry Tagge, Jeff Kinney, Rich Glover and a lot of times, they remember me,” said Jacobson.  “And that really makes me feel good.”

To read more about #75 Larry Jacobson, check out his bio courtesy of Nebraska Athletics.

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CLICK HERE to Throwback to the Classes of 1971 & 1997,  Bill & Jesse Kosch!

Next week’s Throwback Thursday.. Class of 1977, Monte Anthony!