Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne announced Wednesday that he is retiring effective Jan. 1, 2013 as first reported at HailVarsity.com. Osborne, 75, took over athletic director duties on an interim basis on Oct. 16, 2007 and became the permanent athletic director two months later. He said he informed University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman in August of his intention retire.
“At some point, whether you’re able to function or not, the perception that you’re getting old can get in the way,” Osborne said. “I don’t want to be one of those guys walking around wringing his hands where people are like ‘what are we going to do with him.’”
Hired as an interim athletic director in 2007, Osborne has overseen massive change to the Nebraska athletic department the past five years. He was instrumental in orchestrating the university’s move to the Big Ten and a driving force behind an unprecedented upgrade in facilities. The University is currently nearing completion on an expansion to Memorial Stadium that will increase seating as well as house a new health and athletics research facility, the Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior research. Osborne also led the charge to build a new basketball arena with the cooperation of the City of Lincoln, as well as the Hendricks Training Complex which houses the men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Osborne also hired six new head coaches in his time as athletic director including head baseball coach Darin Erstad (2011) and new head basketball coach Tim Miles (2012).
“He certainly stabilized the department, hired several very promising coaches, and brought our facilities to a new level,” Perlman said. ”The university and the state of Nebraska are in his debt for the many contributions he has made to both over the course of his career.”
Osborne plans to remain with the athletic department for approximately six months as the athletic director emeritus to help ease the transition for the new athletic director and help the facility improvements currently underway. Perlman said that the search for Osborne’s replacement is underway and that he has already interviewed candidates for the position. The university has hired a search firm to help with the process.
Once the new athletic director is hired, Osborne said he plans to devote most of his time next summer to growing his Teammates youth mentoring program.
“It has been a pleasure and an honor to work in the Athletic Department for the past five years,” Osborne said. “I hope that there have been some good things that have been accomplished during that time.”