Yes, Tom Osborne is one of the greatest coaches in college football, and in large part the architect of all that we know Nebraska football to be.
But there would not have been a Tom Osborne, at least as we know him, without Bob Devaney coming to Lincoln.
Coming from Wyoming in 1962, Devaney arrived in Lincoln to find a Nebraska football program in dire straits. NU had suffered three losing seasons in a row prior to Devaney’s arrival, spelling the end for then-coach Bill Jennings.
Devaney took charge and went 9-2 in his first season, including a win in the Gotham Bowl (which really, really needs to make a comeback) against Miami. He went on to a record of 101-20-2 at Nebraska, winning eight Big Eight conference titles and national championships in 1970 and 1971. He handed the reins to Tom Osborne (whom, of course, he originally hired as an offensive coordinator) in 1973.
So if you’re looking to give thanks to one of the Husker legends of history this year, thank the man who really started it all.