What sets coaches Bob Devaney, Bear Bryant, and John McKay apart from their successors and contemporaries is they built their dynasties from scratch and did not have successful winning programs handed to them.
Oh, there was tradition. Plenty of tradition. That and 10 cents could get you a cup of coffee in those halcyon days of the early 1960s.
When Bob Devaney left Wyoming for the plains of Lincoln following the 1961 season he envisioned creating a winning football program that had lay dormant for several years.
Truth be told, the Cornhuskers had only won 40 games while losing 68 in the previous 11 seasons.
Nebraska was bad, bad. Always around the bottom of the conference.
Beginning in 1962 Bob Devaney changed all that, by turning around the moribund 3-6-1 Cornhuskers (prior to his arrival) into a 9-2 well-oiled machine that capped off the season with a Bowl victory over the Miami Hurricanes.
He followed that miracle with a Big 8 Conference Championship in '63 and an Orange Bowl victory over Auburn.
But, the great Devaney knew his 19-3 record after two seasons belied the talent available on the team. In short, coaching, tactics, and inspiration had turned the program around.
Now he needed players. Talented players, and plenty of them. And Bob Devaney knew where to get them.
Devaney had earned his spurs as a top notch High School coach in Michigan before joining the terrific staff under Biggie Munn at Michigan State in the early 1950's.
Going back into the Peninsula State, Devaney secured the services of a young man named Freeman White out of Chadsey High School in Detroit.
White was a freshman during Devaney's first season in '62 but, by the time he was a junior he had made a splash that is still felt around the country.
What is so special about Freman White?
Consider the size of the typical "All-America" receiver prior to this time. Nearly everyone was in the 5'10" to 6'1" 185 pound category.
The keys to playing the position in that era were elusiveness and speed.
White was speedy alright but he was 6'5" 230 pounds. He could simply run over any defender, crushing him under his immense size.
He was bigger than even the tight ends of his time, and was a better blocker than any other receiver in the nation.
Freeman White owned the Nebraska record book for receivers, or split ends as they were known in their day.
By the time White left Nebraska following the 1965 season, he had broken all of the prize receiving records on his way to First-Team All-America honors.
Freeman White set multiple records and standards. Most catches in a game, most yards in a game, most catches in a season, most yards in a season, most catches in a career, and most yards in a career.
In addition he set the record for longest pass reception and run with a 95 yarder. This broke the 92 yard reception record White had set as a Junior.
In his junior year he led the Big 8 Conference in receiving and was named first team All-Conference.
During his three years as a Cornhusker, Nebraska lost only two regular season games while playing in a New Year's Day Bowl as Big 8 Conference Champions each season.
However, the everlasting effect of Freeman White is that of an effort by coaches everywhere to find much larger receivers, taller and more powerful.
As one reviews the status of the receiving corps around the land this year, it is remarkable how many feature tall and strong pass catchers, able to rumble once they reach over smaller defenders and get their hands on the ball.
Just like Freeman White.