Tom Osborne has achieved great things during his lifetime.
He’s recognized as one of college football’s most successful and respected coaches, winning three national championships during 25 years of leading the University of Nebraska’s gridiron program. Since stepping down, he’s been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics renamed its football national championship trophy in his honor.
The Hastings, Ne. native also represented the state in the U.S. House of Representatives for three terms, from 2001 to 2007, and then served a stint as Nebraska’s athletic director.
An essential component of his existence, both personally and throughout his coaching career, has been his strong Christian faith.
Osborne will be discussing his life and Christianity’s role and much more as the guest speaker at the 37th annual Marco Island Prayer Breakfast. The event is set for February 12th at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort’s Palms Ballroom.
“I’ll talk a little about my spiritual journey,” said Osborne. “I’ll talk a little bit about some of the things that I saw in athletics that are relevant to that topic. I’ll reference several scriptures that were important to me at different times of my life. There’ll be a lot of personal reflection and also some commentary on what I see happening around us today.”
His remarks will also touch upon his time in Washington D.C.
“I can’t say that was the most important time in my life, but I have some observations about not only the goings–on in Washington, but also what I see happening with some of our young people,” he said. “I’ll reflect on all those things and how faith plays a part in that.”
As the child of a deeply religious family, Osborne grew up steeped in Christianity. But it wasn’t until the summer after his sophomore at Hastings College, at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp, that faith took on a more personal tone for the All-American quarterback.
“During that week I heard Christianity espoused in a way that impacted me more as an adult, and that’s when I decided that was what I was going to do and that Jesus was who I was going to follow,” he recalled. “That has made a tremendous difference throughout the arc of my life and what I’ve done throughout my lifetime. Certainly, I’m not a perfect person, but I think my allegiance to Christianity has been the guiding force in my life.”
Faith naturally permeated his approach to coaching.
“I’ve felt that probably the most important thing that I did was to influence my players, hopefully in a positive way, partly through the way that I live my life and partly by the way that I handled adversity,” said Osborne. “And also, just in the things that we talked about, the things we emphasized both on and off the field. I’ve heard from players who played for me a long time ago—not for all of them, but for most of them—at some point in their life, after they left the playing field, it seemed to have made a difference in their life.”
Since retiring as athletic director in 2013, Osborne devoted himself to TeamMates Mentoring, the school-based, youth program he and his wife Nancy founded in 1991, along with 22 University of Nebraska football players. The program’s mission is to impact the world by inspiring youth to reach their full potential through mentoring.
From its start just serving the Lincoln Public Schools system in Lincoln, Ne. TeamMates has grown to now serve 10,000 youths in five states.
The 37th annual Marco Island Prayer Breakfast will be held from 7:30 AM to 9 AM, in the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort’s Palms Ballroom. Tickets are $30 for the event, which includes a full breakfast and music by saxophonist Eirinn Abu. Tickets can be purchased at local churches, by calling 207-356-8356 or by visiting MarcoIslandPrayerBreakfast.com.