LINCOLN (WKOW) -- Tom Osborne is retiring from his job as Athletic Director at the University of Nebraska.
The 75-year-old Osborne announced at a news conference Wednesday that he would step down January 1, though he will stay for an additional six months to assist in the transition to a new athletic director.
"At some point, whether you're able to function or not, just the perception that you're getting old can get in the way," Osborne said. "I don't want to be one of those guys everybody is walking around wringing their hands trying to figure out what are we going to do with him? That happens sometimes."
Osborne had double-bypass heart surgery in 1985, but said Wednesday he has no health issues that led him to retirement.
"I'm probably healthier today than when I was a member of Congress. That takes a big toll on you," he said.
Associate athletic director Jamie Williams, who played tight end for Osborne in the early 1980s, said, "They don't make a lot of Tom Osbornes. There aren't a lot of living legends left that you can rub elbows with every day. For him to say he's going off to pasture, I told him we have more dragons to slay. Sometimes fishing becomes more important."
Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman said a search firm had been hired to identify candidates to succeed Osborne, and that he has already interviewed some of them.
After putting together one of the more successful runs in college football coaching history at Nebraska from 1973-1997 (career record of 255-49-3), Osborne served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and lost a gubernatorial bid before returning to the university in 2007 to take over the athletic department. He oversaw the rebuilding of the football program and shepherded the school's move from the Big 12 to the Big Ten.
Perlman had asked Osborne to take over the athletic department during a time when the football program was struggling under Bill Callahan and staff morale was low under athletic director Steve Pederson.
Osborne fired Callahan after the 2007 season and hired Bo Pelini, who made the Huskers competitive again and led them to the Big 12 championship game in 2009 and 2010.
The Cornhuskers football team hosts the University of Wisconsin Badgers Saturday. Coverage of the game starts at 7:00p.m. on Channel 27, WKOW, preceded by the Badger Pregame Show at 6:30 p.m.
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