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Family spokeswoman Marilyn Mecham said Devaney died of cardiac a

May 9, 1997

Family spokeswoman Marilyn Mecham said Devaney died of cardiac arrest at 4:05 p.m. CDT at the Eastmont Towers. She said his wife, Phyllis, and son, Mike, were at his side.

The family was not talking to the media Friday but was expected to issue a statement Saturday. Funeral arrangements were pending.

Devaney’s health prompted him to resign in June 1996 as athletic director emeritus. He had a slight stroke in March 1995 and was hospitalized for a heart attack in March 1997. Still, he attempted to visit his campus office regularly, chatting with staff and visitors and sharing stories of his days of success.

Devaney stepped down as athletic director in January 1993, having built the athletic program to national prominence as he had done the football program.

``I have never looked at coaching, or athletic administration, as a job,″ he said upon his reluctant retirement. ``It has always been a lot of fun for me, and that’s why I never really wanted to retire.″

Devaney was released May 1 from Lincoln General Hospital, where he had been treated since his March 19 heart attack. He also had pneumonia while hospitalized.

``He doesn’t seem to change too much. ... He’s very quiet,″ Phyllis Devaney said at the time. ``Right now, we’re worried about him having a relapse of his pneumonia.″

Devaney came to Nebraska from Wyoming as football coach in 1962. He had a 35-10-5 record in five years at Wyoming and never had a losing season in compiling a 101-20-2 record over 11 years at Nebraska. The 1970 and 1971 teams won national championships. Some experts consider the 1971 team the best ever assembled.

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