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Devaney Retires At Nebraska, Leaves Legacy of Winning

June 30, 1996

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ Bob Devaney, who won Nebraska’s first consecutive national football championships in 1970 and 1971, retired Sunday as athletic director emeritus because of poor health.

``His legend is going to be that he’s a winner,″ said John Stinner, who played for the Cornhuskers from 1969-1973 and now is a banker in Gering, Neb.

``He was a very charismatic leader,″ said Frosty Anderson of Lincoln, a 1969 graduate of Scottsbluff High School who was a split end on Devaney’s 1971 national championship team.

``Devaney was very organized and each assistant had full rein on what they were doing,″ Anderson told the Scottsbluff Star-Herald.

Devaney, 81, had a stroke in March 1995 and his health has continued to decline. His retirement was announced Saturday night in a written statement from the university.

Devaney came to Nebraska from Wyoming in 1962 and took over as athletic director in 1967. During his 11-year stint as Husker football coach, Devaney’s teams won 101 games, lost only 20 and tied two for an .829 winning percentage.

His career mark of 136-30-7 ranked him as the most winning active coach in the nation at the time of his retirement as coach in 1973. Devaney now ranks 11th on the all-time list, one behind Tom Osborne, whom he tapped as his own replacement. Osborne’s teams won national championships in 1994 and 1995.

``As a coach, athletic director and as a friend, Bob has had more impact on me than any other single person at Nebraska,″ said Osborne. ``I appreciate him giving me a chance to coach and all the support over the years.″

In all, Devaney’s gridiron teams won eight Big Eight titles and two national championships in 1970 and 1971 while going to nine bowl games from 1962 to 1972. He wound up with three straight Orange Bowl wins, two Outland Trophy winners, a Lombardi Award winner and a Heisman Trophy winner. Twice his teams won four consecutive Big Eight titles, 1963-66 and 1969-72.

Devaney earned national coach of the year honors from four organizations. He has been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and the National Association of Collegiate Director of Athletics Hall of Fame.

Devaney ended 25 years as athletic director in January 1993. As AD emeritus, he devoted his time to fund-raising and special projects.

Devaney and his wife, Phyllis, 80, recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. They have moved from their house into a retirement community, Eastmont Towers.

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