Tom Osborne Quotes About Leadership and Life

On3 imageby:Dan Morrison05/24/22


Most people picture one person when they think about classic Nebraska football — Tom Osborne.

The Cornhuskers’ coach roamed the sidelines from 1964 to 1997 as an assistant, offensive coordinator, and then head coach. During that time, Nebraska became a dominant force in the college football landscape. In particular, the innovations that Osborne made in how he ran the Nebraska program changed the game. For example, the Huskers were among the first teams to develop a strength and conditioning program. Plus, they had a massive walk-on program. Still, one of the games that showed who Tom Osborne was the best, was his biggest loss. With a win in the 1984 Orange Bowl, Nebraska would be national champions. Miami put up a fight, and late in the game, Nebraska needed a score to put them within one, with the try remaining. This was before overtime. A tie would win the national championship. He went for two because that’s the way to win. The Big Red didn’t convert, and Miami became champions.

In a legendary career, Tom Osborne had plenty of time to deliver incredible quotes. Here are his best:

10 Best Quotes From Tom Osborne

  1. “When you coach as long as I did, you can’t help but miss those Saturdays — dealing with the players, the game preparation, the challenges, the excitement.”
  2. “Work hard, stay focused, and surround yourself with good people.”
  3. “You can tell by looking at me that I’ve got more miles behind me than I’ve got in front of me. When you reach that point, if you’ve got some good years left, you want to make sure that you use them wisely.”
  4. “The odds are always against you, no matter what your previous history is. You have to overcome the tendency to relax.”
  5. “It is important that voters be as informed as possible when they enter the polls to determine who has the experience, integrity, and vision to lead Nebraska to excellence.”
  6. “Have a spiritual basis which guides you in life. Have a philosophy of life to live by.”
  7. “Everybody’s got to do what they got to do.”
  8. “We are probably hitting more this week than we ever have, just to see… We have 40 kids out there, and it is pretty competitive. So, we have some kids we can put in, but they are going to have a lack of experience.”
  9. “Know how to win and how to lose and be able to handle adversity.”
  10. “I still miss the players, and I miss the game and the strategy. The first couple of years were really difficult. Now I realize I’ll never coach again. It’s still hard to go into the stadium on a game day because it’s hard to just be a fan. But it’s easier now than it was the first two or three years.”

Inspirational Quotes From Osborne

  • “I learned over time that the more pressure I was under, the less I could afford to ignore my spiritual life.”
  • “You can always make more money, but you can never make more time.”
  • “I rise at 5:30 a.m. each day and spend 45 minutes in prayer, meditation, and the scriptures, and I have found that this has become the most important part of my day.”

Leadership Quotes From Tom Osborne

  • “I’ll bring in outsiders to evaluate state agencies. They can sometimes see what we can’t.”
  • “As a college coach, I felt you could make a difference in a player’s life. There was an educational aspect I thought was important.”
  • “There’s no question I had a name recognition advantage. But as time went on, people started to focus on the issues and not who was a football coach and who wasn’t.”

Funny Quotes From Osborne

  • “My hardest job is to convince the people of Nebraska that 10-1 is not a losing season.”
  • “Orlando… So many (golf) courses & great deals, especially in the summer!”
  • “I’m not really good at retiring. I tried that one time and Nancy ran me out of the house.”
  • “That delay helped us. We had a couple of guys who were ready to fall out from the heat. We went inside and watched ‘Hoosiers’ for about 30 minutes, and told the kids to just get relaxed. We fed them some fruit and peanut butter, and then came back out and played well.”

Team Attitude Quotes From Tom Osborne

  • “Our people were not happy. I knew at some point we were going to win. It’s a little unfair, but that’s the reality. To some degree, it became a one-game season for some folks.”
  • “When you get your quarterback back, now that’s a big deal.”
  • “One of the goals we have set for this year is that we never want to get beat by seven points or less. That might sound funny, but if you look at last year’s results, we lost three games by seven or less. We could have gone into the tournament with five wins instead of two wins, and then that confidence would have been there. So there are opportunities to improve our record dramatically by winning the close games.”
  • “Each individual may decide if it is an advantage to be in a plan… It is a voluntary program.”
  • “I think we have a lot of confidence, and I think we’ve got a lot of athletic ability. We have put in more offense in a week and a day than we ran all of last season. We had 14 seniors last year, but seven of those were first-year players. So now, most of our kids have been in the system at least a year, with some having two or three years’ experience.”

Success Quotes From Osborne

  • “I celebrate a victory when I start walking off the field. By the time I get to the locker room, I’m done.”
  • “Is success just about winning? Acclaim? Trophies? Wealth? Our personal happiness or satisfaction? I have been blessed to experience some of these over the years, and I can answer without batting an eye: No. Accomplishments, applause, awards, and fortune are rewards that often come as the result of hard work and a determined spirit, but there is something bigger. Something better. Something that will outlast the winningest season, the plushest corner office, the heftiest bonus, and the loudest cheers. That something can only be found when we look beyond the final score.”
  • “Rarely do you have everything come together, a good supporting class and that key quarterback there for three years. Anytime you break in a quarterback, no matter how talented, it’s hard to go out and win every game.”
  • “We didn’t do anything fancy… we did use some misdirection. That did help to some degree.”