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Tom Osborne: “I Took A Chance Hiring Bo Pelini For Nebraska”

Interesting statements from the former HC/AD during the Omaha WH Big Red Breakfast

Florida Atlantic v Nebraska Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images

An interesting little tidbit came from Tom Osborne today at the Omaha World-Herald Big Red Breakfast.

Osborne, in the open microphone part of the session, said things about his hire of former Nebraska HC Bo Pelini. In a way, it seemed like a big mea culpa of sorts.

..“I took a chance on Bo Pelini,” Osborne said. “Bo won a lot of games, but I didn’t really know probably enough about his character, and some of those things jumped up and bit him and bit the program...."

...“There were a lot of good things about him, but he didn’t relate well to the press, and in many cases did not relate well to the fans,” Osborne said. “And so those were the things that were not as good. So, end result I think that it didn’t work out as well as I had hoped.

“So these things are the things that always make hirings hard.”

Now, as some folks have pointed out, you take a chance hiring any HC to lead a program. And that is a very true statement in itself.

That being said, it’s somewhat interesting to hear Osborne admit that he didn’t know enough about Bo, even though it’s the choice he ended up making. Especially since the other candidate was Turner Gill, a coach and player with Osborne.

Furthermore, it’s odd considering that one of the reasons that Osborne had Frank Solich named HC (when Bill Byrne was halfway across the planet) was his familiarity with Frank...

“I knew Frank Solich because I’d worked with him for 19 years,” Osborne said. “I knew what his values were, I knew what his work ethic was, I knew about his organizational skills, I knew about his character.”

.. and the reason Bob Devaney hired Tom after the 1972 season...

“If you have somebody that you really know well, and you feel you have stability, that’s probably the ideal situation,” Osborne said. “And so I guess I still think that Frank Solich in the long run would have done very well, and did do pretty well if you looked at his record and his demeanor and how he behaved.

“Most people would say, ‘Well, we probably would take that again.’ ”