Saturday, December 01, 2007

Bay Area Husker ENews 11-30-07

Hey Bay Area Husker Fans!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and made it home from travels near and far. The changes back in Lincoln are happening quickly and if you didn't hear the news, Tom Osborne is now also the interim coach to help keep the recruiting machine going while searching for a head coach...lots of rumors about Bo Pellini and Turner Gill but no hard facts yet. Hope you get a chance to watch the Mizzou Tigers take on the Sooners in tomorrows Big XII championship game.

And check out the lady Husker volleyball team info as they start their bid for another national championship. You should be able to pick up at least the audio on the webcast.

You should also read the funny "Husker Nation Gospel" at the end of the email. Some creative Husker fan penned a fabulous and funny "King James" style gospel of the latest trials and tribulations of the Husker Nation.

Go Big Red (White and Blue),



Thursday, November 29, 2007

Osborne now 'interim coach' in order to recruit

Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Few Nebraska football fans are going to argue with Tom Osborne's decision on an interim head coach.

Already the interim athletic director, Osborne declared himself the coach until he hires a successor to Bill Callahan, allowing Nebraska's beloved former coach to visit prospective recruits and try to prevent the program from slipping during the recruiting contact period.

Athletic department communications chief Randy York said the 70-year-old Osborne, who took over the department after the firing of Steve Pederson last month, passed an NCAA certification test on his first try Wednesday and has informed the Big 12 office of his new title.

Osborne was unavailable for comment Thursday. York said he would be on the road recruiting through the end of the week.

Gary Bargen, assistant athletic director in charge of compliance, said the interim AD tag would have limited Osborne to meeting with prospective recruits only if they visited campus. Now he can visit recruits in schools and homes until Dec. 15.

Several recruits who had been committed to Nebraska have said publicly that they are considering other schools while awaiting to see who the next coach will be.

Callahan was fired last Saturday following a 65-51 loss at Colorado, where the Huskers squandered an 11-point halftime lead by allowing 34 consecutive points.

Nebraska finished a dismal 5-7, a year removed from reaching the Big 12 championship game. The season featured a 76-39 defeat at Kansas, the most points allowed by a Nebraska team, and included six games in which its famed defense surrendered 40 or more points.

Osborne, who won 255 games and three national championships from 1973-97, has said he has no interest in returning to the sidelines -- even going so far as to say his wife, Nancy, would "shoot me" if he did.

Once a hire is made, Osborne could continue to recruit until the new coach assembles a full staff of nine assistants, York said.

Two assistants from Callahan's staff, defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove and cornerbacks coach Phil Elmassian, are no longer recruiting for Nebraska.

Osborne said in a radio interview with the Husker Sports Network on Wednesday that he hoped to have a new coach selected by next week. He already interviewed Buffalo coach Turner Gill and LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini and spoke informally with Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe, according to media reports.

Another coach linked to the search, Cincinnati's Brian Kelly, told local radio station WCKY on Wednesday that he had not been contacted by Nebraska.

Nebraska Interim Athletic Director Tom Osborne discussed his search for the Huskers' next football coach on Wednesday night.


Lincoln - In an interview with Lane Grindle Wednesday on the Husker Sports Network’s “Sports Nightly” Show, Nebraska Interim Athletic Director Tom Osborne said the search for a new head football coach was “pretty much on track.”

After indicating that he had interviewed several candidates for the new head coaching job, Osborne was asked how long the search process will take. “We would hope that we would be moving along pretty well by at least the middle of next week,” he said. “But if it takes longer, it takes longer.”

Osborne wouldn’t say if Nebraska is done interviewing candidates. “But I think we’re really in pretty good shape,” he said, adding that he wanted to keep interview options open.

Nebraska’s interim athletic director also became NU’s interim head football coach Wednesday when Gary Bargen, NU’s assistant athletic director for compliance, faxed a letter to Keri Boyce, director of compliance for the Big 12 Conference.

In the letter, Bargen notified the conference that Osborne is also now serving as interim head football coach until a new head football coach is named. According to the letter, Osborne passed the 2007-08 Coaches’ Certification Examination on Wednesday and is now permitted to recruit off-campus until he is no longer serving as a designated, countable coach.

In his radio interview, Osborne explained his approach to hiring a new head football coach.

"You can overwhelm yourself with numbers to where you’re talking to so many people that you don’t really remember what the last person you interviewed said,” Osborne said. “On the other hand, you want to have a large enough pool that you were able to really examine some of the best qualities that some of the best coaches have. And I think we’ve been able to do that.”

Osborne said there are two ways to look at hiring a new head coach and staff.

One is to find a coach who has either played at Nebraska or worked at Nebraska and understands the culture. “They understand where North Platte is and where Oshkosh is, and they know the importance of football to young people in this state,” Osborne said. “They know what walk-ons meant to the program in the past.”

Another possible approach, Osborne acknowledged, is hiring an experienced coach with a solidified staff “that can come in here and sometimes save a lot of time and grief simply because they all have a common terminology. They know each other. Their systems are well in place, and they don’t have to spend several months trying to figure out what each one of them is meaning by a certain term.”

Osborne said the candidates he’s interviewed understand the game, have been successful and are very passionate about football. Money does not appear to be a driving force for the candidates he’s interviewed. “Now having said that,” Osborne added, “it does seem the going rate on salaries has really gone through the roof a bit . . . a little bit amazing.”


NO. 2 HUSKERS BEGIN TITLE RUN AT HOME...(should be available on a webcast)

The Nebraska volleyball team begins the postseason at home, as the second-ranked Huskers will play host to the first and second rounds at the NU Coliseum this weekend. Action begins Friday, Nov. 30, when the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (27-8) of the Sun Belt Conference take on the Wichita State Shockers of the Missouri Valley Conference (26-5) at 4:30 p.m. Nebraska (27-1), which earned its bid by sharing the Big 12 title with Texas, will play in the evening’s second match and will take on the South Dakota State Jackrabbits (25-10) of the Summit League beginning at 7 p.m. or 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first match. The second round will take place on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 5 p.m., as Friday’s winners will square off for a right to compete in the Madison (Wis.) Regional.

Tickets for the first and second rounds in Lincoln are already sold out, but additional tickets may become available later in the week, as the other participating teams determine their ticket allotment. Fans can listen to all of the Huskers’ postseason action on the Husker Sports Network, including B107.3 FM in Lincoln, KHUS 93.3 FM in Omaha and on the Internet at

The 2007 season marks the 23rd time that Lincoln has played host to first- and second-round competition. Last year, Nebraska hosted the first and second rounds at the NU Coliseum before winning the Gainesville Regional en route to its third national title. Nebraska is 70-22 (.761) in 25 previous NCAA Tournament appearances, ranking second among NCAA schools in wins and winning percentage.

NU Volleyball Quick Hits
  • Nebraska is 43-3 all-time at the NU Coliseum during the NCAA Tournament.
  • Nebraska and South Dakota State have not met since a 2-1 Husker win in 1975 - NU’s first varsity season.
  • Nebraska’s 26 NCAA Tournament appearances ties for third all-time, trailing only Stanford and Penn State with 27 apiece.
  • The Huskers have held their last five opponents to a combined .105 hitting, including three of the last four foes to under .100 hitting.
  • Nebraska’s seniors are 70-1 at home over the last four years and have dropped just eight games at home since losing to Florida A&M in the 2004 home opener.



Portrait of a Leader
The Four Highly Effective Traits of Tracy Stalls

Last Saturday night, in front of the 103rd consecutive volleyball sellout at the NU Coliseum, Tracy Stalls took 13 swings and had 11 kills as second-ranked Nebraska swept 22nd-ranked Oklahoma.

Stalls’ .845 hitting performance impressed everyone, including Dan Whitney, a.k.a. Larry the Cable Guy, who went into a meeting room afterwards to both praise and entertain the defending national champion Huskers.

The "GIT-R-DONE!" Guy probably thought he was going to be the post-game show, but Stalls delivered her own comedy act with what others describe as an impressive repertoire of animal noises. “She was cracking him (Larry the Cable Guy) up,” Nebraska Coach John Cook said.

Stalls, a 6-3 senior co-captain and middle blocker from Denver, might be the most serious-minded amateur comedienne in the country. “Everything she does has a purpose,” Cook said. “She is your classic leader and will do anything to encourage and inspire her teammates. I’ve coached a lot of dedicated athletes, but I don’t know if I’ve ever coached a more dedicated leader.”

Stalls has all the credentials . . . first-team All-Big 12, first-team Academic All-Big 12, first-team All-Central Region, second-team All-American, U.S. National Team Camp participant, team representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

We could keep going, but Stalls is focused on one thing only finishing her Cornhusker career with another national championship. Individual honors are nice, but not part of her priority system. The same applies to individual stats. “I don’t like numbers,” she says. “They’re just a dangerous thing.”

All that matters to Stalls is helping her team get into the physical and psychological shape needed for another successful national championship run.

The Four Highly Effective Traits of Senior Tracy Stalls
1. Live by Example
2. Communicate with Compassion
3. Share a Vision
4. Be Proactive and Be Humble

While reluctant to step into the spotlight, Stalls agreed to sit down with us and share her views on leadership. By the time Shamus McKnight, our volleyball sports information director, turned off his tape recorder, we had a gold mine of insight and candor.

We’ve decided to package our portrait of a leader and call it “The Four Highly Effective Traits of Tracy Stalls.” We thought it best to let Tracy explain those traits in her own words. Then, if you wish, please feel free to share with us the ones that mean the most to you. Better yet, think of some other successful leaders in Nebraska athletic history and describe how you think they stack up to Tracy’s take, which includes:

Live by Example
This means more to me than anything because no matter what comes out of your mouth, if what you do isn’t in line with what you say, there is no respect and no reason to listen to you. Living by example allows people to respect your voice.

How you live is what you are. What is your character? How are you working to develop your character? Are you maxing out in everything that you’re doing and everything that you can control? Do you understand what it is that you can and can’t control? As a competitor, on the court, during intense times, do you want to make the play or are you afraid? That makes a difference between being a leader and a non-leader.

Leaders find a way to win and be good when it is hard. Leaders relish the battle. They listen and have patience. They respond to things instead of just react. Leaders make choices in their lifestyle that support their character. When you lead by example, you’re honest, trustworthy. You can keep a secret. When you are in a position of leadership, people watch what you do and how you respond. Enjoy the responsibility. Take on the challenge.

Communicate with Compassion
The most important role of a captain is to be a mediator between coaches and players. If there are small issues, you do your best to figure them out and get them taken care of. Don’t let anything slide. Make sure everyone knows what’s going on and where everything stands.

Things always go on in the locker room. Leaders decide what can be taken care of between and among teammates, and determine when we need to bring issues to coach. We have to be aware and discern what’s happening, so he is fully aware of how we feel. When you become aware, you can communicate without fear of confrontation. That is something I’ve learned here. I am not afraid of confrontation, and I know there is a right way to handle it.

If you watch and understand how people respond, you know what to say to them. My faith helps me communicate with compassion, patience and love. That is something I’ve really learned since I came to Nebraska what it’s like to serve my teammates and look for opportunities . . . taking time to hear about their day and developing that love and trust.

Being a good listener is the biggest part of being an effective communicator. When you know what people are thinking and how they’re feeling, you can help build them up. Don’t look to gain anything from that person. Just find ways to know who they are, so you understand why something might be tearing them down. Sometimes, communicating can take a lot of hard work, but it’s the only path to mutual respect.

Share a Vision
When you learn how to communicate with compassion, you gain the ability to share a vision. Leaders get others involved and engaged because they actively pursue and get others’ feedback. Leaders do the best they can to get everyone on the same page and keep everyone there. When you have an issue, everyone works together to figure it out.

On every successful team that I’ve been on whether it’s a club championship or last year’s national championship it’s important to have a mission statement. Any successful corporation has a mission statement that makes it very clear what your purpose is. When you know and understand the desired outcome, you can focus on the process and what you can control versus what you can’t control. It’s amazing how much more you can accomplish when everyone understands what’s expected.

Last year, our team used a pyramid to guide our actions, and it worked well. This year, we have a circle. We’re looking at intangible things that aren’t necessarily measured by stats, but still affect the outcome.

For example, I can’t necessarily control where the set is, but I can control how I prepare to get whatever comes my way. I can control if I am giving my best effort to get up to the ball on time and how my mindset is. If I’m ready to compete and swing, I’ve controlled what I can control.

The circle approach is designed to help a teammate who might fall back or distance herself when something goes wrong. As a leader, you have to be aware when that happens and do what you can to help whether it’s having lunch or talking to them . . . just doing something to pull them back in to the circle so that we are unified.

Be Proactive and Be Humble
I’m convinced that leaders need to be both proactive and humble. I’m hyperactive and want to have too many meetings, so I’ve asked my fellow seniors to help me with that. We’re all aware that we’d rather be proactive to eliminate confusion or make sure something doesn’t fester, but we’re also trying for the right balance.

Humility is just as important as being proactive. There’s no question that I don’t know what I’m doing all the time. I am going to mess up. But that’s part of the process of the circle approach to be able to create a sense of vulnerability where people can feel like they can be themselves. When we can all acknowledge our own weaknesses and talk about them we’re living by example, communicating with compassion, sharing a vision and being proactive and humble.

When you put all those elements of leadership together, you create the will to change, the opportunity to grow and improve your chance to succeed . . . together, as a team.

Editor’s Note: Tracy Stalls, who had 10 kills in 20 swings in the Huskers’ three-game sweep at Baylor Wednesday night, is one of four Nebraska seniors who will play their last regular-season game in the Coliseum Saturday night against Texas Tech. Sarah Pavan, Christina Houghtelling and Maggie Griffin will join Stalls in a post-match ceremony honoring the seniors.

(Thanks to Carlos, Buck and Dick for sending this along)...

And it came to pass in the land of Lincoln, in the kingdom of Husker Nation, that a man named Pederson arose to rule the realm ofAthletics. For he was of the Kingdom, from the city of North Platte, and was a follower of the Huskers of Corn.

But he was not a wise man, forsaking the ways of the HuskerNation, sending the leader Solich into the wilderness, and turning away the warriors of old who wore the tunics of black into battle in ages past, even removing their portraits and pictures.

And in the place of Solich, he selected from the land of La-La a strange man, once known as leading a failed army known as Raiders to defeat after defeat in the grand Coliseum of the Land of Oaks, a city by the bay of San Francisco, a wicked city of Sodomites and practitioners of perversion.

And did this man, known as Callahan, become the general ofthe Husker armies, forsaking all traditions held dear to the hearts of the citizens.

And a strange plan known as the West Coast Offense was forced upon the armies, and the proven tactics of old were called evil and sinful by Callahan. And complex and confusing were the plans in the Offense,and failure was the result.

And the Husker armies fell apart on the fields of battle,and adversaries from the Land of Troy, the hated Sooners, the powerful Orange Cowboys from the land of Still Water, yea even the despised PurpleCats from the wasteland of Kansas, did achieve victory after victory over the once-mighty Husker armies, and the wearers of the Tunics of Black.

And in the fourth year of the reign of Callahan, did theHusker armies struggle against warriors from a land where canning jars were made. And lo, the armies of Troy, the Tiger tribe from Columbia, yea, even the Orange Cowboys, did soundly defeat the Husker armies. And it came to pass during the battle with the Orange Cowboys, in the presence of St. Thomas of Osborne and his brave soldiers of yore, that the members of Husker Nation did turn their backs upon the slaughter of the weakened armies of Callahan.

And a hue and cry arose throughout the land, in cyberspace,and on the program ESPN, for the removal of the failed general Callahan and his aides, and his master Pederson the Jerk.

And the Chancellor heard their cries, and dispatched Pederson into exile.

And St. Thomas was summoned by the Chancellor, and was given the power to rule in the department of Athletics.

And o, did Callahan wail and gnash his teeth, telling one and all of the fine works he had done. And his lies fell on deaf ears.

And there was great joy in Husker Nation as St. Thomas restored the traditions of old, welcoming with open arms the warriors of old known to the Nation.

But there was a reminder from St. Thomas that no remedies would be quick in coming, and that time shall pass before the great Husker armies are strong and feared once again throughout the land of the Allianceof 12.

Even so, once again hope is strong among the faithful of the Husker Nation, and some day in the future the Tunics of Black shall once again be worn by the fierce defenders of the field.

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