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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 13, 1995
                         REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                            AND COACH OSBOURNE 
                              The South Lawn

11:51 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Please be seated. Welcome to the White House on this beautiful morning. I am delighted to welcome all of the members of the national championship Nebraska Cornhuskers here, along with Chancellor Spanier, your Athletic Director Bill Byrne and, of course, Coach Osbourne and all the players.

I welcome the Nebraska Congressional delegation from Nebraska: Senator Exon, Senator Kerrey, and Representatives Barrett, Bereuter and Christiensen. I do want to say a special word of regret, too, that Bob Devany couldn't be here today, but we all wish him a very speedy recovery.

I have been, since I was a very small boy, an ardent college football fan. I know that Coach Osbourne's record alone justifies a national championship, an 820 percent winning percentage. Most of us would like to have that here. (Laughter.) Cornhuskers have been to a bowl game in each of his 22 years, and as I said when I called him the night Nebraska won, nobody deserves it more.

I want to congratulate your three first team All- Americans: linebacker Ed Stewart, tackle Zach Weigert and guard Brenden Stai, and also your three first-team Academic All-Americans: tackle Terry Connealy, tight end Matt Shaw, and the Academic All- American of the Year, who I just understood has never made a B, Rob Zatechka. We could give him a job here at the White House. It's sort of like praying for pro football.

I want to thank this team and this coach not only for winning the national championship; that's obviously a great honor, but for the way that it was won and the character and teamwork and spirit that Coach Osbourne has always displayed, and that this team displayed. I think it inspired people all across the country who are fans of athletics, and I think even people who are not great football fans, or particularly knowledgeable about all the details, who read about the Nebraska team, who saw not only that you had three All- Americans, but three Academic All-Americans, and who have followed the work of Tom Osbourne over the years; it inspired them all to believe in the value of teamwork and sacrifice and discipline, and certainly you were rewarded in ways that were well justified.

I'd also like to say, I asked Coach Osbourne on the way out if this was the largest football team ever to win a national championship, and he said, yes, but they're good students, too. I liked it because I felt this is the only -- when those three guys walked out with me, this is the only football team in America that could make me look like a ballerina -- (laughter) -- I liked it.

So I welcome you here. I honor your achievement. We're delighted to have the players here. And I'd like to ask Coach Osbourne to take the microphone now.

Coach? (Applause.)

COACH OSBOURNE: I'd like to thank the President very much for those kind words, and thank him for his time. And I'd like to thank the congressional group for coming over here. Hopefully, this is one time when everybody is on the same page, and voting the same way, and we're pleased to have you here. (Laughter.)

I'd like to also thank Chancellor Spanier and his wife, and Bill Byrne and his wife for being here today, and especially thank the coaches; they've done a tremendous job. The rest of our staff, I think, are a very committed group of people, and you couldn't ask for a better group to work with.

And I guess, finally, I'd like to thank the players, because this was an exceptionally focused group of people. As many of you may know, or maybe don't know, we came close a year ago, and I think they could have gone either way. They could have said, well, this is too hard, you know, we came close, we didn't quite make it, or they could go back and rededicate themselves and work even harder, and they did that, so I don't think they're here by accident.

I also hope a lot of pictures were taken today, because they're never going to look better. (Laughter.) This is as good as they're ever going to look. (Laughter.)

END12:01 P.M. EST