LINCOLN — John Melton, who followed Bob Devaney from Wyoming to Nebraska and then lasted longer on the Huskers’ football staff than Devaney or any of his other original assistants, died Saturday. He was 86.
Melton was an NU assistant from 1962 to 1988, going 11 seasons with Devaney before spending 16 more with Tom Osborne.
“I always really admired John,” Osborne said Saturday night. “He had a great sense of humor and was a good recruiter.”
Melton still was a regular in the Memorial Stadium press box for Husker home games in recent seasons. He also had worked in the NU athletic development office after stepping away from coaching.
“He was a pretty good fundraiser, too,” Osborne said. “People enjoyed hearing him talk. He was just a lot of fun to be around.”
Osborne said some of Melton’s recruits included Barry Alvarez, Jamie Williams and Curtis and Roger Craig. Melton started out as the Huskers’ freshman coach in 1962 — and oversaw a young graduate assistant named Osborne in 1964. Melton finished his career coaching NU linebackers for Osborne.
Melton played fullback for Wyoming from 1948 to ’50, and scored a touchdown in the Cowboys’ win over Washington and Lee in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 1, 1951 — the school’s first postseason victory. Melton coached high school football in the state before joining the Cowboys’ staff to assist Devaney.
“John’s one of the greats,” said former NU sports information director Don Bryant. “He was a good guy and a good coach for Bob, and he was a good coach for Tom, too.”
Melton was living in Eagle, Neb., with his wife, Margie.
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