Shatel: Osborne going-away bash at CenturyLink to draw Switzer, Snyder

The Nebraska athletic department is throwing a going-away party for Tom Osborne at the CenturyLink Center on March 9.


You didn't think Tom Osborne was going to get off that easy, did you?

The Nebraska athletic department will throw the former athletic director and football coach a going-away bash on March 9 at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha. With Osborne's permission, of course.

“He said we could have one chance to do it,” Associate Athletic Director Paul Meyers said. “So we're going to do it right. It will be more like a celebration for Tom. We're bringing in legends of college sports and entertainment from Las Vegas and Florida.”

Meyers said invitation letters to sports and entertainment celebrities just went out, but so far a pair of Barrys — Switzer and Alvarez — have committed to attend. Also, Scott Frost, Bill Snyder and Craig Bohl. The event will be emceed by Chris Fowler of ESPN and have a “SportsCenter” feel, with a sideline reporter also interviewing celebrities in the crowd.

Tables of 10 seats are being sold for $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500. Individual seats will also be sold for $1,000, $500 and $250. Proceeds from the event will go toward Osborne's “Teammates” foundation and the new Research Facility that is being built in the east stadium expansion of Memorial Stadium. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Husker Athletic Fund at 402-472-2367 or through the Husker Athletic Fund at huskers.com. There will be a cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 7.

What do you think? Should they invite Bill McCartney or Howard Schnellenberger, too?

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» Doug McDermott says he wasn't watching ESPN “GameDay” on Saturday morning, when Digger Phelps compared him to Larry Bird and Jay Bilas acknowledged McDermott's “Bird-like game.”

He was still sleeping, after a late night traveling back from Springfield, Mo. — where he wowed the college hoops world by dropping 39 points on Missouri State. But he wasn't too enthralled with the comparison.

“I don't really pay attention to it,” McDermott said. “Obviously, that's a long shot. You can't compare me to Larry Bird. It's cool that they're recognizing me like that, but that might be a little too far.”

McDermott said he got text messages from various media and friends around college basketball, including Missouri guard Phil Pressey, who said, “Pass the ball. You're selfish.”

» Sorry, but Peyton Manning is not in the “greatest of all time” quarterback debate. Maybe if you exclude January. But in many cases that's where this debate starts. It's hard to not root for Manning, especially with the class he showed going to see Ray Lewis after the game. But postseason record is so important. And consider this: Denver coach John Fox is getting a lot of heat for taking a knee at the end of regulation, and deservedly so. But maybe Fox didn't trust Manning, who had already thrown an interception, in a playoff setting.

» I love the fact that Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant got off a “practice” kick while Seattle coach Pete Carroll called time out to ice him (interestingly, Baltimore's kicker got off a “practice” kick while time was called before his game-winner at Denver). The NFL is a ruthless place and the gamesmanship is outstanding. I'm also tired of the “icing the kicker” strategy. Just play the game.

» Congrats to “Dr.” Sean Fisher on his decision to start the next chapter of his life, med school. His father, Todd, says Sean has several possibilities but hasn't decided on a school yet. May Fisher ace his tests, land a great job in Omaha, find a posh golf club to hang out at and see his critics on the operating table.

» I thought UNO hockey had a good weekend. Not a great one, but good. The Mavs needed to steal at least a point out of Denver, they couldn't get swept. Now the race starts and the WCHA is bunched up at the top. UNO needs to tighten the defense and goaltender John Faulkner has to be better than he was on Friday night. The fun starts again next week, at Bemidji State, which seems to own Dean Blais' team.

» Creighton coach Greg McDermott, on if he had ever made 14 straight shots in his career: “Yeah, layups.”

» Husker Hoops still doesn't have an opponent for opening night at the Pinnacle Bank Arena. I say go for Maryland. Big name. Future Big Ten foe. Coach Mark Turgeon's father lives in Lincoln, assistant Scott Spinelli coached at NU. If you have to go to Maryland once or twice to make it work, why not? NU will be headed to Terp Land soon enough anyway.

» I haven't heard a weather forecast for Feb. 9, the day of the big hockey event at TD Ameritrade. But MECA President Roger Dixon says his expectation is for a crowd of 15,000, with 24,000 seats available. I haven't seen a lot of advertising for the event yet, but Dixon says there will probably be a surge of marketing after the figure skating championships next week. Maybe there will be a last-minute run on tickets. Maybe people are waiting for the forecast.

» If you are a sports fan in Omaha or Nebraska, you owe it to yourself to see this Creighton team. These kinds of teams and seasons don't come along very often. Same for the guy wearing No. 3. Tonight's game will be fun, though not necessarily for D. McDermott. Nobody knows the McDermotts like UNI coach Ben Jacobson, and he'll no doubt have a defensive obstacle course for Doug to survive tonight.

» Some folks wonder if Rex Burkhead would be attractive to a coach like Bill Belichick. Absolutely. But isn't Burkhead's NFL role model, Danny Woodhead, already a Patriot? Hmmm. Woodhead is a free agent after this season. Patriots observers expect him to re-sign. Most likely, what Woodhead has done should open some other doors for Super Rex.

» One more and I'm outta here: Tyler Morris, the head boys basketball coach at Tekamah-Herman High School, says the school will have a second annual “Coaches vs. Cancer” event on Feb. 8 for the boys-girls doubleheader against North Bend Central. There will be activities during the games, including memorabilia signed by Johnny Unitas, John Wooden and former Husker Matt Davison. The event raised $3,520 last year and Morris hopes to get over $4,000 this year. Go for it.

Contact the writer:

402-444-1025, tom.shatel@owh.com, twitter.com/tomshatelOWH

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