Archive for Monday, December 23, 2002

Former football coach may run for governor

December 23, 2002


— Three years after former Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne stepped into the political arena, the Republican congressman could be setting his sights on the governor's seat.

When Osborne stepped down as Nebraska's winningest coach at the end of the 1997 season, he said it was to spend more time with his family and to nurture his youth mentoring program, TeamMates.

Little more than a year later, Osborne announced his candidacy for Nebraska's 3rd District Congressional seat - the one he now holds.

"I guess I'm not good at retiring," he said at the time.

This weekend, Osborne told the Omaha World-Herald he might be interested in a run for governor.

"I wouldn't rule anything out," Osborne told the newspaper in O'Neill, where he was traveling in the 3rd Congressional District.

"It is interesting the difference between being CEO - which is kind of what you are as a football coach -- compared to being somebody pretty far down the pecking order when you go to Congress," said Osborne, who was elected in November to his second term in Congress.

Osborne also told the newspaper that he rejected an offer last year from Gov. Mike Johanns to become lieutenant governor after then-Lt. Gov. Dave Maurstad resigned to take a job as a regional director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Johanns ultimately appointed Dave Heineman as lieutenant governor.

Osborne said he remained committed to the voters of the 3rd District. "I essentially told the 3rd District I would run for re-election and attempt to serve out at least two terms," Osborne said.

Johanns told The AP that he discussed the job of lieutenant governor with Osborne, but Osborne was not interested.

"When looking for a lieutenant governor we made a long list and a short list and on every list is Tom Osborne," Johanns said. "I ran it up the flag pole with him, and he wasn't interested. He thought he was where he should be."

Johanns said he would have picked Osborne if Osborne had wanted the job.

Johanns was elected in November to his second and final term as governor. He said many qualified Republicans - including Osborne - could be interested in running for governor in 2006, and he was not prepared to endorse anyone.

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