Everyone has had a mentor who has helped at some point in their life. One of Tom Osborne’s mentors was D.B. Varner. Below he tells about the impact this Chacellor had on him.
“A mentor who has made a great deal of difference in my life is D.B. (Woody) Varner. Woody was the Chancellor of the University of Nebraska when I was a young coach in my 30’s. Woody and his wife Paula became good friends and I found him to be very supportive. Woody had many interests. He loved athletics (he was a fine basketball player at Texas A&M), he was very interested in the arts and was instrumental in building the Lied Center for the Performing Arts, he was very witty and was an excellent public speaker, and he had a great way of working with people.
I particularly appreciated Woody’s willingness to be supportive when things didn’t go well. The first five times Nebraska played Oklahoma with me as the head coach, we lost, and this was very disturbing to Nebraska fans. On each one of those occasions where Nancy and I were sitting at home after losing to Oklahoma, there would be a knock on the door and Woody and Paula would come in and in the course of the next hour or two I would begin to feel that life was worth living again.
Having a friend like Woody, particularly one who is the University Chancellor, in your corner made a big difference. I will always appreciate his support and his friendship. He was a great mentor to me.” -Tom Osborne