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HUSKER    DAN

2007 HUSKER DAN "DANNO AWARDS" FOR EXCELLENCE

Okay, Husker fans, now that college football awards have been handed out, the winner of the Super Bowl has been determined, the SAG Awards have been presented, the Emmy Awards are done until next year and the college football recruiting season has recently ended, it's now time to announce the winners of the prestigious 2007 Husker Dan "Danno Awards" For Excellence.

This is the first year these awards have been presented, but they will become an annual event from now on. It must be noted that not every award will be given each year. For example, because of the Huskers' "Bend AND Break" defense last year, there won't be any awards honoring the defense. To do so, would be disingenuous and void of an ounce common sense.

Without further adieu, let's get on to this year's winners.

The first award should actually be given last because it is the Mother Superior of the "Danno Awards". Each year, it will be given to (I'm quoting Rex Kramer from "Airplane!") "the Boss, the Head Man, Top Dog, the Big Cheese, the Head Honcho."

To be more specific, this award is to be given each year to the person who has had the greatest positive impact on the Nebraska Cornhusker football program. The winner might be a coach, an administrator, a major donor or a even a Husker football player.
2007 CORNHUSKER OF THE YEAR AWARD
Tom Osborne

This award was one of the easiest to decide. This fall, Tom Osborne was the right man at the right time at the right place to rescue the Nebraska football program. The program had been reeling from two losing seasons out of the past four. There is no one else in the universe for whom Husker fans have more respect and trust more to get the Husker football program back on track.

Tom came in as Interim A.D. in October and quickly earned the job full time. After the 2007 season ended, Tom Osborne fired Bill Callahan; conducted a search for a replacement and landed former Husker Defensive Coordinator Bo Pelini, who last year served as the Defensive Coordinator for the national champion LSU Tigers. Tom conducted the search decisively and in doing so, allowed Pelini time to assemble a staff and gave them time to finish strong in the 2008 Husker recruiting class.

Tom came back to save the program and did so by putting his own legacy in jeopardy. I join all Husker football fans in saluting Tom Osborne.
2007 HUSKER FAN OF THE YEAR AWARD
Betty Walker of Lincoln, CA

From this year on, the award will be known as "The Betty Walker Award" and will be given to the Husker football fan who demonstrates passion, commitment and enduring loyalty to the Husker football program. Betty rates at the top in every category. Betty has been a rabid Husker fan since the early 1950s. She can tell you about Tom Novak, Bobby Reynolds (she was there for his outstanding TD run against Missouri). She knows players, coaches, formations, schemes, broadcasters, recruits, great wins and gut wrenching losses. Sadly, Betty is in the fight for her life. During a recent phone conversation I had with her, she wished she could see just one more Husker football game.

To Betty: On behalf of all Husker football fans, we congratulate you and send our love and will include you in our prayers.
2007 BEST SPORTS SHOW AWARD (RADIO FORMAT)
"Unsportsmanlike Conduct" (1620 The Zone, Omaha, NE, hosted by Kevin Kugler and Mike'l Severe)

Kevin and Mike'l have teamed together to make "UC" a big hit in the sports radio scene. The show can be heard via the Internet and is broadcast from 2-6 p.m. (CST) week days. The chemistry between the two works very well. They are not homers and don't shy away from criticizing the Husker football program when they think it is deserving. They have segments on their program like "Bill From Lincoln" and "Did They Really Say That?" that are creative and often hilarious.
2007 BEST SPORTS SHOW AWARD (TELEVISION FORMAT)
"Big Red Wrap Up" (Kevin Kugler and Adrian Fiala-Nebraska Public Television)

Here's another trophy for Kevin Kugler. "BRWU" has been on Nebraska Public TV for decades, but ever since Kevin Kugler and Adrian Fiala took over, the program has greatly improved. "BRWU" features ex-Husker football players, broadcasters, coaches and local and regional sports writers who voice their opinions on Husker football. The show also emphasizes Husker recruiting. Jeremy Crabtree (Rivals.com) and Sean Callahan (Huskers Illustrated), who appear often on the show, help to keep viewers informed on all the latest Husker recruiting information.
2007 BEST SPORTS JOURNALIST AWARD (NEWSPAPER FORMAT)
Steve Sipple (Lincoln Journal Star)

This award is given to the sports journalist who through the breadth of his (or her) work, displays the best in his coverage of Husker football. This is not to say that the writer has to paint rosy pictures of the Huskers. What is essential, however, is that the writer be objective in his work. This year's recipient, Steve Sipple has been with the Journal for many years. His writing style is polished and professional. His appearances on "Big Red Wrap Up" and 1620 The Zone's "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" are informative and insightful.
2007 BEST SPORTS JOURNALIST AWARD (INTERNET FORMAT)
Steve "The Red Clad Loon" Smith

To give this award to anyone else, especially in this first year, would be silly. Steve Smith set the bar so high for Internet Husker sports writers, that I'm sure no one will ever come close to his talent. His passion for Husker football, his incredible sense of humor ("Elmer From Unadilla" is a classic) and his brilliant writing style, make him this year's winner-even though it's been several years since his pieces appeared on Huskerpedia.
2007 BEST SPORTS JOURNALIST AWARD (TELEVISION FORMAT)
Matt Schick (KETV Channel 7, Omaha, NE)

Matt is a television journalist who combines his passion for sports reporting with his sharp wit to produce sports segments that are creative and very funny. Matt has won this year's award despite being "just" the weekend sports anchor at KETV. Matt's blog "Schick's Shtick" (http://www.ketv.com/ssb/index.html) is something Husker football fans should read, especially during the football season. Matt also occasionally fills in on "Unsportsmanlike Conduct". Matt is a pleasant change to the sometimes banal world of local TV sports broadcasts.
2007 BEST HUSKER FOOTBALL MAGAZINE
Huskers Illustrated
Brian Hill, Editor and General Manager

Although Huskers Illustrated (www.huskersillustrated.com) has been published for many years, it remains an excellent resource for Husker football. Each week during the football season, H.I. does an in depth review of the previous week's game. There are many segments about coaches, present and past players and memorable games in Husker history. H.I. does a great job of keeping its readers informed on the status of Husker recruiting classes. Every serious Husker football fan should subscribe to this magazine.
2007 BEST HUSKER BOOK AWARD
David Kolowski
"Diary Of A Husker"

"Diary" was first released in '06 in a paperback version, but was published again last year in a hardback format. (Traditionally, books come out with the hardback copy first.) Be that as it may, this is an excellent book written by a former walk-on player from Millard West in Omaha. David was recruited to walk-on by Tom Osborne and played during the first 5 years of Frank Solich's six year stint at Nebraska. David was an obscure player, who played the most obscure position in football-that of deep snapper. I won't go into details of the book (I did a review of David's book on Huskerpedia about a year ago.) This book is a must for any true blue Husker fan.
2007 BEST HUSKER PLAY-BY-PLAY ANNOUNCER AWARD
Lyell Bremser KFAB

Although he passed away 18 years ago and hasn't called a Husker football game for over two decades, Lyell Bremser is most deserving of this award in its initial year. For Husker fans who are fortunate to have listened to Lyell Bremser do the Husker play-by-play broadcasts (1939-1983), you know what a great announcer he was. Lyell raised the bar so high, that he became the benchmark by which all other Husker announcers have been and will continue to be compared. His down-home style was simple-something every Husker fan could relate to. His classic broadcast of Johnny "The Jet" Rodgers' TD punt return in the 1971 "Game Of The Century" will forever be imbedded in the memory of Husker football fans.
2007 BEST COLOR BROADCASTER AWARD (RADIO FORMAT)
Matt "Nice Catch" Davison

This year's winner could qualify under a couple of categories-color for both radio and television. Matt has done color commentary for several of the Huskers' nationally televised football games. He also appears each week on KFAB's Husker pre-game coverage and does sideline reporting during the games. Matt brings a great perspective to his work. Whatever else he may do in his life, he will be forever remembered for his "Miracle In Missouri" catch in the 1997 Husker game at Missouri. Had Matt not made the catch, the Huskers would not have been able to win a national championship in Tom Osborne's final year as the Husker head football coach.
2007 BEST MOVIE "JOCKUMENTARY" AWARD
"We Are Marshall"
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Fox, Anthony Mackie and David Strathairn
Although the movie was originally released in theaters in 2006, it came out on HBO and in a DVD format last year. "WAM" is an excellent movie with Matthew McConaughey delivering a fine performance as the Marshall head football coach, Jack Lengyel. The movie is predictable, but manages to avoid being sappy. For all those Husker fans who think their world ended with the Huskers having two losing seasons out of the past four, you need to get a dose of reality. Be thankful, Husker fans, for what you DO have.
2007 HUSKER SPIRIT AWARDS
These awards will be given to those people or organizations who exemplify all the best in Husker football. They work behind the scenes doing great things to better our world.
The American Soldier
To all you brave men and women serving in the military overseas, we salute you and your mission. We pray for your safe return to your families. We can not possibly thank you enough for your bravery and dedication to your country.
Northeast Kansans For Nebraska
Gary McGirr, President

This Husker alumni organization goes quietly about its business doing great things for charities in the Topeka, Kansas area. They also help raise money for scholarships to the University of Nebraska. And for the past several years, NKFN have enabled Husker Dan's Army to exist. They gather money so that Husker Care Packages can be sent to members of our military who are serving their country in the Middle East. Without Gary's help, HDA would simply not exist. I salute you and the rest of the great people with the Northeast Kansans For Nebraska.
SHOT KLEEN (HUSKERVISION)
University of Nebraska Lincoln

Shot Kleen, with HuskerVision at UNL, has teamed up with the Northeast Kansans For Nebraska and Husker Dan's Army to send DVDs of Husker football games to soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. The DVDs give the soldiers a touch of home. I thank you, Shot, for your help. You are a great Husker and a great American!
THE RED ZONE
Omaha, NE

With the help of an arrangement with the Northeast Kansans For Nebraska and Husker Dan's Army, the Red Zone in Omaha bundles up Husker Care Packages (for every $100 we raise) and ships them overseas. These packages, filled with Husker memorabilia, are a big hit with soldiers serving in the Middle East. Thanks for all you do!
Huskerpedia.com
David Max and Joe Hudson

These two people started Huskerpedia and have continued to maintain it for several years. During that time, they have given thousands of Husker fans throughout the world a means of keeping current in the world of Husker football. Also, without their help, Husker Dan's Army would never have been possible. Thanks David and Joe!

And there you have it, please give it up (whatever that means) for this year's winners!

If you'd like to give Husker Dan a piece of your mind you may email Husker Dan at huskerdan@cox.net.  For past Husker Dan columns, click here.