H U S K E R D A N
2009 HUSKER DAN "DANNO" AWARDS
Okay, it's time to announce the winners of the Third Annual Husker Dan "Danno" awards. Each year we try to recognize some of the best in the world of Nebraska football. This year's selection was made by the entire Husker Dan staff who are underpaid, under appreciated, overworked, and mostly over sixty.
Our first award is one that is given each year to the person or entity that has had the greatest positive impact on the state of Nebraska and the Husker football program. The past two winners have been Tom Osborne (2007) and The American Veterans and Troopers (2008).
THE 2009 CORNHUSKER OF THE YEAR AWARD
As with the first two winners, this year's recipient was an easy one to select. Tom Osborne won it in '07 because he almost single-handily saved the Husker football program from the brink of disaster.
And last year, we honored the brave men and women in our military who for many years have had the awesome responsibility of protecting and defending our country. Due to their sacrifices, we are able to enjoy, among other blessings, such things as Nebraska football.
And this year's selection, Ndamukong Suh, represents all that is good about the Nebraska football program.
Suh became the most decorated defensive player in Nebraska football history. You have to go back to the days of Rich Glover to find a Husker defensive lineman who comes close to having the impact on a game that Ndamukong Suh had last year. At 6'3" and 300 pounds, he became the leader of a Husker defense that led the nation in scoring defense. Opposing offenses always had to know where #93 was. Often, he was almost a one man wrecking crew in his pursuit of opposing quarterbacks. Suh, a native of Portland, Oregon considered transferring after Bill Callahan and most of his staff were fired at the end of the Suh's sophomore season in 2007.
But thanks to the efforts of Husker head football coach, Bo Pelini, Suh was persuaded to stay put. Suh also decided not to enter last year's NFL draft so that he could complete his senior year at Nebraska.
And what a great thing it was for Suh and for every Husker football fan that he stayed! For most of the 2009 season, Suh was the poster child for the Nebraska football program.
By staying at Nebraska, Suh was able to cap off his senior year at Nebraska by being named the AP National Player of the Year and a First Team All American. He also won the Lombardi Award, Chuck Bednarek Award, the Outland Trophy, Bronko Nagurski Award and finished fourth in the Heisman voting. Largely because of Ndamukong Suh, the Nebraska football program returned to national prominence.
Suh is projected to be an early draft choice in this year's NFL draft. In fact, he has a good chance of becoming Nebraska's first top NFL pick since Irving Fryar in the 1984.
It may be many years before Husker fans see a player the likes of Ndamukong Suh. All of Husker Pride Worldwide wishes you all the best!
THE 2009 BETTY WALKER AWARD
This award is given each year in the spirit of Betty Walker who was a rabid Husker football fan and a big supporter of our men and women in the military. It was Betty who was the first one to step up to donate to Husker Dan's Army. She continued to contribute to HDA even while she was losing her battle with cancer. Sadly, her long struggle ended in January of 2008. She was the first recipient of the award that now bears her name.
This year's winner is David Fiala, who is a former Husker fullback who lettered in '92 and '93. David is the owner of FuturesOne, a commodities brokerage firm in Lincoln, Nebraska http://www.futuresone.com/ . For the past several years, David has made it possible for 100s of military veterans, troopers and their families to enjoy a "Husker Fans' Salute To The Troops" weekend in Lincoln at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel. Our third annual "Salute" event is scheduled for the weekend of September 18th and 19th. (See www.huskersalute.org,)
David has been a loyal Husker football fan for many years and we are extremely grateful for all he has done to honor the brave men and women in the armed forces who have served this great country of ours. We can think of no one more deserving of this award than David Fiala.
THE 2009 BEST RADIO COLORMAN AWARD
This year's winner, Adrian Fiala, has been associated with Husker football for over 40 years, dating back to the days when he was a linebacker ('67-'69) for Nebraska under legendary coach, Bob Devaney. In addition to his football talent, Adrian was also good enough in baseball to be drafted out of high school by the Baltimore Orioles. He opted instead, to take a football scholarship to the University of Nebraska. Adrian has also practiced law and is a very successful business man in Lincoln, Nebraska.
As most Husker fans know, Adrian has done color commentary for Husker football and baseball games for many years. He also has teams with Kevin Kugler each summer as the color guy on Westwood One's College World Series broadcasts.
It was therefore stunning when Husker fans learned recently that Adrian was informed by Dave Witty with the Husker Sports Network that he (Adrian) would not be coming back as part of this fall's Husker football broadcast team. And with that announcement, his 15 year broadcasting career with the University of Nebraska apparently has ended. What makes Adrian's dismissal so hard to comphrehend, is that he has always been the consummate professional. He does his homework; he is dedicated and has been a long time goodwill ambassador for the University of Nebraska.
But thankfully, Husker fans will still be able to see Adrian along with co-host Kevin Kugler this fall on NET's "Big Red Wrap Up" aired weekly during the football season.
All Husker fans congratulate Adrian for his outstanding Husker broadcasting career and wish him all the best in the future.
THE 2009 BEST MUSICAL GROUP AWARD
Joyce Durand and the Sidetrack Band
For a very long time, the Sidetrack Band has been a must see for Husker fans, especially those making their first pilgrimage to the Mecca of college football in Lincoln. Before (and sometimes after) each Husker home football game, people line up for blocks for a chance to see Joyce and The Sidetrack Band perform at the Sidetrack bar in beautiful downtown Lincoln. The trademark of this band is the funny and often ribald lyrics they use for their songs.
Grab the kiddos, this ain't a band that's likely to be seen on "Sesame Street" or "Elmo" any time soon. But for grown-ups who like to consume copious amounts of adult beverages and love to have a great time, the Sidetrack Band is what the doctor ordered.
2009 BEST SPORTS SHOW AWARD IN A TV FORMAT
"Big Red Wrap Up"
This program is televised on NET each week during the Husker football season. As noted above, Kevin Kugler and Adrian Fiala are the show's co-hosts. This is the program's third consecutive Danno award. Keep up the great work!
2009 BEST SPORTS SHOW AWARD IN A RADIO FORMAT
"Unsportsmanlike Conduct" (1620 The Zone)
Kevin Kugler and Mike'l Severe
It's no wonder that this radio show continues to climb in the ratings each year. Co-hosts Kevin Kugler and Mike'l Severe have found the right mixture of jock-talk, sports interviews and humor that keep thousands of Husker football fans tuning in each day. This is "UC's" third consecutive award.
2009 BEST JOCKUMENTARY FILM
"The Blind Side"
Starring Sandra Bullock, Kathy Bates and Quinton Aaron.
This movie is based on the true story of Michael Ohre, who as a teenager, was losing his battle to survive in a hostile environment filled with gangs and drugs. It looked as if he was destined to spend the rest of his life there until Leigh Anne Tuohy, played by Sandra Bullock, threw him a lifeline.
While the movie is about football, it's more about the game of life. It's a film about faith, family, tradition, honesty, integrity and character. Despite a few cuss words, "Blind Side" is a movie that the entire family can enjoy. For her performance in this movie, Sandra Bullock won an Academy Award for Best Actress.
2009 BEST PATRIOTIC MOVIE
HBO movie starring Kevin Bacon
This film is an emotional account of Marine Lt. Col. Michael Strobl (played by Kevin Bacon) who volunteeres to escort the body of Marine Pfc. Chance Phelps from Dover, Delaware to a small town in Wyoming for burial. (Pfc. Phelps was killed in action in Iraq.) The movie is based on a true story. Don't miss this one. I repeat, do NOT miss this film.
2009 HUSKER SPIRIT AWARDS
The Husker Elvises (http://huskerelvis.net/)
The three Brew brothers who grew up in Alliance, Nebraska have entertained thousands of Husker fans at Husker home and away football games for many years. The Brews (minus brother Steve who recently passed away) wear period Elvis costumes and wigs. They charm Husker fans by performing classic Elvis Presley tunes sung with lyrics about Husker football. T.H.E. are great goodwill ambassadors for Husker football and the state of Nebraska.
Larry The Cable Guy
"Git 'R Done" is what Larry The Cable Guy (Dan Whitney) has been doing for years. Whitney, from Pawnee City, Nebraska is the hottest comedian in the business. He draws large, enthusiastic crowds and commands top dollar for his performances. But as famous as Dan has become, he has not abandoned his Nebraska roots or his old fashioned values. He is also a huge supporter of our military and, or course, Husker football.
One of the best things about writing this column is getting to meet the great people in and around the world of Husker football. Dean Jacobs http://www.travel4life.org/ and I got to know each other this past year because of his work as a sports photographer for the Fremont Tribune. His pictures of the Husker football team in action are exceptional.
Dean is also a published author ("Wonderous Journey"), an educator and a very gifted speaker. He has filmed 45 countries. Perhaps his most noteworthy assignment was the seven months he spent in Rawanda, South Africa photographing and writing about the Gorillas Of The Mist as part of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
We salute Dean Jacobs, a very talented photojournalist and a great Nebraskan.
The Red Zone
Steve and Sherry Clark
The Red Zone (http://www.nebraskaredzone.com/) is a Husker sports apparel store with locations at Oakview Mall and the Westroads Mall in Omaha. For the past several years, Red Zopne owner, Steve Clark and his mother, Sherry have coordinated the shipping and handling of the Husker Care Packages we send to troopers who are deployed in the Middle East. To register for Husker Dan's Army, go to HuskerDan@cox.net. The Husker Care Packages are filled with Husker goodies such as hats, caps, T-shirts, Husker media guides, coins and flags. We thank Steve and Sherry for their help.
Capt. Jonathan Harvey
Ft. Bragg, NC
Without Jonathan Harvey, our annual "Husker Fans' Salute To The Troops" event would not have been possible. Jonathan, who grew up in Nebraska City, has devoted countless hours of his time to ensure the success of our annual "Salute" celebrations. Jonathan also just returned from Haiti where he spent long hours helping the citizens of that country recover from the devastating effects of the earthquake that left most of that country in ruins. We salute you, Jonathan!