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Gunnery Sgt. Andres Zayas gives Dr. Tom Osborne his undivided attention at the University of Nebraska athletics department conference room Sept. 23. Osborne took time out of his busy schedule to speak to the Marines of Recruiting Station Des Moines about leadership. Osborne is fifth on the all-time college coaches list for wins.

Photo by Cpl. Bryan A. Peterson

Coaching legend delivers message of leadership to RS Des Moines recruiters: “We never promised them anything…”

23 Sep 2008 |

“Unless a life is lived for others, it is not worth living.” -- Mother Theresa

     “Be more concerned with character than reputation, because your character is what you really are and your reputation is merely what others think you are.” -- John Wooden, college basketball hall of fame coach

     He may not have penned these words, but Dr. Tom Osborne says he has lived by them throughout his life as a college football hall of fame coach who won three national championships, a National Football League player, a Nebraska Congressman, an Army National Guardsman, and now the University of Nebraska athletic director.

    Conveying how these words could even make Marine recruiters better leaders was Osborne’s task Sept. 23 as he huddled with 30 Marines from Recruiting Station Des Moines standing tall in the Cornhusker’s athletics department as if a general just stepped on deck.

Osborne told the Marines that a true leader has to be honest, have great character and be consistent.

“In my 25 years as head coach, we won 84 percent of our games,” said the fifth all-time winningest college football coach. “The reason was (that) we were consistent with our players. We never promised them anything; only (offered) the chance to prove themselves.”

 Osborne spent most of his time speaking on two types of leadership: transactional and transformational. Transactional is a cause and effect style, while transformational requires a leader to be the role model.

“Both types of leadership work,” Osborne said.  “With (transactional), you can see where a (person) stands, provide guidance to fix the problem and then give praise or punishment (depending on the outcome). This happens all the time in the Marines, I am sure. You get an award for doing well, and you get yelled at for doing something wrong.

Alternately, transformational leadership, he says, is where trust can be established.

“The Marine who is consistently honest and a genuinely caring person will garner respect and honesty from anyone following him,” Osborne said.

Staff Sgt. Luke S. Telford, an officer selection assistant with Officer Selection Team Lincoln, said Osborne’s style of leadership can work anywhere.

“He’s absolutely right,” Telford said. “If anyone looks at this guy’s coaching record, they see consistency. He’s just a natural leader. A lot of coaches try to emulate him and his leadership doctrine because it just works. All of us got a glimpse of the inner workings of a man who has taught and led his whole life. Today was truly amazing.”

 Recruiting Station Des Moines Commanding Officer Maj. Sean Quinlan sought this opportunity with Osborne to reward his recruiters for a job well done during the past fiscal year.

“These guys work until 10 p.m. or even later, because this job is tough,” Quinlan said. “My hat is off to the efforts and sacrifices of these Marines. Most of the recruiters are sports fans and the ones who work in Nebraska are Cornhuskers fans.”

When the Marines gave Osborne a standing ovation after concluding his remarks, Osborne immediately responded with praise for them.

     “I have nothing but respect for all that the Marines do,” Osborne reciprocated. “My guys wouldn’t be out there all these years if it weren’t for people like the Marines. They are sacrificing their time as recruiters away from their families and even sometimes their lives in combat for others (back home) who they will never meet. They have the courage to do that because they love this country and its way of life. I am honored today to be in the Marines’ presence.” 

    He may not have penned these words, but Dr. Tom Osborne says he has lived by them throughout his life as a college football hall of fame coach who won three national championships, a National Football League player, a Nebraska Congressman, an Army National Guardsman, and now the University of Nebraska athletic director.

Conveying how these words could even make Marine recruiters better leaders was Osborne’s task Sept. 23 as he huddled with 30 Marines from Recruiting Station Des Moines standing tall in the Cornhusker’s athletics department as if a general just stepped on deck.

Osborne told the Marines that a true leader has to be honest, have great character and be consistent.

“In my 25 years as head coach, we won 84 percent of our games,” said the fifth all-time winningest college football coach. “The reason was (that) we were consistent with our players. We never promised them anything; only (offered) the chance to prove themselves.”

 Osborne spent most of his time speaking on two types of leadership: transactional and transformational. Transactional is a cause and effect style, while transformational requires a leader to be the role model.

“Both types of leadership work,” Osborne said.  “With (transactional), you can see where a (person) stands, provide guidance to fix the problem and then give praise or punishment (depending on the outcome). This happens all the time in the Marines, I am sure. You get an award for doing well, and you get yelled at for doing something wrong.

Alternately, transformational leadership, he says, is where trust can be established.

“The Marine who is consistently honest and a genuinely caring person will garner respect and honesty from anyone following him,” Osborne said.

Staff Sgt. Luke S. Telford, an officer selection assistant with Officer Selection Team Lincoln, said Osborne’s style of leadership can work anywhere.

“He’s absolutely right,” Telford said. “If anyone looks at this guy’s coaching record, they see consistency. He’s just a natural leader. A lot of coaches try to emulate him and his leadership doctrine because it just works. All of us got a glimpse of the inner workings of a man who has taught and led his whole life. Today was truly amazing.”

Recruiting Station Des Moines Commanding Officer Maj. Sean Quinlan sought this opportunity with Osborne to reward his recruiters for a job well done during the past fiscal year.

“These guys work until 10 p.m. or even later, because this job is tough,” Quinlan said. “My hat is off to the efforts  

He may not have penned these words, but Dr. Tom Osborne says he has lived by them throughout his life as a college football hall of fame coach who won three national championships, a National Football League player, a Nebraska Congressman, an Army National Guardsman, and now the University of Nebraska athletic director.

Conveying how these words could even make Marine recruiters better leaders was Osborne’s task Sept. 23 as he huddled with 30 Marines from Recruiting Station Des Moines standing tall in the Cornhusker’s athletics department as if a general just stepped on deck.

Osborne told the Marines that a true leader has to be honest, have great character and be consistent.

“In my 25 years as head coach, we won 84 percent of our games,” said the fifth all-time winningest college football coach. “The reason was (that) we were consistent with our players. We never promised them anything; only (offered) the chance to prove themselves.”

 Osborne spent most of his time speaking on two types of leadership: transactional and transformational. Transactional is a cause and effect style, while transformational requires a leader to be the role model.

“Both types of leadership work,” Osborne said.  “With (transactional), you can see where a (person) stands, provide guidance to fix the problem and then give praise or punishment (depending on the outcome). This happens all the time in the Marines, I am sure. You get an award for doing well, and you get yelled at for doing something wrong.

Alternately, transformational leadership, he says, is where trust can be established.

“The Marine who is consistently honest and a genuinely caring person will garner respect and honesty from anyone following him,” Osborne said.

Staff Sgt. Luke S. Telford, an officer selection assistant with Officer Selection Team Lincoln, said Osborne’s style of leadership can work anywhere.

“He’s absolutely right,” Telford said. “If anyone looks at this guy’s coaching record, they see consistency. He’s just a natural leader. A lot of coaches try to emulate him and his leadership doctrine because it just works. All of us got a glimpse of the inner workings of a man who has taught and led his whole life. Today was truly amazing.”

Recruiting Station Des Moines Commanding Officer Maj. Sean Quinlan sought this opportunity with Osborne to reward his recruiters for a job well done during the past fiscal year.

“These guys work until 10 p.m. or even later, because this job is tough,” Quinlan said. “My hat is off to the efforts and sacrifices of these Marines. Most of the recruiters are sports fans and the ones who work in Nebraska are Cornhuskers fans.”

When the Marines gave Osborne a standing ovation after concluding his remarks, Osborne immediately responded with praise for them.

“I have nothing but respect for all that the Marines do,” Osborne reciprocated. “My guys wouldn’t be out there all these years if it weren’t for people like the Marines. They are sacrificing their time as recruiters away from their families and even sometimes their lives in combat for others (back home) who they will never meet. They have the courage to do that because they love this country and its way of life. I am honored today to be in the Marines’ presence.”and sacrifices of these Marines. Most of the recruiters are sports fans and the ones who work in Nebraska are Cornhuskers fans.”

When the Marines gave Osborne a standing ovation after concluding his remarks, Osborne immediately responded with praise for them.

“I have nothing but respect for all that the Marines do,” Osborne reciprocated. “My guys wouldn’t be out there all these years if it weren’t for people like the Marines. They are sacrificing their time as recruiters away from their families and even sometimes their lives in combat for others (back home) who they will never meet. They have the courage to do that because they love this country and its way of life. I am honored today to be in the Marines’ presence.”r, a Nebraska Congressman, an Army National Guardsman, and now the University of Nebraska athletic director.

Conveying how these words could even make Marine recruiters better leaders was Osborne’s task Sept. 23 as he huddled with 30 Marines from Recruiting Station Des Moines standing tall in the Cornhusker’s athletics department as if a general just stepped on deck.

Osborne told the Marines that a true leader has to be honest, have great character and be consistent.

“In my 25 years as head coach, we won 84 percent of our games,” said the fifth all-time winningest college football coach. “The reason was (that) we were consistent with our players. We never promised them anything; only (offered) the chance to prove themselves.”

 Osborne spent most of his time speaking on two types of leadership: transactional and transformational. Transactional is a cause and effect style, while transformational requires a leader to be the role model.

“Both types of leadership work,” Osborne said.  “With (transactional), you can see where a (person) stands, provide guidance to fix the problem and then give praise or punishment (depending on the outcome). This happens all the time in the Marines, I am sure. You get an award for doing well, and you get yelled at for doing something wrong.

Alternately, transformational leadership, he says, is where trust can be established.

“The Marine who is consistently honest and a genuinely caring person will garner respect and honesty from anyone following him,” Osborne said.

Staff Sgt. Luke S. Telford, an officer selection assistant with Officer Selection Team Lincoln, said Osborne’s style of leadership can work anywhere.

“He’s absolutely right,” Telford said. “If anyone looks at this guy’s coaching record, they see consistency. He’s just a natural leader. A lot of coaches try to emulate him and his leadership doctrine because it just works. All of us got a glimpse of the inner workings of a man who has taught and led his whole life. Today was truly amazing.”

Recruiting Station Des Moines Commanding Officer Maj. Sean Quinlan sought this opportunity with Osborne to reward his recruiters for a job well done during the past fiscal year.

“These guys work until 10 p.m. or even later, because this job is tough,” Quinlan said. “My hat is off to the efforts and sacrifices of these Marines. Most of the recruiters are sports fans and the ones who work in Nebraska are Cornhuskers fans.”

When the Marines gave Osborne a standing ovation after concluding his remarks, Osborne immediately responded with praise for them.

“I have nothing but respect for all that the Marines do,” Osborne reciprocated. “My guys wouldn’t be out there all these years if it weren’t for people like the Marines. They are sacrificing their time as recruiters away from their families and even sometimes their lives in combat for others (back home) who they will never meet. They have the courage to do that because they love this country and its way of life. I am honored today to be in the Marines’ presence.”
9th Marine Corps District