Alberts: Success Depends on the People around You

“One of the great things about the University of Nebraska and Coach Tom Osborne was they really stressed the importance of being the total student-athlete. It was important that we were great football players, but we wanted to be great in the classroom and be great in the community. So we had a lot of help and a lot of support. This is a real honor, and we’re certainly grateful for the National Football Foundation to recognize both of those areas.”                           Trev Alberts, College Football Hall of Fame Inductee, Dec. 8, 2015

Video: Alberts Featured at Tuesday Night's Induction

Osborne: Trev Alberts Proof that 'Good Guys' Win

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Trev Alberts Tuesday reinforced something he’s always known. Sitting next to Oklahoma legendary linebacker Brian Bosworth at a 2015 College Football Hall of Fame press conference at New York’s fabled Waldorf Astoria Hotel, a kid from Iowa couldn’t help but smile prior to Tuesday night’s induction ceremony.

The "moment" finally arrived for Alberts to share college football’s highest honor with his family – wife Angie and their kids Chase, Ashtynne and Breanna. Ken Alberts, Trev’s dad, was there, along with Margaret Ludolph. Two coaches were part of Alberts’ entourage – Tom Osborne, his head coach, and Charlie McBride, the Huskers’ defensive coordinator, plus their wives, Nancy Osborne and Debbie McBride. Two Nebraska fellow Hall-of-Famers were also in New York to celebrate Alberts’ induction – Rich Glover and his wife, Sonja, and Tommie Frazier, and his wife Andrea. (Alberts is pictured below, flanked by Frazier, left, and Glover, right).

Administrators, Trainers Help Alberts Achieve His Sport's Pinnacle Honor

Four Nebraska athletic administrators were also in New York to support the 17th Husker player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame – Keith Zimmer (Life Skills, N-Club), Diane Mendenhall (Development), Chris Anderson (Community Relations) and Jo Potuto (Faculty Athletics Representative). Former football trainer Doak Ostergard was also on Alberts’ family guest list with his wife, Ruthie.

Surveying such a room that includes people that touched his life in a positive way, Alberts truly understood why he was among a room full of Hall-of-Fame inductees. “A lot of people made a really big commitment,” Alberts said. “At the end of the day, you realize that if you don’t have all those people behind the scenes supporting you, whether it’s in academics or needing an athletic trainer, you’re never going to achieve in those key areas without them.

“Success,” Alberts concluded, “is about the people around you. At Nebraska, we always had great coaches, great administrators, great people, great unity of purpose and a great sense of overall support. To have so many share this honor with me and our family is just spectacular. Seeing coaches and players who came before me gives you a sense of family and helps you understand what an incredible honor it is to represent our great state.”

From left: senior David White (96), junior Trev Alberts, coach Tony Samuel and senior captain Travis Hill (93).

Alberts Relished Seeing Tony Samuel, His Position Coach, in New York City

Alberts enjoyed reconnecting with Tony Samuel, who served as Nebraska’s defensive ends and outside linebackers coach from 1986 through 1996. Now the outside linebackers coach for Georgia State, Samuel attended Monday night's reception honoring the 2015 Hall of Fame class in New York. Samuel was unable, however, to attend Tuesday night's induction ceremony because Georgia State is preparing to play San Jose State at Orlando's Citrus Bowl on Dec. 19.

"It was great to see Tony," Alberts said. "He's a guy that really understood people and what made people tick. He didn’t treat every player the same. He actually got to know each of us, got to know what our strengths and our weaknesses were and tried to pull it all out of us. He interacted with me differently than he’d interact with other players. He knew his positions. He wasn’t a yeller. He was a teacher. He was a supporter. He knew when to pull back and when to push. I thought he was more of a psychologist than anything else, but also a great technician.”

A Trio of Incredible, Highly Valued Trainers Earned Alberts' Ultimate Respect

Alberts has equal respect for Nebraska’s training room that served him so well. “The whole group was incredible, he said. “Doak was certainly a part of keeping me honest and having a little fun, too. George Sullivan and Jerry Weber were fabulous. They were all absolutely critical to the success we had on the field.” Off the field, Zimmer and Dennis Leblanc, Nebraska’s senior administrator for academics, were the best in the business, according to Alberts. “Everyone played a part in this award,” he said. “It was a total team effort in every way because everyone bought into something bigger than themselves.”

New York City’s whirlwind of activity doesn’t necessarily match an Iowa native Cornhusker. “My dad’s pretty proud, but it probably hasn’t all sunk in yet,” Alberts told me. “It’s great to share an experience with family. I couldn’t earn an honor like this without my mom and dad and their commitment to their kids and the way they supported us. I think they went to every game I played in. The only exception was the game we played in Japan. It was pretty remarkable.”

Trev: As an Athletic Director, I Support the Kind of People Who Supported Me

For Trev Alberts, the vice chancellor for athletics at UNO, perspective sharpens focus, especially when the recipient tries to process and comprehend the highest honor in college football. “For me, this is a chance to pay it forward,” Alberts said. “As an athletic director, I can support the kind of people who supported me. I get to serve some of the student-athletes we have at UNO, and it’s really helped me to understand the total impact of support I had in Lincoln.

“If you’ve never worked behind the scenes, it’s hard to fathom the work that goes into helping someone be successful,” Alberts said. “Whether it’s a national championship, graduation or making the hall of fame, this experience has given me a perfect window into the commitment it takes. It’s an honor for me to be able to reciprocate in the only small way I can.”

Charlie McBride: Defensive Coordinator Praises Alberts’ Confidence, Habits

“Getting inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame is a big honor for Trev and big for Nebraska," said McBride (with Alberts and son above). "When you coach somebody who reaches the level Trev has and goes on to become a first-round draft pick, it makes you feel like your work wasn’t in vain. He’s a first-class person that you can always – always – depend on.

“He was a guy who would always come up with a big play when you needed one. He basically was a guy that was very smart and disciplined. If he made a mistake, he was hard on himself. We didn’t have to continually tell him if he was doing something right or wrong because he knew exactly what he was doing. He was easily motivated.

“Trev was well-rounded, but on the field, he was like a trained killer. I always said he was silent but deadly," McBride said. "I don’t remember Trev being a highly recruited guy. I do remember (the late) Coach (John) Melton recruiting him, and when he came back, his comment was very straightforward. John said: ‘We don’t have to look at the film. Trev's a player!' John was as good evaluating recruits as anyone I ever knew. He recruited Roger and Curtis Craig and a bunch of other great ones. He seemed to be about 99-percent right recruiting the state of Iowa."

McBride Not Surprised Alberts Equips Coaches with What They Need to Win

“It was exciting to watch Trev’s induction in New York," McBride said. "It was great. I’ve talked to him a few times after he got the UNO athletic director job. I’m not surprised UNO had one of the 'Frozen Four' hockey teams playing for the national championship. I can see how Trev would analyze the strengths and help that program become one of the nation’s best.

“Trev’s one of the most dependable people in the world, and I mean that both on and off the field. He’s never not thanked people who have helped him along the way. He sent me something after I retired, and I still have it on the wall at home. It says: ‘Congratulations on your outstanding career and a sincere thanks for the lessons you’ve taught me on and off the field’. Few people do that. It meant a lot to me in 2000 and still does. I have it sitting right where I put things.

“That was 15 years ago, and it showed how appreciative Trev is," McBride said. "I mean, it was diamond-shaped glass on a wooden stand. It had my name, that script, and was signed by Trev. That’s the kind of kid he is. He’s not an I or a me kind of guy. He’s a team guy. If you work for Trev, you better work your butt off. That’s the way he was, and that’s what probably makes him one heck of an athletic director.”  

17 Husker Players, 6 NU Coaches in College Football HOF

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