Former Nebraska Football Coach Will Run For Congress

By Bob Melvin | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

( - Former University of Nebraska head football coach Tom Osborne said on Thursday that he will run for a seat in the US House of Representatives.

Speaking at Hastings College, in the town where he grew up and played college football, Osborne, a Republican, said he would seek to replace Representative Bill Barrett in elections next fall. Barrett, also a Republican, is retiring after five terms in office.

The race will mark the 62-year-old Osborne's first run for an elected office. The open seat represents Nebraska's 3rd District, which covers the western half of the state.

Wire service reports say that last week's decision by Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey not to seek re-election spurred speculation that Osborne might seek that Senate seat.

But at a news conference on Thursday, Osborne said representation of the rural 3rd District was a natural fit for him. He and his wife, Nancy, grew up in the district and own a vacation home in the area.

Osborne, a supporter of campaign finance reform, said he would not accept campaign donations greater than $300 from individuals.

He said he will focus on agricultural, small business and youth-oriented issues.

Osborne was head coach of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers for 25 years and led the football team to three national titles before retiring in 1997.

The other Republican in the race is David Hergert, a Scottsbluff-area agricultural businessman.