Farewell Turner Gill

While I wasn't fortunate enough to see Turner Gill play in a football game aside from what I have in my video collection, one does not need to see him in action to know that not only was he one of Nebraska's greatest quarterbacks, but he was one of the school and the state's finest young men. He was the young men who went from taking snaps under center to teaching young men how it's done.

Turner Gill, a three-time letter winner during his stay as a collegiate athlete, was the perfect story. A young man from Fort Worth, Texas who shunned his talent-rich state to play football in the middle of the country for a quiet, mild-mannered coach named Tom Osborne. The rest, as they say, is history. In listening to the press conference that took place earlier in the day, what you saw went past all of Turner's accolades, however. First things came first and he gave his glory to God and his family. Being the wife and children of a football coach on the level of Nebraska is a tough one. There are long nights, some that even blend into days but Turner's family has always remained a tight-knit group and loved him regardless of his presence.

Once Coach Gill made his way in the conference towards speaking about the players, he was audibly and visibly choked up. The countless relationships that Turner has made along the way with past, present and even some future Cornhuskers were obviously what Gill held closest to his heart. Being able to look a young quarterback in the eye and show them how to run the option to the Cottonball offense of 2003 to Head Coach Bill Callahan's version of the West Coast Offense this year. The man obviously has a lot of love in his heart and it showed today.

Gill has a number of notches in his belt as a coach, such as Tommie Frazier, Scott Frost, Eric Crouch and Jammal Lord, all of whom were drafted into the National Football League. Crouch, of course, won the 2001 Heisman Trophy while Frazier came in second in the voting. Gill was familiar with the Heisman hype himself being selected fourth on the ballot in 1983 during a period of one of Nebraska's most potent offenses in history. If history is any indication, however, it's not what Gill's charges did on the field that mattered most to him, but rather that they grow up to be fine young men who gave back to the community, much as he, himself, aspired to be.

What can be said of Turner Gill is something that we probably all wish can be said at each of our funerals. He is a kind man, a gentle man and one that you'd feel safe entrusting your children to as countless parents did over his 13 years at Nebraska. Turner would often find himself returning to the southern part of the country talking mothers and fathers into letting their youngsters grow and mature as men under his tutelage. It's rather difficult to see Turner go as he is one of the few ties to the Nebraska program as a number of individuals knew it.

Full-blown change is rarely welcome as a bevy of unknowns come into the equation and we, as humans, have a difficult time coping with the unknown. Suffice it to say that with the imprint that Turner Gill has left on this program, we will all be better for his sacrifices and his constant and obvious love for the University and the state of Nebraska. Turner loved this school and this state with the same passion he loves his wife and daughters and truly, it is sad to see him go. What Nebraska faces is a new dawn and a new day. There are new relationships to be forged and new traditions to begin. When one day ends, another eventually begins and with this in mind, we tip our hats to the player, the coach and the friend, Turner Gill.

Big Red Report Top Stories