Osborne responds to insults linked to Callahan

OMAHA, Neb. -- Nebraska interim athletic director Tom
Osborne responded Thursday to reports that football coach Bill
Callahan said the former coach was "trying to run things from
Washington" while he was a U.S. congressman.

Callahan allegedly called Osborne a "crusty old [expletive],"
according to former Nebraska football trainer Doak Ostergard, who
is quoted in a book to be self-published by a student at the
University of Nebraska.

Osborne became interim athletic director this week when Steve
Pederson was fired after several dismal performances by the
football team.

"I understand that head football coaches, like everyone else,
have emotions," Osborne said Thursday. "I'm not surprised that my
long-term influence on the program could sometimes be felt as a
controlling force even while I was away, but that was never the

In a statement Thursday, Callahan didn't deny the reported
comments, but said he's had a great deal of respect for Osborne
since he started coaching.

"We embrace Coach Osborne and everything he stands for,"
Callahan said.

"The Nebraska Way," by Jonathan Crowl, is expected to be
available in some bookstores by early November. It's being
published by iUniverse Inc., which lets authors pay to publish
their work, according to its Web site.

Crowl provided an early copy to the Daily Nebraskan, the
university's student newspaper, where Crowl is a sports reporter
covering the football team.

Ostergard didn't immediately return a message left by The
Associated Press on Thursday. He told the Omaha World-Herald
Wednesday that the book was accurate.

Ostergard, a 1984 Nebraska graduate from Gothenburg, was on the
athletic training staff for 18 years and head football trainer for
nine. He was hired by Osborne and retained by Frank Solich and

Ostergard said in February he wasn't given a reason for his
dismissal, and Callahan and Pederson wouldn't discuss Ostergard's
departure at the time.

The book also quotes former players -- including Mike Minter -- on
accounts of animosity in the athletic department during Pederson's

Minter, who spent 10 years with the Carolina Panthers, told the
Daily Nebraskan that when he played under Osborne, "It felt like a
family atmosphere."

"Now it's like Fort Knox," Minter said.

Osborne already has apparently relaxed the atmosphere, e-mailing
former players Wednesday and telling them to "feel free to come
visit us -- anytime."