Former Nebraska quarterback David Humm may be a footnote to most college football fans, but to Big Red Nation, Humm takes his place alongside Mike Rozier, Tommie Frazier and the other latter-day legends of Cornhusker football. A three-year starter from 1972-74, Humm bridged the eras of Nebraska's two greatest coaches, quarterbacking Bob Devaney's last Husker team and Tom Osborne's first. For Humm's three seasons under center, the Huskers went 27â7â2, including three bowl wins.
Following a 10-year NFL career, Humm's life took a difficult turn with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, eventually costing the mobile Husker great the use of his legs. But his Husker family hadn't forgotten him, and his story prompted the creation of one of college sports' unique outreach programs, one that proves that Nebraska's college athletes have earned a permanent place in the hearts of Cornhusker State residents.
David Max, the founder of the popular HuskerMax Nebraska fansite, learned of Humm's predicament and felt called to do something about it. The result: the Husker Greats Foundation, created by Max and former Husker linebacker and prominent booster Jerry Murtaugh. Modeled after Mike Ditka's Gridiron Greats, which seeks to care for former NFL players in financial need due to circumstances beyond their control, the Husker Greats Foundation recognizes that an athlete's connection to the state doesn't end after three or four years on the playing field or the court, particularly when that athlete needs help.
The expressed mission of the Husker Greats Foundation is to provide medical and emergency assistance to former athletes who lettered in sports while attending a university or college in the state of Nebraska. Humm was among the first recipients of the Foundation's support in the form of assistance in covering his home-care costs.
Despite its close ties to the University of Nebraska, including its name, Husker Greats does not limit its support to UN-Lincoln alumni. Rather, it is available to any letter-winner from any university or college in the state.
The Foundation, which has the full support of Osborne and the University, is structured so that payments will be made directly to medical professionals providing services to qualifying recipients. Supporters' tax-deductible donations will relieve the financial burden on the former student-athletes, allowing them to focus on their recovery.
A great Husker memory-maker, Trev Alberts captures what it means to be a Cornhusker for life in his foreword to Athlon's book, "Game Day Nebraska Football": âThe first time I learned what it meant to be a Husker was running into Memorial Stadium as a redshirt freshman. It was daunting as 80,000 dressed in red stood in an almost reverential way and saluted their Huskers. I couldnât feel the turf. My knees were weak. I understood this wasnât our team. This wasnât even Coach Osborneâs team. This was Nebraskaâs team!â
And Nebraska takes care of its own â even long after the cheers have died down.
Visit the organization's website â Huskergreatsfoundation.org â for more information or to make a donation to this worthy cause.