NU's McBride goes out a winner
BY STEVEN M. SIPPLE Lincoln Journal Star
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Charlie McBride showed he's pretty good about keeping a secret.
But late Sunday night, after Nebraska's 31-21 Fiesta Bowl victory against Tennessee, McBride let out the secret.
He's retiring, effective immediately.
"This is my 37th year of coaching," the Husker defensive coordinator told reporters at a postgame news conference. "Over the past few years, I've contemplated retirement. Tonight I didn't want to take anything away from this football team
with that kind of announcement. But eventually, it got out."
Nebraska senior rover Mike Brown spoke to reporters about 10 minutes before McBride stepped to the podium with his wife, Debbie. And it was Brown who confirmed what some had been speculating in the week leading to the game.
"He's a tremendous coach," said Brown, named defensive player of the game. "He has so much respect on this team. He puts his heart into it. He's going to be missed, and we love him dearly."
Brown said he was one of about five players who knew before the game that McBride planned to retire.
"It's just not his style to tell people so that they'll play hard," Brown said. "He went about it quietly, and now he'll go live his life."
Nebraska senior tackle Steve Warren said sending McBride out a winner was foremost in his mind.
"I don't think a lot of us would have been able to live with ourselves if we had lost Coach McBride's last game," Warren said.
Nebraska's victory capped McBride's 23rd season on the NU staff and his 18th as the defensive coordinator.
McBride put together a dominant defense this season. Entering the Fiesta Bowl, the Huskers ranked in the top six nationally in all four major defensive categories. It marks the third time in the past six seasons and just the fifth time since 1946 that NU
has finished in the top 10 in all four major categories.
The 60-year-old McBride directed four of those five defenses.
Nebraska's defense -- nicknamed the Blackshirts -- was at its best down the stretch this season. The Huskers posted a shutout against Texas A&M, then forced five turnovers in a 41-15 dismantling of previously unbeaten Kansas State.
Nebraska shut down Texas in a 22-6 victory in the Big 12 title game before controlling Tennessee for much of Sunday's win, which lifted the Huskers' record to 12-1.
"Winning this game is great, because it gives Coach (Frank) Solich another win and it sends Coach McBride out with a victory," said Nebraska senior cornerback Ralph Brown.
McBride said it was important to give credit to his wife.
"She's a legitimate coach's wife and raised three legitimately great sons," he said.
Mike Brown said McBride was
"kind of crying" after the game when he addressed the players.
"He'll move onto a new chapter in his life, and I'm sure I'll keep in touch with him."
McBride was a graduate assistant at Colorado when he was hired by Arizona State Coach Frank Kush in 1967. His first victory as a full-time assistant came in Sun Devil Stadium. And so does his last.
"I had my first win here, and my last win here," he said. "It's time to pull the plug."