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Published Monday, January 3, 2000

Defensive coordinator McBride announces retirement

Last modified at 1:09 a.m. on Monday, January 3, 2000

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   By Bob Schaller
For the Independent

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Charlie McBride wiped away tears as the scoreboard indicated Tennessee was wiping away Nebraska, the final seconds ticking away on both the Huskers season and McBride's career Sunday night at the Fiesta Bowl.

After giving out "about two dozen more" than usual post-game hugs on the field, McBride announced that after a 37-year coaching career, including 23 at Nebraska (the last 18 as defensive coordinator), he was stepping down.

"I'm going to pull the plug," McBride said. "The last few years, I've contemplated retirement."

Ironically, McBride's last win as a college football coach came in the same stadium where his first win came -- as an assistant at Arizona State to Frank Kush in 1970.

McBride, who sat after the game next to his wife, Debbie, said he knew before the season started that this one would be his final.

"I didn't want to take away from this football team, and from this big win tonight," McBride said.

Head coach Frank Solich didn't say who would replace McBride, or whether he would look at one of the other assistant defensive coaches before looking outside the program.

"He's known around the country as one of the greatest defensive minds," Solich said. "We would not trade him for anyone. This is a sad moment in Nebraska football. It's very difficult to see one of us step aside. There's a reason Nebraska has had great defenses over the years -- it's Charlie McBride."

Mike Brown said he and "four or five" other players knew before the game that McBride was stepping down.

"Coach McBride is hanging 'em up," Brown said. "He explained (in the locker room after the game) how hard this was -- he was crying a little bit. He's been doing this for so long. He's someone who puts his heart into what he does. We love him dearly. His knees and back hurt -- he's been hurting. Now it's time for him to enjoy his life."

McBride said he plans to spend a lot of time with his family.

"I love these guys and I'm not afraid to use that word," McBride said. "I also love my family, and it's time for them. I've been so fortunate to be around coaches like Frank Kush, Coach (Tom Osborne) and Coach Solich."

Defensive back Ralph Brown said he's known since before the season started that this would be McBride's last.

"Coach McBride kind of told me and Mike that he was going to go out with us," Ralph Brown said. "He's a great coach and a great person. We'd do anything we could -- at any time -- for him. It's sad that his career is ending. But it's good for Coach McBride and his family. He deserves some time with them after all he's done for all of the players here through the years."

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