[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[April 9, 1998]
[Pages 546-547]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks to the NCAA Football Champion Michigan Wolverines and Nebraska 
April 9, 1998

    The President. Welcome. We've had a lot of heavyweights in this room 
in the past but nothing to compare with this today. [Laughter]
    Coach Osborne, Coach Carr, President Bollinger, 
Chancellor Moeser, Congressman Levin, Congressman Dingell, 
Congressman Upton. And I can't help noting today 
the presence of my National Economic Adviser, Gene Sperling, an alumnus of the University of Michigan. The only time 
he ever stops work is when Michigan plays football. [Laughter]
    I am honored to have all of you here to celebrate the remarkable 
seasons of two great football teams from two great universities. For the 
entire season, everybody in America, especially in the last month or so, 
wanted Michigan and Nebraska to meet. I'm the only person who could pull 
it off. [Laughter] Since the sun is out, we ought to just go outside and 
settle the whole thing. [Laughter] We'll call it the Rose Garden Bowl. 
    In alphabetical order, we'll start with Michigan. All of America was 
awed by your performance in one of the most exciting Rose Bowls in 
history. A team that never lost its poise and never lost a game. Charles 
Woodson was terrific all season long, and 
deserved to be the first primarily defensive player to win the Heisman 
Trophy. The outstanding defense was complemented by a fierce offense, 
quarterbacked by Rose Bowl MVP Brian Griese.
    I'd also like to say a word about Coach Carr. 
The man who brought Michigan its first championship in 50 years, he has 
quickly established himself as one of the best coaches in college 
football. Congratulations on taking the Wolverines to the championship 
in only your third season.
    Now I'd like to introduce you, Coach, to say a few words.
    Coach Carr.

[At this point, University of Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr thanked the President and made brief remarks. Wolverine 
cocaptains Jon Jansen and Eric Mayes then presented gifts to the President.]

    The President. Thank you. As long as I can be on injured reserve for 
the next game. [Laughter] Thank you.
    And now, a team that lived up to all the great traditions of 
Nebraska football. The Cornhuskers' overwhelming victory in the Orange 
Bowl was a fantastic finish to an undefeated season. The offense put 42 
points on the board, led by tailback Ahman Green's 206 rushing yards, quarterback Scott Frost's three rushing touchdowns.
    The 206 yards registered with me because I was in the stands in the 
Orange Bowl in 1978 when Roland Sales of 
Arkansas rushed for 205 yards. [Laughter]

[[Page 547]]

    The Nebraska defense also did a magnificent job in stifling 
the Peyton Manning-led offense of Tennessee 
that had been so strong all year.
    For Coach Tom Osborne, the Orange Bowl 
victory marked a spectacular close to a spectacular 25-year career that 
included three national championships and 255 wins. Tom Osborne is truly 
one of the great legends of college football. His name now will 
inevitably be ranked in history along with Knute Rockne, Bear Bryant, 
and Pop Warner.
    Congratulations, Coach, and thank you for not only all the wins but 
for the way you did it and the example you set.
    Coach Osborne.

[At this point University of Nebraska coach, Tom Osborne, thanked the President and made brief remarks. The new 
Cornhusker coach, Frank Solege, and team 
captains Grant Wistrom, Jason Peter, and Aaron Taylor then 
presented gifts to the President.]

    The President. It's beautiful. Thank you.
    Now, what are we supposed to do? Usually, I'm supposed to--we're 
going to go out here and do the receiving line and the pictures, right?
    Thanks again for coming. Congratulations to both of you on a 
magnificent year. And thanks for all the thrills you gave the rest of us 
who sit in the stands and watch on television. Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 5:37 p.m. in the East Room at the White 
House. In his remarks, he referred to President Lee C. Bollinger, 
University of Michigan, and Chancellor James C. Moeser, University of