A Grand Island legend is going to be part of the Nebraska Greats Foundation.
Former Islander and NFL player/coach Tom Rathman will take part in the two-day event Thursday and Friday at Riverside Golf Club.
A dinner will begin at 6 p.m. with the program starting at 6:15, followed by “An Evening with Tom Rathman” beginning at 7:30 Thursday.
Former Grand Island and Nebraska baseball player Johnny Dorn, a Nebraska Great Foundation member, said it’s nice to have a former Grand Island athlete speak at the event Thursday evening.
“We’re fortunate to have Tom be part of this event,” Dorn said. “He hasn’t been back in Grand Island for quite some time since he’s obviously been very busy. Since he retired from coaching, it gave us an opportunity to reach out to him and tell him to come back home. It gives the community a chance to hear some stories about Tom throughout his career.”
Rathman has had quite the success from the high school level, the college level and as both a player and coach in the NFL.
He graduated from Grand Island in 1981 after a high school career as a multi-sport athlete and state champion in football and the high jump in track and field.
He went on to have a successful football career at Nebraska, where he set the single-season rushing record for a fullback (885 yards) in 1985. As a senior, he averaged 7.5 yards per carry before being drafted in the third round of the NFL Draft.
As a member of the 49ers, Rathman won two Super Bowls (XXIII, XXIV) before playing for the Los Angeles Raiders in his ninth and final year as a player in the league.
Rathman retired from coaching in the NFL in 2020. He spent his years as the running backs coach for the 49ers and has also coached for the Raiders and the Detroit Lions.
The event will also host the Tom Dinsdale Auto Nebraska Greats Golf Jamboree Friday at Riverside Golf Course. Registration and check-in will begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by an autograph session of the celebrities attending the event at 10. A player and celebrity lunch will follow at 11. There will be a shotgun start for the golf tournament at noon.
A few celebrities will take part in the golf outing, including the three Husker Heisman winners, Eric Crouch, Johnny Rodgers and Mike Rozier.
To register, go to nebraskagreatsfoundation.org, then click on the events tab and it will take you to the events page. Click on the “Events Details and Registration” under the Tom Dinsdale Auto Nebraska Greats Golf Jamboree and you will find information about the two events and click on the “Register Now” tab.
Golf foursomes will be $1,250 per team, which includes golf cart, lunch, dinner ticket and a special gift.
There are still tickets available for Thursday’s program, which cost $125 per ticket.
Dorn said he’s happy to have Grand Island host a Nebraska Greats Foundation event.
“We’ve had a lot of suppport from the people of Grand Island over the years,” he said. “We want to do everything we could to keep it in Grand Island and to keep it entertaining to provide an unique experience for the community, while serving a pretty good cause.”
Proceeds from the event will go to the Nebraska Greats Foundation, an organization founded by Jerry Murtaugh, a linebacker on the NU national championship team in 1970 and a first-team All-American. The nonprofit organization was designed to help former college athletes in the state who need medical or emergency assistance.