I received word today that Don Briggs who was the sports information director at my undergraduate alma mater, Kearney State (now UN-K), passed away this morning.
"Mr. B" was the Don Bryant at Kearney and spent his entire career and most of his retirement at Kearney as SID emeritus before spending the last couple of years in assisted living in Kearney. I last visited him last November and gave him a copy of my book. I hope he enjoyed it. He will always hold a special place in my memory and he is also the person responsible for getting my Kearney class ring back to me 19 years after I had lost it.
I don't leave it lying around anymore and wear it every day.
Here is some information from a 2005 article where he received a lifetime achievement award for the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.
Briggs earned a B.A. from UNK (then Nebraska State Teachers College at Kearney) in 1951 and began teaching at Lyman the following fall. He became principal in 1956. He later returned to the campus, and in 1957, he earned the first master’s degree awarded in the history of the institution. He then joined the staff and began his career as a journalism and English teacher. He advised The Antelope newspaper, the Blue and Gold yearbook and Student Senate. From 1961 – 1974, he was director of Alumni Affairs, Public Relations and Publications, serving as the entire public relations department, which included alumni services, college relations, college publications and sports information. From 1974 – 1990, he was sports information director.
I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.I wont give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and showed up for all wounded children.
I swear skunk was squeezin my buttocks !
Skunkman's nose nailed this one.
Never squat with yer spurs on.
Quote Originally Posted by CombatTargeteer
"You gotta watch the Skunkman."
I don't want to ruin Skunk's rep, but I have to report that he is a very hospitable and generous guy, besides being a super Husker fan.
I would give my life for anyone one of them as i would my own family. -Pops
It doesn’t matter if the glass is half full or half empty. What matters is you have a glass that has something in it. Some people have no glass, or have a glass with nothing in it. So appreciate all that is in your life and quit questioning whether your glass in half full or half empty.
Boy, Don had a good run at Kearney. I came to Kearney in 62 and i don't know if he was SID or not. I wasn't an athlete but Don was bigger than life and at every sports event, couldn't miss him.
Whew, that was 51 years ago.
Here is some information from the current SID at Kearney, Peter Yazvac.
Kearney, Neb. – Nebraska-Kearney legend Donald “Don” K. Briggs passed away Wednesday morning, March 6th, at Wel-life in Kearney.
He was 86.
Graveside services will be held Monday, March 11th, at 11:00 a.m. at the Ft. McPherson National Cemetery near Maxwell. Military Rites will be provided at the Cemetery by the North Platte Veterans Group and the Nebraska National Guard Military Funeral Honors Team.
Visitation will be Sunday, March 10th, from 1-4:00 p.m. at the Horner Lieske McBride & Kuhl Funeral and Cremation Services in Kearney. A message of condolence, tribute, or memory may be sent to www.hlmkfuneral.com. Memorials are suggested to the Don Briggs Endowed Scholarship Fund at the U. of Nebraska Foundation.
“Mr. B”, as he was known to the UNK and Kearney community, served as the Lopers sports information director (SID) for an unprecedented 33 years (1958-90).
Previous to 1974, he was the schools entire public relations department, serving as SID, alumni services, college relations and college publications directors.
His began his UNK tenure as a journalism and English teacher and, over the years, was an advisor to The Antelope Newspaper, Blue & Gold Yearbook and Student Senate.
Briggs was also greatly involved with the Phi Tau Gamma and Alpha Tau Omega fraternities, serving as advisor from 1957-2002. He not only earned the ATO’s National Advisor of the Year award but also received an ATO Lifetime Achievement award. Pledging Phi Tau in 1948, he was initiated in 1966 when the fraternity went national.
A pioneer in the collegiate sports information field, Briggs earned his undergraduate (’51) and graduate degrees (’57) from then-Kearney State College. His graduate degree was the first-ever awarded by KSC.
The Broken Bow High School graduate was inducted into the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) Hall of Fame in 1971, the CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) Hall of Fame in 1987, the UNK Athletic Hall of Fame in 1991 and the Broken Bow Hall of Fame in 2004.
He also picked up the UNK’s Distinguished Alumni Service Award and received the Kearney Hub Freedom Award for volunteer service in 2004.
During his Loper career, he twice received the NAIA Award of Merit, served as President of the NAIA Sports Information Directors Association and was the NAIA District 11 information director for two decades.
For more than 20 years, he served as the press room coordinator for the NAIA track and field championships and for the NAIA national basketball tournament in Kansas City. Not surprisingly, in 1980, Briggs received the Pearson Award, the NAIA’s SID highest honor.
Additionally, he wrote the history of Loper athletics for the years 1905-2000 and wrote the history for the State Tuberculosis Hospital, which is now the West Center of the UNK campus.
Before coming back to the Lopers, he was a teacher and principal in Lyman and served in the Army.
Don is survived by his brothers; Russell and Delores Briggs of Lexington, Ky., Gary and Martha Briggs of Wayzata, Minn., George and Jan Briggs of Arlington, Texas, sisters; Margaret Briggs of Kearney, Joyce Munnell of Kearney, Leah and Clair Burnett of Anselmo, Carol Herbin of Bellevue, and Retha Harris and Cheryl Briggs, both of Springfield, Ill., and many nieces and nephews.
Don was preceded in death by two brothers, Dean and Robert, and sister, Janis Penny.
Jim Rundstrom, Former UNK Alumni Director “Nobody cared more about UNK and Loper athletics than Don Briggs. He truly bled blue. His dedication to the university is legendary among former students, ATO and Phi Tau Gamma fraternity members, athletes and alumni. For more than 60 years, the university was his life.”
Al Zikmund, Former UNK Football Coach & Athletic Director “He was loyal to Kearney State College, Loper athletics and to the City of Kearney. He was a very big supporter of what we were doing and went beyond the call of what was in his job description all the time. I was lucky to have someone like Don in an administrative role; when I would ask him about a certain situation or duty, he would say ‘That’s already been taken care of.’ He came from a large family and really pulled himself up by his own bootstraps to become successful.”
"I'm a firm believer in the theory that people only do their best at things they truly enjoy. It is difficult to excel at something you don't enjoy." – Jack Nicklaus