Nebraska Greats Foundation Supporter Spotlight: Bruce Weber
Bruce Weber of Atlanta, GA, founder of American Home Surfaces, one of the largest flooring companies in the country was one of the first supporters of the Nebraska Greats Foundation. A former letter winner and key offensive lineman, he has two rings from NU's first national title teams. In 2019, the NGF made Bruce the first ever recipient of the "Andra Franklin Service Award."
Bruce, what kind of a football player were you?
Both 1970 & 1971 National Champions teams... Specialty Teams, Smaller Size (5’11/225lb), Fastest Offensive Pulling Guard, Smart, Swift, Quality Depth, 5-year Red-Shirt, Chicago Proud, Out-Of-State, Business College Graduate.
How do you think your teammates from those days would have described you?
High Spirited, Hard Practices, Trusted, Always lots of Laughs.
Who was the most UNDER-rated player you faced?
Our own now deceased too young but loved by all Eddie Periard, a walk-on defensive Nose Guard, All Big Eight. Beloved by all!!! Eddie was the only one smaller than me, but a heart 20ft. tall. He'd made me chase his back shadow many, many times.
One-time Coach Devaney was so upset with me during a team scrimmage he kicked me out of the whole stadium!! Eddie was a real star...under estimated by every opponent week after week!!!
What lured you to the University of Nebraska?
I came to Lincoln as a senior in high school on the weekend they were to play Oklahoma State. Had me right on the sidelines with the team so I was really close to the action. I had never seen hitting like that going on all over the field. I could just sense something good was going to happen at Nebraska. That night after dinner with the coaches at the Veterans Club they set me up with Barry Alvarez and Wayne Mehlan to take me around that evening to see and enjoy the college party life!
What are some of your fondest memories from your playing days?
Senior Parent Day: Announced and met both of my Parents out on the 50-yard line— big, big hugs.
Graduation: I graduated in mid-year, 2-weeks before leaving for Miami and the Orange Bowl.
But I kept it a secret because I was afraid, I wouldn’t be eligible to play in the Alabama Orange Bowl Game.
We finished practice in Miami and I was sitting in the back of the bus going back to the hotel.
A few of the guys walked on the bus with a Miami newspaper shouting out the headlines "Nebraska to field a college graduate" I was shaken. Then, the guys came back to me and instead of congratulating me- they just wanted to know what classes and professors I had!
1970 Nebraska vs So. Cal @ USC: Last play of the game I missed my block and forced Jerry Tagge to throw the ball 2-seconds quicker than he wanted to and the ball came up 5-10 yards short of a wide-open Johnny Rogers in the end zone. I lost my starting job forever.
Orange Bowl vs Alabama: All of the Seniors were going to be introduced on National TV. When it was time to go out I just froze in the locker room. Suddenly, it hit me this was going to be my last time in a football uniform and I had missed the TV introduction. Finally, someone behind me said "come on Webb- we need to get out there." 40-years later I found out that voice was Monty Johnson. His superstition was that he always had to be the last one out on the field!
"Game of The Century Nebraska vs Oklahoma": As was our tradition we would always return to our locker room after warm-ups and say a prayer down on a knee then jump up with a loud cheer. Back then, the Coaches didn’t have computers or I-Pads. Many many pages of notes were stacked up on clip boards. Unknowing to me, Coach Devaney was standing directly over my helmet.
When I jumped up with everyone else my helmet hit his clip board throwing all of his plays and notes in the air and all over the room 2-minutes before kick-off of the Game of The Century! He yelled out "Weebbbbeerrr!" Thank God we won the game.
Post Orange Bowl: The next night celebration at a posh, very private Miami Country Club and there was an open beer bar for players. We handed the beers through the hedges to Alabama players because "The Bear" (Alabama coach Paul Bryant) wouldn’t let his players partake.
Talk about the highlights of your life after your playing days ended?
Married my beautiful Chicago Italian wife who sat behind me in 8th grade. Her mother never forgave me when Kathi had to give up her beautiful Italian last name "Colianni" for "Weber."
Births of our 3- Children - Lisa (45) Denver, Co., Jeff (43) Cincinnati, Oh., Joseph Weber (40) So. California. And now 2 Granddaughters Maddie (8) and Christina (1).
Blessed all of my Family lives in Atlanta area.
You've built a successful business, what are your core philosophies?
• Love the Industry you’re in
• Never stop reading and finding new ideas
• Don’t be afraid to take meaningful chances and opportunities
• Choose your closest friends carefully
• Know where the curve is and try to stay ahead
• Always try to improve your Patience
• Build Championship "game plans" yearly
• Always Look for ways to help others less fortunate
• Get rid of debt as early as possible in your life
• Stay close to God. Pray everyday
• When the time is right; step-up and diversify
• Surround yourself with good people
• Get a goodnight sleep every night
• Stay in good shape physically
• Eat healthy!
You've been one of the founding supporters of the NGF, what attracted you to the Foundation?
I would rather help fellow Nebraska former athletes in need than send anymore large tax payments to the federal government! (Ha)
What would you say to former players who may benefit from a grant from the NGF, but who are reluctant to ask for help?
There is nothing more humbling than knowing you need help and have nowhere to go. Don’t be afraid to ask. Understand that's why we are here!