Where are they now: Mike “Red” Beran
“From Small-Town Kid to Husker Hero: The Incredible Journey of Mike ‘Red’ Beran!”
A Young Nebraskan's Football Dream
In 1963, the football heart of Nebraska beat a little louder when a 13-year-old Mike "Red" Beran attended his first NU Football Game. It was a time of optimism as the Cornhuskers were led by the fiery Irishman, Bob Devaney, who had a knack for kindling hope in the hearts of Nebraskans.
Fast forward five years, and Red Beran, now a senior at Ord High School, received a thrilling invitation: to walk onto the Husker team. In the fall of 1968, his Husker journey commenced, carrying dreams heavier than his 184-pound frame. As he joined the Freshman Team, he looked up to quarterback Jerry Tagge and knew he had to bulk up.
The Weight Room Revelation
Red's determination led him to the weight room, where a chance encounter with Boyd Epley, a pole vaulter rehabbing an injury, altered his destiny. In an era when weightlifting wasn't the norm for football players, Red saw it as a path to success.
Beran's commitment to strength training paid off. He recognized that adding muscle and power could transform not just his own game but also the prospects of talented recruits. This dedication impressed coaches who saw the potential in his hard work and hustle.
A Dream Achieved
In those days, choosing a college wasn't a spectacle with multiple team hats. Red recalled a simpler time when Coach Cletus Fischer sent him upstairs to sign scholarship papers. With determination and hard work, Beran earned his spot on the field, becoming a backup guard for the Huskers' national championship teams in 1970 and 1971.
Red shared snaps with players like Donnie McGhee and Keith Wortman, part of a powerhouse Nebraska team stacked with talent. The depth was astounding, with even third- and fourth-team players capable of making a Big Eight run.
As Red Beran continued his journey, 1972 marked a memorable season. Yet, it was bittersweet, with losses and a final home game defeat to Oklahoma. It was Coach Devaney's farewell in Memorial Stadium, ending hopes of a third consecutive National Championship.
A Fond Farewell and a Thrilling Victory
While the season had its disappointments, the Huskers sent Coach Devaney off in style with a resounding 40-6 victory over Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl. Red Beran became part of an iconic photo, etching his legacy in Husker lore.
A New Chapter: Coaching and Beyond
In 1973, Red ventured into coaching as a graduate assistant under the quiet and thoughtful Tom Osborne. However, the coaching path wasn't his destiny. A career with the Lincoln Police Department followed, where he met his future wife, Colleen. Red eventually worked as a special security agent for BNFS railroad, retiring after 25 years.
Strengthening the Husker Brotherhood
Red's commitment to Nebraska football never waned. His involvement in the 1971 "Game Of The Century" reunion at Oklahoma showcased the strong bonds former players maintained. This experience ignited a desire for change at Nebraska, leading to the creation of the Nebraska Football Letterman's Association (HFLA). Today, as a driving force behind HFLA, Red Beran continues to ask himself, "What can I do to help?" His dedication to Nebraska football remains unwavering, a testament to the enduring spirit of Husker Nation.