Dressed in a red blazer, Adrian Fiala has come to symbolize the Husker tradition wherever he goes. His face is one of the most recognizable in the state. On Saturdays in the fall, his voice can be heard across the state celebrating all that is good about Husker football.
On Saturday night the voice and the man came to Elgin as the featured speaker at the Winter Stag celebration.
During a presentation which lasted for more than hour, he captivated everyone with some true Husker stories, some humor and a prediction which he truly believes all in the building will soon see come to pass — the return of the Huskers to the top of college football’s elite teams.
Fiala enrolled at Nebraska in 1965 and was a two-sport athlete — football in the fall and baseball in the spring, earning accolades in both sports.
His final season on the football field was in 1969 when the Huskers claimed a share of the Big Eight Championship and went on to defeat Georgia 45 to 6 in the Sun Bowl. He was a starting linebacker on that team.
Just as his eligibility would run out, Nebraska’s run would begin as the best team in college football would begin. In 1970 and 1971, Nebraska won the national championship. While the Huskers were excelling on the field, Fiala pursued a law degree which he would receive in 1973, Coach Tom Osborne’s first year as head coach, replacing Bob Devaney.
In a career which first began in 1982 and has now spanned 22 years on the radio, Fiala said he’s had a ringside seat for the rollercoaster ride of Nebraska football — from Orange Bowl heartbreaks — to national championships — to the fall from grace instigated by Steve Pedersen to a new ascension being orchestrated by Bo Pelini.
“The ‘Dark Ages’ arrived,” he said, when Pedersen took over as athletic director. It was Pedersen who fired Coach Frank Solich and hired Bill Callahan as coach. Fiala had very little good to say about Pedersen, but was sympathetic to Callahan’s plight. He said Callahan, a professional football coach, never grasped how the game was different at the college level.