DESIGNING THE LARGEST CHANCE
Nebraska was not the first choice for this Chicago Mt. Caramel High School star. "I was recruited by George Kelly who was a trainer at Marquette University," said Judge McGinn. McGinn remained in Marquette for a long time and followed the call to the seminary, but soon discovered that the priesthood was not for him.
"I sent several letters to various universities," McGinn explained. His approach to direct mail received the answer from an old friend. George Kelly was now one of Devaney's trainers in Nebraska. "Kelly told me they had a scholarship for me and went out."
McGinn packed the bags and headed for Lincoln. It was 1962 and the excitement was high in Lincoln. His first day in Nebraska was a bit shaky. "I rejected it physically," said McGinn. "I hurt my shoulder in high school and I needed to get it fixed."
However, McGinn did not have much time to look at the problem. "Devaney's coach came to me and told me I did not worry about fixing things."
"Pre-season practice was not as severe in Nebraska as it was in high school," McGinn recalled. "We were allowed to take a break when it was hot and even had a salty and orange and lemon slice for us."
Even regular seasonal practice was easier. We did not do much gymnastics. If you played on Saturday, you did not have to fight next week. "The football was fun for this race, now transferred to the guard in the attack and defense."
McGinn focused on his studies and his goal to become a dentist. But that quickly changed. "I got a degree in chemistry, so I graduated on the subject of Art and Science and the Faculty of Teacher Education," McGinn explained. He wanted to be a coach.
McGinn did not go to the first game in Devaney era because he was unsuitable for transfer. Huskers headed for Gotham Bowl in New York and beat Miami in a frosty time, 36-34.
The following year, he was part of the Oklahoma 5/4 defense. "There were five armed men and two superiors over the guards," he explained. Nebraska also used an alternative method in which McGinn came to the sub-for All-American Bob Brown.
"There were some opposition players who were happy to see me coming in after I had used Brown for some time." Brown was 6 and 270 and McGinn was right at 6 and 205, almost exactly what is now, Frank Solich.
McGinn went to work on his strength and size. The famous Husker Power power program has been around for several years now. "These days in the house on the ground was a set of Sears's weights and a big bar in the Colosseum basement," he explained.
The excitement was being built at a record pace and together with it, the Red Sea Seats began to push from the ground at the southern end of the stadium. "While I was older, the South Stadium was over," he recalled. Together with a new room for believers came some warmer and sunny performances. Nebraska defeated Auburn in Orange Bowl in 1963, 13-7.
"We played Arkansas at Cotton Bowl in 1964 and we had them in most games, but they started hitting small templates and we simply could not adjust," he recalled. "I recovered, but it was not enough, they beat us 10-7."
A football coach with a degree in English and philosophy has now graduated from Nebraska. The real world is called. "I went to work at Firestone Recapping Plant in Aberdeen, South Dakota," he said with a big smile. "Then I was interested in law school."
McGinn enrolled at the Law School in Nebraska and worked for district attorney Paula Douglas. When he graduated, he was offered a position at the State Attorney's Office and stayed there for eleven years until the appointment of Governor Charles Thone to the District Court.
"I hope that I will do something good by trying to protect the society by my evaluation," he said. "I like different experiences." But there is one kind of experience that clearly bothers him. That's when a young man stands in front of him.
If he had his own way, he would have preferred that the young men stand in front of people like Devaney, Osborne and Solich, rather than standing before him. "Children need control and attention, and sometimes they just do not get them," he said. "Sometimes they just do not have a chance."
Retired Judge McGinn does not attend all Husker home matches, but you can see him from time to time with some of his old friends. "Fred Duda and I went to the game of Notre Dame, and the crowd gathered us every summer.
"The chances are probably to talk about having a chance to play football for Nebraska."