Marc Munford came to Nebraska from Littleton, CO, a suburb of Denver, where he was an all-conference football and baseball player at Heritage High School.
He had the physique and attitude of an elite athlete, and delivered results as well. He totaled 187 tackles as a senior in football and hit .460 as a junior in baseball, and numerous colleges wanted him to be a part of their football and baseball teams.
“I had scholarship offers from most of the Big Eight and all the WAC schools. I also had offers to play baseball at Wichita State, Arizona State and several other schools,” Munford said.
But having been born in Lincoln before moving to Colorado when he was five years old, Munford grew up following the Huskers.
“I grew up watching and listening to Nebraska as a kid, it was just in my blood,” he said.
The colleges in Colorado pursued Munford, but he didn’t really have any interest in them.
“Bill McCartney (former Colorado football head coach) tried to recruit me. I would have been part of his first recruiting class (1983),” Munford said. “He sat in my living and offered me a scholarship and told me how much he wanted me. But when I committed to Nebraska he came out in the Denver Post and said that they never really wanted me because I was undersized, didn’t have the speed they were looking for, and didn’t have good enough grades. I lost a lot of respect for him after that came out.”
Nebraska football was Munford’s first choice, and he joined a Husker class that included fellow Coloradans Rod Smith, John Nichols and Stephen Thomas.
“If I didn’t go to Nebraska, I would have played baseball at Arizona State or San Diego State,” Munford said.
Munford would have liked to play baseball at Nebraska, but the NU coaches didn’t approve of it, and later he had to battle injuries.
“I played for the Beatrice team one summer, but (linebacker) coach John Melton wasn’t happy about it and Coach (Tom) Osborne wasn’t overly excited about it, so I just scrapped the idea. I also was a catcher, so that is hard on your knees and my injuries would have made it much harder,” Munford said.
Munford’s football career at Nebraska was marred by a series of knee injuries. He had to battle those as much as battling opposing running backs.
“It all started my sophomore year; I had a few (knee) scopes. At that time, I just looked at scopes as an oil change, and after it I would play. They would go in and snip a little cartilage and you felt better,” Munford said.
“But then I blew the MCL and ACL and all the cartilage out in my right knee at the end of my junior year,” he said. “The ACL and MCL took a while. I was in a cast for two months and lost a lot of muscle tone in my leg.”
His stats seemed to indicate that nothing had even happened to him, as Munford led Nebraska in tackles and was an All-Big Eight selection for three straight seasons (1984-86).
“I was about 6-foot-2 and weighed anywhere from 225 to 235 pounds. The fastest 40 time I ran was a 4.65 handheld. But all that stuff is nice, but I don’t put a lot of weight in that. I think you find out what kind of football player you are when you put the pads on and go play,” Munford said.
In his own right, Munford is still regarded as one of the best linebackers in Nebraska football history.
He holds the linebacker record for most pass interceptions in a game with two, ranks third on the career unassisted tackle list with 153 and is ninth on NU’s career tackle chart with 256.
“Marc was a great linebacker. He was as good as any linebacker I ever had,” said former NU linebacker coach John Melton. “He was very aggressive, very strong and very smart. Once he got his hands on you, you weren’t going to break that tackle. He played steady all the time; never had any ups and downs and you could count on him. He had a little temper and could get the team fired up pretty good. Even though he was hurt at times, you had a tough time getting him off the field.”
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Shane Gilster is the Editor of Big Red Report Magazine. His stories focus mainly on catching up with former Huskers and examining Nebraska athletic history.