Athlete–One who helped spark the resurgence of interest in Nebraska Cornhusker football in the second half of the 20th century was this 1961 graduate of Broken Bow High School, who was nothing short of spectacular as a prepster. Named all-state his junior and senior years in high school in football, he was then even more widely know for his speed in track, helping the red and white-clad lads of Broken Bow win the Class B state track meet three years running, 1959-61. One of the faster sprinters of all time in the 100 and 220 yard dashes, his time of 21.4 in the 220 is still high on the all-time list. As a college football player at NU, he was part of the new powerhouse established by then new head Coach Bob Devaney, being picked all-conference as a defensive back in 1964. A long-time member of the Oakland Raiders professional football organization, he found success both as a player and a top scout.
McCloughan still working in football –Huskers Headquarters
LINCOLN — Kent McCloughan worked in a Broken Bow grocery store and listened to Husker games on the radio when he was a boy. That would be the last job he held that didn’t have anything to do with football.
Today, this legend of the early Devaney years works for the Oakland Raiders organization and pushes the Raiders’ shopping cart through the halls of college football. He looks for just the right match of talent and attitude to make silver and black history.
“I spend a lot of time on the road,” he said. “Most of my job involves talking. I talk to trainers, and coaches, and other players and try to find out how much a guy loves football and how tough he is.”
He also spends a lot of time looking at film so on NFL draft day, he can answer questions in seconds and help the Raiders make just the right picks that may someday get them back to the Super Bowl.
McCloughan started Super Bowl II as a cornerback for the Raiders. Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers, with Bart Starr calling signals, beat the Raiders 33-14.
The Raiders organization got McCloughan not through the draft, but via a telephone call from a Nebraska trainer.
“I was drafted in the third round by Washington and in the 11th by Houston,” McCloughan explained. “Washington had two all-pros where I would likely play and Houston never called back. That’s when I called George Sullivan and he called Al Davis.”
The Raiders traded for McCloughan and it has been a football love affair ever since. One of his sons works with him and is also a scout. He has two other boys, one is a scout for Seattle and the other is a homebuilder in Colorado.
McCloughan had the attention of most of Big 8 schools as a senior at Broken Bow. He had offers from Colorado, Kansas, and Northwestern, but Nebraska won.
The Bill Jennings group had the ball rolling with a couple of Oklahoma upsets and Bob Devaney was on the way to Lincoln.
McCloughan spent his freshman year in the Jennings era and came out firing under Devaney as a sophomore. He scored his first of 18 career touchdowns during the 1962 South Dakota opener, a 53-0 rout. “I am proud I was one of those guys,” he said. “We got the ball rolling.” Indeed they did. In the second game, Nebraska dropped Michigan in Ann Arbor, 25-13. Nine wins and only a 16-7 Homecoming loss to Missouri and a 34-6 loss to Oklahoma ruined the Devaney era debut.
That Husker team was the only one to ever play a football game in Yankee Stadium. The Huskers beat Miami in the Gotham Bowl, 36-34.
“It was so cold the ground was frozen,” McCloughan recalled. Even in freezing cold, Husker fever was catching on. The Huskers just missed a national title in 1963 after suffering a loss to Air Force to finish the season 10-1.
“We didn’t pay well against Air Force,” he said. “Late in the game, they got behind us on a pass and we didn’t catch up. We did beat Oklahoma which was good.”
The 17-13 loss to Air Force would knock out any Husker national title hopes, but they did go on to beat Auburn 13-7 in the Orange Bowl. McCloughan helped the Huskers to a 9-2 record in 1964. That mark included a 10-7 loss to Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl.
McCloughan received All Big 8 Conference honors and All Big 8 Conference Academic honors.