Midlands News Service

AMES, Iowa - Former Iowa State assistant coach Barney Cotton made a triumphant return to Jack Trice Stadium Saturday when Nebraska defeated Iowa State, 35-7.

Cotton is in his second stint with the Huskers, serving as assistant head coach and offensive line coach for coach Bo Pelini at Nebraska. Cotton was a member of Dan McCarney's staff at ISU for three seasons, serving as assistant head coach/offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.

"It feels good to come back to Ames," Cotton said following Saturday's game. "I enjoyed my three years here working with Coach Mac and the guys I worked with."

Cotton and the rest of McCarney's staff lost their jobs when McCarney was shown the door following the 2006 season. Cotton spent a season at the high school level, serving as an assistant coach on the staff of Ames High coach Bruce Vertanen before joining Pelini's staff at Nebraska.

"I had a great year that fourth year going over and volunteering at the high school," Cotton said. "It's not many times you get a chance to go back and volunteer for a high school right in the middle of your career, so that was good."

Cotton said he was fortunate in that he had a two-year contract with ISU, affording him an opportunity to pick and choose his next coaching position.

"I had some interviews and actually cancelled some things right at the end," Cotton said. "My gut told me I had been gone so long that I needed to be with my family at that point and try to let them live at one more place for another year rather than move at that time. I was very, very blessed and fortunate to get a job like I ended up with."

Cotton, who was an assistant coach at Nebraska in 2003, said Tom Osborne becoming Nebraska's athletic director and having served as an assistant coach with Pelini on the Nebraska staff in 2003 were factors in his returning to the Huskers. Cotton played at Nebraska from 1975 to 1978.

"There's nobody better than [Tom Osborne] and having worked with Bo for one year and having stayed friends with him over the years and all the guys Bo brought with him, it was a great fit," Cotton said.

Cotton has even for job in being on the Nebraska staff. His son, Ben, tight end, is a redshirt freshman on the team after having played at Ames High.

"We think he's got a chance [to play] and it's great to see him running around," Cotton said. "It's not like we get to talk much during practice, but it's great to watch him on film and see him out there working hard."

Cotton's other two sons, Jake and Sam, are starters for Lincoln Southeast High School on the varsity and freshmen teams respectively. The school plays several Thursday night games and has eight home games, enabling Cotton to see many of their games.

"I'm a Lincoln Southeast fan," Cotton said.

Cotton said he thinks Pelini has the Huskers pointed in the right direction after four disappointing seasons under Bill Callahan.