It didn't last long, but there was some angst about Nebraska's athletic director transition when Tom Osborne didn't accompany chancellor Harvey Perlman for the initial announcement and issued only a brief statement about successor Shawn Eichorst. Perlman conducted the search on his own and didn't involve Osborne as much as some thought he would.
Osborne quickly followed up with a second statement that read in part: "I was never under the impression that the hiring of a new athletic director would be my decision. It is important that Nebraskans give Shawn Eichorst every opportunity to have a successful tenure as the next athletic director at the University of Nebraska."
Not surprisingly, Osborne is doing his part to help Eichorst, who officially took control of the Nebraska athletic department on Jan. 1. Eichorst tells The Associated Press that Osborne has been a big help during the transition. Osborne is serving as a consultant to Eichorst until July 31.
From the AP:
"He parks in the same spot and all that stuff," Eichorst said. "He's around, he's visible, and I'm glad because there are things I have to bounce off him on occasion. And folks -- student-athletes, staff members -- really like to see him and are energized to see him." ...
Eichorst said he considers it a privilege to succeed a man of Osborne's stature, and he hopes Osborne maintains a presence in the department and around campus.
"I hope he's here for as long as he wants to be here," Eichorst said. "He and I have talked about that, because it's important to me and important to all the folks in this building and the state."
Eichorst knows what it's like being around a program icon, having served as Wisconsin's deputy athletic director under Barry Alvarez from 2009-2011. It's good to hear Osborne is keeping an open door to his successor, and that Eichorst is using the best resource in the building.
Eichorst also weighed in on Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini, telling the AP, "Nobody is going to have higher expectations for this place than me, nor Coach Pelini, so that's a given. I've yet to be at a place at this level that doesn't want to win championships. So I get that. So we'll just keep pounding the rock and trying to close the gap. We're not far away."