Friday, October 5, 2012
Osborne: Successor choice not his to make
By Adam Rittenberg
Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne gave chancellor Harvey Perlman a head start on finding his successor by informing Perlman this summer he had decided to retire.
But did Perlman act too fast in hiring Shawn Eichorst as Nebraska's new athletic director? More specifically, should Perlman have given Osborne more involvement in the process?
That's a big question in Nebraska right now. Osborne issued just a one-sentence statement Thursday after Nebraska announced Eichorst's hiring, and he didn't attend Perlman's news conference to discuss Eichorst.
Perlman acknowledged Thursday of Osborne, "I think he's disappointed he didn't play a stronger role." Steven M. Sipple and Dirk Chatelain best summed up the situation.
Practically speaking, this is Perlman's hire. He got his guy. And he executed the search quietly. Mission accomplished. But politically, Perlman opened himself up to criticism and potential division. The last thing you want is Osborne sitting out the press conference.
Osborne issued a slightly longer statement Friday about the situation.
"My primary remaining job as athletic director is to facilitate a smooth transition in the athletic department, and I will do everything I can to see to it that this occurs. 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. He will be introduced to members of the athletic department next Tuesday."
It's important for Osborne to support Eichorst, even if he wasn't thrilled about his lack of involvement in the hiring process. And I expect Osborne to give his successor any help he needs. It'll be interesting to see how Huskers football coach Bo Pelini, who also had limited involvement in the search after being told he'd play a bigger role, will receive his new boss.