Eichorst looks to build on Huskers tradition

Nebraska introduced new athletic director Shawn Eichorst on Tuesday, and Eichorst sounded like a guy who wants to build on the Huskers' success, not remake everything in his image.

"I don’t think this is a place where you have to reinvent the wheel," Eichorst told reporters. "My goal would be to make something that is already great better."

Eichorst called the Nebraska athletic program "a special place" and said he looks forward to learning more about the culture of the state and the school by working closely with outgoing AD Tom Osborne in the next three months. Eichorst had no previous ties to the school but was an associate athletic director at Wisconsin, where he said Huskers alumnus Barry Alvarez used to regale everyone with stories about Lincoln.

Eichorst has not had a chance yet to speak one-on-one with football coach Bo Pelini. On the Big Ten coaches' teleconference, Pelini said he heard from Eichorst at a department-wide meeting on Tuesday morning. Pelini said he'd heard positive reviews about Eichorst.

Eichorst called Pelini "a winner" and said he understood how much the football program meant to the school and the state.

"It's the engine that drives this," he said. "There's no secrets there. I appreciate the awesomeness that it is. Having been in the Big Ten and Southeastern conferences, that's the deal. I'm not going to shy away from that."

"Athletics can not only provide opportunity, it can be one of life’s great teachers," said Eichorst, who resigned as Miami’s athletic director last week. "That’s why I’m so excited to be a Husker. I admire the excellence that NU represents on the field and in the classroom."

Eichorst said he was first contacted about succeeding Osborne in late August and that he interviewed Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman during the second weekend of September. He left Miami after fewer than 18 months as the Hurricanes' AD but said that likely forthcoming NCAA sanctions had no impact on his decision.

"We left [Miami] in a better place than we found it," he said.

Nebraska is already in a pretty good place, and Eichorst hopes to enhance that.