Osborne’s replacement found swiftly at NU

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October 4th, 2012

Lincoln, NE – University of Miami Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst will become the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s next athletic director, when Tom Osborne retires in January. That announcement came today from UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman.

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Perlman discussed the announcement in a hastily planned press conference set up after news of the appointment leaked out. The chancellor predicted Eichorst would be a good fit for Nebraska. “I was surprised and delighted to be able to find in this search an individual that had all of the sets of experiences and talents that the University of Nebraska needs,” Perlman said, “and also has the characteristics and admiration and respect for the culture of Nebraska, the great success that we’ve had in athletics, and is anxious to carry on that culture and tradition here.”

Shawn Eichorst has been hired to replace Tom Osborne as NU’s Athletic Director. (Photo credit University of Wisconsin)

Eichorst is a Wisconsin native and served as deputy athletics director in Madison before moving to the University of Miami in April of last year. Four months later, that University’s athletic program became engulfed in scandal when news broke of a booster who said he provided players with gifts including cash, prostitutes and jewelry before Eichorst arrived. With the NCAA expected to announce penalties against Miami soon, Perlman was asked if Eichorst was eager to get out of that situation. “It’s probably not a situation that anyone would like to be in,” Perlman said. “It did come up in our conversations.”

“Part of it was that I think everyone’s view was that he was surprised by it when he got there, that he responded in the way that I think we would want, had a similar circumstance aroused here, which we would hope it doesn’t,” he said. “It’s part of why looking at a person who has been in that role is helpful because you can see how they respond in difficult circumstances.”

Perlman said he regretted the search process was not more public, but the situation required privacy. He said he thinks some people close to the athletic department were disappointed in not having had more input, including probably Osborne. Osborne issued a brief written statement promising to do all he could to ensure a smooth transition, but did not comment on Perlman’s statement.

Tom Osborne issued a brief statement after the announcement, promising to do all he could to ensure a smooth transition. (Courtesy photo)

Eichorst will be paid a salary of $973,000 – almost three times Perlman’s salary. Perlman initially responded with a quip when asked the significance of that. “I must say you got a more talented athletic director than you do a chancellor I guess, I don’t know.”

But then he got serious. “That’s the world we live in,” he said. “You’re subject to a marketplace. And you either play in the marketplace, or you don’t play.”

“Here, we are extraordinarily fortunate that no tax money, no tuition money, no student fee money goes into those salaries, this is all money that is generated by the athletic department,” he added.

Perlman also said he liked Eichorst’s answer when he asked him how he would measure success at the end of his five contract. “His response was that if the coaches and the student-athletes have been successful and nobody knows my name, it will be a success.”

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