Shawn Eichorst was introduced this morning as Nebraska's new athletic director, set to replace legend and icon Tom Osborne on January 1st, 2013.
Harvey Perlman started the presser off by stating that Tom Osborne was in attendance and that Eichorst had had a chance to meet Nebraska's coaches and athletic department staff. It was a conciliatory statement meant to appease those that seek Osborne's approval on everything in the hopes that no one in the audience would take a shot at Perlman before he got a chance to exit the podium.
Eichorst made an introductory speech that resembled an Oscar Award winner, thanking everyone, talking about how Barry Alvarez used to "regale him with stories of the Nebraska Way" (a comment at which you have to wonder included how many stories of Bob Devaney chasing skirts, drinking like a fish and going into profanity-laced tirades. How I miss those days.), and of course, stating that "he was honored and humbled" to become part of the Nebraska Athletic Department.
He said the right things - "My goal is to make something that is already great better" and "Nebraska is at the pinnacle of athletics", referring to the right balance of athletics and academics, and of course the ""Rest assured we will compete for championships in everything we do...." line.
Eichorst was impressive, but a little stiff. He looked like an excellent politician, spoke well of everyone else while remaining humble of himself. He gets an "A+" in the sucking up department, and if he is as capable as he sounds, Nebraska should be in fine shape.
My only problem with Eichorst's beginning is that he made so long a speech that people will look for what he left out and then use that to start bitching about things. He did not, for example, mention Nebraska's walk-on program. It must be doomed, then.
Don't fall for that kind of trolling, or start reading things into what he's said. He's just starting out for crying out loud.
Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman has just finished a news conference on the hiring of former Miami Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst at Nebraska.
Before the presser started, the University released the terms of Eichorst's contract. It is a five year plan, with a salary of $973,000 annually. This salary, a far higher amount than what retiring Nebraska AD Tom Osborne was making ($321k at last report), would be one of the top 10 salaries in the country, just below what Oklahoma pays Joe Castiglione and above what Notre Dame pays Jack Swarbrick, two of the countries most influential Athletic Directors.
On top of Eichorst's salary, he will also receive a $750,000 dollar bonus if he stays the whole five years of his deal. Consequently, there is a "substantial" penalty if Eichorst leaves Nebraska early for, lets say, Wisconsin.
Through the first year of his contract, Eichorst has a $2 million dollar buyout, which goes down by $500k/year through this deal. The amount of this clearly shows that Perlman and the University realizes that there could be a potential of Eichorst being a possible replacement for Wisconsin's AD, Barry Alvarez.
Some other notes from Perlman's presser include:
- Tom Osborne, who will be retiring on January 1st and staying through July 1st, 2013 as Athletic Director Emeritus to see the transition through, was not as much involved in the decision as he would have hoped to be.
- Perlman only interviewed two candidates for the position, as Eichorst was one of them. That interview happened on Sunday, September 9th. That was the day after both Miami had their lone loss of the season at Kansas State, and Nebraska had their lone loss as well at UCLA.
- While Perlman did not disclose the other candidate, it was made clear to the press that there were no internal candidates interviewed for the position. This means that Jamie Williams, hired specifically by Osborne in June to seemingly be the AD in waiting after his run at the Academy of Art Institute in San Francisco. Paul Meyers, a important fund raiser to Nebraska Athletics, also did not receive an interview.
- Eichorst will start with the University on Tuesday, October 9th where he will be introduced at that time. Until he takes over on New Years Day, Eichorst will be a "Special Assistant to the Chancellor".
- The names of the "advisors" to Chancellor Perlman include Nebraska coaches Bo Pelini, Tim Miles and Connie Yori. Furthermore, B1G commissioner Jim Delany were also on the advisory panel.
One will have to wonder about when Eichorst said yes to this, with the announcing of Osborne's retirement and the sudden leak in the press on Wednesday night. Furthermore, there is another question of how Osborne truly feels about the Eichorst hire. From what it sounds like, Perlman had this interview with Eichorst and Osborne didn't know about it till possibly weeks later.
As my colleague James Stevenson put it so frankly:
Sounds like Harvey pulled the same kind of end around on Osborne, that Osborne pulled on Byrne back in 1997