As I'm sure you all know by now, Harvey Perlman has fired Steve Pederson. Well, technically he asked him to resign and he did, but why split hairs.
What I've been told is that there was enough money given to the University to buy out Steve's contract AND pay off the current stadium expansion project, the figure somewhere around $40 million.
I was wondering how I'd feel about this when I got the news, and I got the news today as I was driving across Wisconsin to a customer site. After I hung up for the second time in four minutes, an overwhelming feeling of joy hit me. It was downright giddiness.
I've been witness to enough layoffs and firings throughout my career that I know you're not supposed to enjoy them. They're not fun no matter how they're handled. You're supposed to shake the person's hand, say you're sorry that it didn't work out, and wish them luck on their next endeavor, just like Harvey Perlman did. In the case of Steve Pederson, I can't imagine that Nebraskans aren't partying in the streets. The only bad thing I can think about this is that Pederson didn't erect a statue of himself that we could enjoy tearing down.
I see at Husker Extra that big-time contributor Dan Cook isn't happy about the firing. He wanted Pederson and Callahan to have one more year to see if they could be successful.
I hate to sound cliche'd but this one wasn't about wins and losses. It was about morale in the athletic department which was plummeting since Pederson's contract had been renewed. Will the team play better because we've fired our much-hated athletic director? We won't know that until Saturday, but their season started going down the tubes when the contract extensions came out.
Low morale is a life-sucking illness for any organization, and today was a big step forward in killing that illness. You tell me if you feel any better about the future of the program.
In the four years since firing Frank Solich and becoming the most hated man in Nebraska because of a protracted search for a new head coach, Steve Pederson failed to make any effort to make that right. Instead of once being contrite about how he'd handled things, he remained too confident, and that arrogance cast a pall over the athletic department, and with that the state of Nebraska. I fail to see how giving Pederson another year would have made any difference, other than it would have driven more people away.
I've already been asked if Bill Callahan is a lame duck coach. We need to see how the rest of the year works out. If they can save this season (and therefore this team), then Dan Cook may at least get one half of his wish. If Bill Callahan is still here next season it wouldn't bother me (although he needs to make some other changes) because it will mean that he's salvaged the season.
Does firing Pederson solve all of the problems facing Husker football? No, but it's a darn good first step.
All I know for sure is that I'm surprised at my own giddiness.
Party on, dudes!!!!