KOZN (1620 AM in Omaha) and Steve Sipple of the Lincoln Journal-Star have uncovered a deal between Steve Pederson and a buddy from his days at Pitt, William DeLeo. DeLeo was paid $15,000 a month plus travel expenses to help "streamline operations".
Yep...for those of you who remember "Office Space", that cult classic that ridiculed corporate America, Steve Pederson hired one of the "Bobs".
Said one Nebraska athletic department employee: "(DeLeo) was big business, definitely corporate in nature. He attached a ton of formality to everything he did, which made it less efficient instead of more efficient. In my mind, he was the main contributor as to why Steve lost his job."
"You're trying to focus on the student-athletes, and then all of a sudden we were going to be competing with our neighbors for money," one employee said.
Morale declined in the department as a "culture of fear-based leadership" developed, an employee said.
The Omaha World-Herald adds more:
"I almost went nuts when that guy came in," said one longtime Husker coach who spoke about DeLeo on the condition his name not be used.
Until Monday, Pederson was paying DeLeo $15,000 per month plus expenses. The consulting agreement was terminated, however, the same day Chancellor Harvey Perlman fired Pederson.
DeLeo's involvement in the department reflected Pederson's management style, those interviewed said. "Management style" was the reason Perlman gave for firing Pederson this week.
"I personally always had a good relationship with Steve," said Jay Dirksen, Nebraska's cross country coach. "But he's a different personality type. He just has always rubbed some people the wrong way."
How many more skeletons are we going to find in Pederson's closet? In the end, I think as this evolves, we'll find that Steve Pederson was more concerned with the goal (the bling) than the game (the people and traditions).