ESPN's Andy Katz reported this morning that the Huskers really wanted Oregon coach Dana Altman to return to Nebraska, only to update that with the news that Altman plans to stay in Oregon. The Altman-to-Nebraska would seem to fit Tom Osborne's modus of hiring people familiar with Nebraska. Pelini left Nebraska with much admiration in 2003, making him an easy fit to return four years later to repair the Bill Callahan clusterfool. Last summer, Osborne hired Darin Erstad, a former Husker punter as well as all-star outfielder in the major leagues, to coach the Husker baseball team. Altman and Osborne worked together briefly at Creighton during one of Osborne's consulting arrangements after the former coach left Congress.Altman has drawn a tepid response from fans. While widely credited with being the architect of Creighton's rise from mediocrity to being one of the biggest mid-major basketball powers, the latter Altman years were mostly filled with NIT bids. Altman's career at Creighton never was the same after he left Omaha for a day to accept, then ultimately reject, the Arkansas head coaching position. I think some Husker fans would never accept a former Creighton coach (though Connie Yori has done an outstanding job with Husker women's basketball), while others remember the lackluster final years of Altman at Creighton. Altman's success at Oregon is tepid as well; a CBI title last season, and an NIT quarterfinals 90-86 loss to Washington Tuesday night.
Altman also earns a hefty salary at Oregon, and I have to believe that Nebraska can do better for the money that Altman would require to come to Nebraska.
Katz now says that Colorado State's Tim Miles and Ohio's John Groce are the two leading candidates for the Nebraska job. If I had a choice, I'd go strong after Groce once the Bobcats NCAA tournament run ends. Ohio plays North Carolina on Friday night. Groce is reportedly not interested in the Husker job, but perhaps Osborne can put together a package that could convince Groce to change his mind. Groce has a strong resume both as a recruiter at Ohio State (Big Ten connections) as well as an even stronger record of success with Ohio.