Huskers leadership aligned in their vision to wake up the dormant Husker battleship
Over the last two decades, Husker football fans have sat through an identity crisis. The decision to modernize their program versus the choice to push forward using the pillars Tom Osborne put in place was something that Nebraska’s leadership and fans could never quite agree on, until now.
Nebraska has gone through the protégé head coach, the innovative head coach, the fiery coordinator coach, and the nice guy head coach before finally placing Scott Frost at the helm. While all of the former coaches have had varying degrees of success in different areas, none of them have been able to put it all together.
There has been a subtle and at times noticeable, lack of leadership and direction from those in charge of Husker football over the years. From coordinators saying they want their schemes to be “multiple”, coaches firing a coordinator at the direction of the Athletic Director, and hearing assistants telling a player they are the starter before the position coach has made the final decision as to whom is starting.
For the past couple of decades, there have been internal and external struggles for what the identity of Nebraska Football should be. You may remember the controversial hiring of Bill Callahan by AD Steve Pederson or have heard rumblings of the disagreements between Chancellor Harvey Perlman and legendary coach Tom Osborne. Perhaps the hiring of AD Shawn Eichorst by Chancellor Perlman and subsequent firing of Bo Pelini a few years later was what created a chasm for you as a fan.
Regardless of what caused the divide, many believe that the rebuilding of Husker football’s identity started with the recent hiring of Athletic Director Bill Moos and coach Scott Frost. While you’re not wrong, this viewpoint does not entirely encompass the massive undertaking that was put forth by two significant individuals behind the scenes over the last few years. You can trace the desire to reestablish Husker Athletic identity, starting with football, to University President Hank M. Bounds and Chancellor Ronnie Green, who came into their current positions in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
The Omaha World Herald’s Tom Shatel called Hank Bounds “The Football President” in a 2017 article and for good reason. President Bounds has worked closely with the Athletic Department since his appointment as University President and has a past filled with football. A former football player and coach, Bounds told Shatel that he might still be a football coach had it not been for a phone call from his former principal at Forrest County High School that led him down his path as an educator.
His passion for football as a whole is evident and his support for the Husker football team has never been more apparent than it is today. Bounds recognized the need for a singular vision at Nebraska and with Chancellor Green’s help they’ve gone as far to meet with recruits and their families during visits to not only help show their support but help them understand that Nebraska is a program that is invested from the top down and has a vision for where that ship is headed.
While Chancellor Green isn’t as involved in athletics as he is with issues on the University of Nebraska’s campus, the two organizations are tied together at the hip and share a mutual brand together. A strong athletics program fuels the universities brand academically and helps enrollment while a strong academic system, in turn, fuels the Huskers ravenous fan base and creates additional opportunities for students and athletes alike.
When the decision was made to part way with AD Shawn Eichorst, Green and Bounds stood side-by-side and addressed the Nebraska media and began to lay out Nebraska’s new direction together, with a single mission.
“We all know the importance of football in Husker athletics,” Green said. “There’s no reason to debate that, right? We know the importance of it to our brand. The expectations associated with Husker football are high — and should be high, always high.”
“But, with that said, we also expect excellence in baseball, we also expect excellence in men’s and women’s basketball, we expect excellence in track and field, we expect excellence in gymnastics, we expect excellence in volleyball. You go down the list. Our fans love all those sports, and they support them emotionally, and they support them with their presence.”
The leadership behind Nebraska Athletics has created a vision for it that is clearest it has been since the Tom Osborne era. They have turned over the keys to a sleeping battleship to Bill Moos and Scott Frost and know that their vision for Nebraska football is shared with its new leadership. Their vision of bringing back the speed and power of the legendary Husker teams of old coupled with the modern scheme of Scott Frost ran at UCF and Oregon is one that everyone can finally agree on.
Frost brings his experience as a championship winning athlete back to Nebraska with the winning tradition and culture that he curated with his coordinators at UCF. Those same coordinators are the men whose opinions, values, and abilities he trusts and shares that vision with. Along with his coaches, Frost has brought in key support personnel to develop his players, both mentally and physically, who are world renowned in their fields of work.
Nebraska’s vision, shared by its entire leadership staff, coaches, and support personnel have already begun to matriculate down through the players.
As for the future of Nebraska Football? Tanner Farmer may have said it best yesterday when he commented:
“We’re all in harmony now, and it’s awesome”
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