Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Osborne accepts offer to be Nebraska's AD until 2010

From the Nebraska media relations department:

LINCOLN -- University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman announced Wednesday that the "interim" has been removed from Tom Osborne's title, and Osborne has agreed to serve as Nebraska's Director of Intercollegiate Athletics until June 30, 2010.

"I appreciated Tom's willingness to step in as interim athletic director during a very difficult time for the athletic department," Perlman said. "His presence and his decisions have significantly reduced the controversy surrounding the department and particularly the football program."

The decision to ask Osborne to serve as NU's permanent athletic director is based on timing.

"It is now beneficial to provide the department with stability in leadership, so it can take full advantage of the progress that already has been made," Perlman said.

"I don't think conducting a search for a permanent athletic director would serve the university's interests at this time," added Perlman. "That's why I offered Tom the opportunity to remove 'interim' from his title and invited him to accept an appointment as athletic director for a term of approximately 2 1/2 years until June 30, 2010."

Perlman and Osborne agreed that a search for Osborne's successor will begin in early 2010 with the intention that Osborne will both assist in the search and help with the transition of a new athletic director.

Osborne, 70, accepted Perlman's offer to direct the department on an ongoing basis and will continue to work as athletic director under the same terms of his original contract, signed on Oct. 24. Perlman and Osborne finalized the new agreement Tuesday.

"When Chancellor Perlman asked me to lead the athletic department and to help unify the state, he gave me the responsibility and the authority to do whatever needed to be done," Osborne said. "We've made some great strides over the last two months, but the chancellor and I agree that these next two years are crucial to keep our program moving forward."

Osborne said he has never been "enamored" with titles.

"At the same time, I think it's important for our entire department to realize that we will continue moving down the same path we're already going," Osborne said. "Change always breeds at least some uncertainty, and if removing 'interim' from my title helps everyone understand that we'll continue to be consistent in our approach, I'm all for that."

Added Osborne: "Everyone associated with the program -- coaches, student-athletes, administrators, fans and alumni -- want what’s best for Nebraska. My focus is on working together and giving our best, so the athletic department can continue to improve in every way possible."

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Wednesday, December 19, 2007 || 1 comments

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Pelini announces football coaching staff

From Nebraska's sports information department:

LINCOLN -- Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini announced Monday that he has completed the process of hiring his first Cornhuskers' coaching staff.

Eight of the assistant coaches have been announced, with all of those having previous coaching experience in the Big 12 Conference, including six coaches who have spent time at Nebraska. Pelini finalized his staff over the weekend with the addition of a running backs coach.

However, Pelini said the announcement of that individual will come in early January, after that coach has finished his work in a bowl game with his current school.

The offensive staff includes Barney Cotton as associate head coach/offensive line coach; Shawn Watson as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks; Ted Gilmore as assistant head coach/receivers coach/recruiting coordinator; and Ron Brown as tight ends coach. Watson and Gilmore were retained from the previous Nebraska coaching staff.

On the defensive side, the Husker staff will include Carl Pelini as defensive coordinator/defensive line coach, Mike Ekeler as linebackers coach, John Papuchis as defensive ends coach and Marvin Sanders as secondary coach.

Pelini also announced that former Husker player and assistant coach Jeff Jamrog will serve as assistant athletics director for football operations for the Nebraska football program.

Pelini said the coaching staff he has hired brings the overall characteristics he was looking for in Nebraska assistants.

"I was asked about the qualities I look for in assistant coaches, and I mentioned teachers, communicators and high-energy people," Pelini said. "I think this group of coaches will be great teachers for the young men in our program, and they are a good fit for Nebraska football."

Pelini said Cotton and Gilmore will assist him in a variety of roles in their positions as associate and assistant head coach, respectively.

"In addition to coaching the offensive line, Barney will assist me in a number of key administrative duties within our program," Pelini said. "Ted will continue as our receivers coach and recruiting coordinator, and he will also play a key role in the overall direction of our program."

The offensive staff will be led by Watson, who directed the Nebraska offense this season. The Huskers ranked eighth nationally in passing offense and 11th in total offense, and Pelini is excited to build on that success.

"Offensively, there has been good success here recently," Pelini said. "I think we can add some wrinkles to what has worked well the past few years. Coach Watson is a proven offensive coordinator in the Big 12 Conference, and our offensive assistants have extensive collegiate experience, specifically in the Big 12 North."

Defensively, Pelini said he will be involved in all aspects of the preparation and expects his defensive staff to operate as one cohesive unit.

"Our defensive coaches will all have equal input on what we are doing, regardless of titles or positions," Pelini said. "Our defensive coaches are outstanding teachers who will bring great energy to the practice field. I have worked with each of them during my career and have great confidence in this group. This staff plans to build on the tradition of hard-nosed Blackshirt defenses at Nebraska."

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Monday, December 17, 2007 || 0 comments

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Two Husker hoopsters earn Big 12 honors

IRVING, Texas -- A pair of Nebraska athletes -- senior Aleks Maric and junior Ade Dagunduro - have been chosen as the Phillips 66 Big 12 Men’s Basketball Player and Rookie of the Week for Dec. 10-16, in voting by a panel of media covering the conference.

It's the third career weekly honor for Maric and marks the first time in Big 12 history that NU has earned both accolades in the same week.

Maric helped Nebraska to a 2-0 record last week with wins over Savannah State (82-37) and No. 16 Oregon (88-79, OT). The senior center averaged a team-high 16.5 points to go along with 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game.

Maric's top effort came against the Ducks, as he posted his third 20-point game of the season with a team-best 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting. The 6-foot-11 senior had 17 points after halftime to lead NU to its first win in school history against a ranked non-conference opponent outside of Lincoln.

Maric’s defense helped hold Oregon's starting post players to seven points after they entered the contest averaging 24 points combined. He shot 63.2 percent (12-of-19) on the week, plus 75 percent (9-of-12) from the free-throw line.

Dagunduro registered 12 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game in the two victories for the Huskers last week. The junior had 15 points and seven rebounds versus Oregon, helping NU hold the Ducks 12 points below their season scoring average.

Dagunduro added nine points, four rebounds and four steals earlier in the week, as his defense led the Huskers in holding Savannah State to one field goal in the first 13 minutes of the game. The Englewood, Calf., native has scored in double digits in five of his last six outings and is second on the team in scoring this season with 11.8 points per contest.

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Monday, December 17, 2007 || 0 comments

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Pelini tells Rome that Watson will run Husker offense

While no official announcements have been made by the University of Nebraska, new Cornhuskers coach Bo Pelini indicated Friday that offensive coordinator Shawn Watson will remain in that role for the program.

Speaking during an interview on Jim Rome's radio program, Pelini said that Nebraska won't be making a lot of changes offensively.

"We're tweaking a little bit here and there and coach Watson will put his flavor on it, but they have moved the football and that's a real positive, and we have a lot of guys returning on offense," Pelini told Rome. "We have some building to do on defense, but I believe that I can get that done. I'm looking forward to that challenge."

While posting a 5-7 record under former head coach Bill Callahan in 2007, Nebraska averaged 33.4 points and 468.2 yards of total offense per game. However, the Huskers' defense also allowed 37.9 points and 476.8 yards of total offense per game.

"The offense has been on solid ground -- they've really done a good job," Pelini said. "For whatever reason, they've struggled here a little bit defensively as of late. That's obviously where I come in.

"There's never a quick fix. Things have to be developed and a culture has to be built, but there’s talent here. We just need to build on that talent, keep recruiting the right way and get the kids buying in and believing again."

Even after a season that included Nebraska's first five-game losing streak since 1958, Pelini said he doesn't think the Huskers are that far away from being a good team again.

"You starting going through some tough times and people forget what it takes to win and how to win and a bit of doubt starts creeping into their minds," Pelini said. "We've got to remove that doubt, get to believing again and knowing what we have in front of us and knowing how good we can be.
"A lot of that is attitude and building a culture within your program and that's something I’ve had a lot of success doing."

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Friday, December 07, 2007 || 0 comments

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Osborne a built-in mentor for first-time head coach

While Nebraska's Bo Pelini figures he'll encounter several new challenges as a first-time head coach, the 39-year-old said he has the built-in advantage of having Tom Osborne as his interim athletics director. During his 25 seasons as Nebraska's head coach, all Osborne did was record 255 victories and win three national titles, never failing to produce at least nine wins and take his team to a bowl game.

Pelini said Osborne has provided him with a lot of insight about what has been going on at Nebraska, which just completed a 5-7 season, and what needs to occur in the short term to get the program turned around.

"I think that's one of the advantages that I have is I'm going to be working as a first-time head coach under a legend, who’s going to be right there and somebody I can lean on and ask questions of," Pelini said of Osborne. "Because one thing I understand is that in this business and really anything you do in life, you never really have it all figured out.

"The first time you do something, there are going to be things that come up that you're not sure of. Having Coach Osborne here and being the athletic director and being able to draw on his experience and his knowledge will do nothing but benefit me."

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Tuesday, December 04, 2007 || 0 comments

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Osborne calls press conference to name new coach

From the Nebraska media relations department:

University of Nebraska Interim Athletic Director Tom Osborne has scheduled a 4 p.m. news conference today to introduce the Huskers new head football coach.

Several metro news outlets are reporting that LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini arrived at the Lincoln airport Sunday morning and is currently at Memorial Stadium.

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Sunday, December 02, 2007 || 0 comments

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Report: LSU regent says Pelini is headed to Nebraska

A Louisiana newspaper joins the list of news outlets reporting tht Bo Pelini will be Nebraska's next coach. Below is the report from the Associated Press:

LINCOLN (AP) -- A Baton Rouge, La., newspaper has reported that a Louisiana State University supervisor confirmed Bo Pelini will step down as defensive coordinator to become the head coach at Nebraska.

"I think it's pretty clear and it's our idea that Bo will be the next coach at Nebraska," Charles Weems told The Advocate on Saturday.

Pelini and Nebraska interim athletic director Tom Osborne have denied previous reports of the hiring.
If hired, the 39-year-old Pelini would replace Bill Callahan, who was fired last Saturday after the Huskers' second losing season in four years.

Osborne had said when announcing Callahan's firing that the next coach didn't have to have Nebraska ties. Pelini was only at Nebraska in 2003, but his no-nonsense, hardworking style of coaching defense quickly made him a beloved figure.

Pelini was interim coach after Frank Solich was fired following the 2003 regular season, coaching the Huskers to an Alamo Bowl victory over Michigan State. As he walked off the field in San Antonio, Huskers fans chanted "We want Bo."

Osborne has interviewed Pelini and Buffalo coach Turner Gill, a former star Nebraska quarterback and longtime assistant, and reportedly spoke informally with Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe.

Pelini had been a candidate for the Nebraska job after Solich's firing. Former athletic director Steve Pederson interviewed Pelini but elected to go with Callahan.

Posted by Terry Douglass @ Saturday, December 01, 2007 || 0 comments

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