PETERS: Shawn Eichorst, a ‘Nebraska guy,’ a good fit for Nebraska

By Chris Peters on October 5th, 2012

Nebraska’s newly hired athletic director was second-in-command to Barry Alvarez at Wisconsin. Alvarez is about as close to Nebraska as anyone outside the program, and his opinion holds a certain influence greater than most, even within Nebraska.

Alvarez, once a Husker linebacker, recommended Eichorst for the Nebraska AD position, which Eichorst received just eight days after Tom Osborne announced his retirement.

The biggest concern with Eichorst to this point: Who the heck is he?

I won’t get into scrappy details, you can pick those up in any news story (including the one on the front page of this newspaper), but I will say that he appears to be what some would call “a Nebraska guy.”

Eichorst holds a degree in law, played football in college, grew up in the Midwest and came up through the ranks with a mostly Midwest mindset. And his connection to Alvarez, a former NU player, doesn’t hurt.

He’s a quiet guy – he hasn’t spoken to the media in five months at Miami. He appears to be relatively conservative, at least in terms of his personality. But it’s clear that the young gun must have some professional fire under him if he was able to leap up so high in such a short amount of time – he’s only in his mid-40s, after all.

NU Chancellor Harvey Perlman made a good decision not trying to replace Osborne with another figure like him, but I think he also did a pretty good job of finding a suitable guy to fill the role. He found a guy who still has a lot of the right mindset, but still possesses some of that new pizzazz.

Professionally, Eichorst has had to deal a lot with the Nevin Shapiro scandal, in which Shapiro paid Miami football players certain amounts for big plays – and, as a result, many of his accomplishments were clouded. But when you look back at Eichorst’s 18-month term in Miami, it shows a lot of optimism, with increased boosters, groundwork for new facilities and the ushering in of a new head basketball coach.

My one concern with Eichorst is that he may not be the perfect guy for Nebraska’s current situation. Eichorst managed the chaos at Miami, and he did it well. But Nebraska isn’t in a state of anarchy right now. It is in a state of growth, with facility upgrades in line for programs to flourish. It will be interesting to keep an eye on Eichorst’s plans past the simple idea of rebuilding.

Thankfully, Eichorst has a six-month period on training wheels, with Osborne holding his hips as he finds his balance. Once Osborne calls it permanent quits in January, Eichorst will have to ride on his own. That’s when we’ll finally begin to see if he’s a true “Nebraska guy.”

Early signs are positive. While you can’t see much, the slits of light poking through the fence are awful bright.

Chris Peters is a senior journalism/advertising & public relations major. Reach him at sports@

dailynebraskan.com

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