On Wednesday, Nebraska hired Trev Alberts as athletic director, replacing “retiring” director Bill Moos. Alberts, a standout linebacker at Nebraska from 1990-1993, served as athletic director for the University of Nebraska-Omaha since 2009, and saw UNO through a tumultuous period. While Alberts guided UNO’s transition to a full Division I athletic program, some fans of the program hold a grudge against him for cancelling the school’s football and wrestling programs.
Here’s three quick things to know about Nebraska’s new athletic director.
It’s a home-run hire for Nebraska
I’m a UNO alum and a hockey season-ticket holder since the program’s inception in 1997, so I have plenty of cred to talk about Alberts’ time in charge. I was devastated at the news about the football and wrestling programs being cut. But Alberts walked in to a UNO athletic program that was straining under massive mis-management, and under a time pressure to make a move to Division I. Alberts made the only decision he could have made for UNO’s athletic survival, as there was no way to preserve football and wrestling while maintaining D-I and Title IX eligibility.
Since then, UNO’s athletic department is experiencing a golden age. He hired Mike Gabinet as UNO’s hockey coach, who has put the program in better shape then it has been since its inception. He got the Baxter Arena built in AkSarBen, near campus and providing an amazing home for hockey, basketball, and volleyball. Soccer now occupies Caniglia Field on campus and is thriving, including a legitimate “Dodge Street Darby” rivalry with Creighton. Baseball and softball are flourishing, with brand new and gorgeous fields across the street from the Baxter Arena.
His decade-plus of success as an athletic director – in the state of Nebraska, no less – will be invaluable as he takes over in Lincoln. It’s clear from his emotional reaction at his introductory press conference that leading his alma mater is important to him. And his status as an ex-Husker combined with his success at UNO will give him all the credibility he needs to implement his vision.
The hot takes will be coming
Dunking on Nebraska has become popular sport for national media covering college athletics. At some level, I guess I get it, as Nebraska’s on-field performance has fallen so amazingly short of what coaches and at least some fans talk about it being.
So I guess we shouldn’t be surprised when we see something like this as a reaction to Alberts’ hire.
Yeah, ha ha, isn’t that funny to bring up Alberts’ time on ESPN from 2002-2005. Never mind the decade-plus of athletic director experience he’s picked up since then. And take it from someone who religiously watched College GameDay Final when Alberts and Mark May were on it – May never sounded reasonable on that show.
And this is from Matt Brown, who is for the most part a really solid and insightful journalist covering college sports. I shudder to think what Pat Forde’s Twitter timeline looks like.
So buckle up, Husker Fan, more of this will be coming.
Frost and Hoiberg are officially on the clock
No, not in 2021, absent things going comically wrong. But if Frost and Hoiberg aren’t able to right their respective ships in football and basketball, Alberts is exactly the kind of leader that will be able to make the tough call to let go a favored son. His status as an ex-Husker would give him the innate credibility necessary to talk about what it means to be successful at Nebraska. And his history at UNO of making the hard, necessary decision shows Alberts has the mettle to make that call if he has to.
Of course, Nebraska fans hope that call never needs to be made. And as we’ve discussed here, the table is set for both Frost and Hoiberg to find the success that they were assumed to bring.
But if Moos’ “retirement” turned up the heat on their metaphoric seats, then Alberts’ hiring just added a few logs to that fire.