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Why Shawn Eichorst is Already Making Some Fans Nervous for Pelini
Shawn Eichorst hasn’t spent 24 hours in Lincoln as the Athletic Director-in-Waiting and already people are worried about Bo Pelini’s future. Talk about commanding a presence.
Quite a few Nebraska fans have looked forward to the Alvarez disciple’s arrival since his hiring was announced last Thursday, but some are amazingly upset about it.
Husker fan Douglas Burritt stated, “If Bo doesn’t get this ship corrected, he will get to know this new athletic director and not in a good way. Five years and nothing has changed. Losing my patience. Yes it is better than the Callahan years, but I just don’t think Bo will ever get us back to that championship caliber team.”
Going a step further, another niche of fans is afraid that if a coaching change is made, Callahan-like records will return which is a valid concern. Steve Pederson may have tabbed the wrong guy, but it’s unlikely that Eichorst would have a similar catastrophe occur under his watch.
His alma mater, Wisconsin-Whitewater – a program for which he worked as athletic director for five years – is the defending Division III national champion in football. In fact, they’ve won titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010. An Alabama of the North. To make that 2007 championship even more impressive, they had to beat perennial powerhouse Mount Union in the title game.
In other words, this is a program that doesn’t accept losing. Sound familiar?
With the love Nebraska fans give Barry Alvarez – love that he’s earned – some can’t trust his right hand man of three years in the Wisconsin athletic department to hire a proper coach if necessary. That doesn’t make any sense. Neither does the possibility of being mad at Eichorst for axing Pelini if he doesn’t meet the standards that Nebraska fans themselves pine over after being given ample time and resources.
If Pelini’s the next Osborne – which can only be assumed several people think he is as the former’s first years are so often compared to the latter’s – then he has nothing to worry about. Losing by close margins to top competition is one thing. Getting blown out on national television is another entirely.
Nebraska’s new athletic director as of January has a goal for his programs. It’s the same as the one he and his successors have had at UW-W for years now: excellence. Pelini, a person likely to get one of Eichorst’s first handshakes, has vocally stated his goal for the rest of the season: win out.
The Cornhuskers may have a remarkable rebound, win the next six games and Bo Pelini may choose to leave because he feels that Eichorst won’t give him a fair shake. His team may tank, have their worst season under him yet and cause him to be handed a pink slip. That would be an impressive tumble, though.
The third and most likely option is that Nebraska wins eight or nine games and gets to a decent bowl. Another season, same song, different verse.
Would that be enough to give him a comfortable leash under Eichorst? This question causes some fans to raise their voices in anger and point back to Pederson yet again. If Bo Pelini is truly the right guy for the Huskers’ football program and deserves to be in the class of top 25 coaches’ salaries, there’s no need to be so jumpy.
Follow Brandon on Twitter: @eightlaces