Nebraska fires athletic director after 5 years - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Nebraska fires athletic director after 5 years

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska abruptly fired athletic director Shawn Eichorst on Thursday, citing a failure to improve the “on-field performance” by the Cornhuskers.

Chancellor Ronnie Green announced the move five days after the football team dropped to 1-2 for the second time in three years after an embarrassing 21-17 home loss to Northern Illinois.

Eichorst joined Nebraska in October 2012, and has about $1.7 million remaining on a contract that runs through June 2019.

“Shawn has led Nebraska athletics in many positive ways, but those efforts have not translated into on-field performance,” Green said. “Our fans and our student-athletes deserve leadership that drives the highest levels of competitiveness, as well as excellence across all facets of Husker athletics.”

Eichorst and football coach Mike Riley have been under increased scrutiny with the continued mediocrity of the program. Eichorst hired Riley away from Oregon State in 2014, replacing the successful but volatile Bo Pelini.

Riley is just 16-13 at Nebraska, a school that has won five national championships, went to bowl games every year from 1969-2003 but has not won a conference title since 1999. Since opening 2016 with seven straight wins, the Cornhuskers have lost six of nine, a stretch that included losses of 59 points to Ohio State and 30 points to Iowa.

Eichorst had quietly extended Riley’s contract by one year, through the 2020 season, and he was forced to do an about-face of sorts after first saying it would be better for players to play on the Saturday after Thanksgiving despite the program playing on Black Friday for 27 straight years.

“Winning can and often does happen in concert with well-run, quality college programs that work to ensure the success of the student,” Green said. “That’s our expectation. We take pride here in doing things right and doing the right thing, and that won’t change. This is not an either-or equation. We can and should win in that kind of environment.”

Green and President Hank Bounds dismissed Eichorst during a meeting Thursday and met with coaches to notify them.

“While I am deeply disappointed in the decision today, I am grateful for the wonderful years that my family and I have spent at Nebraska,” Eichorst said in a statement released by the school. “I am proud of how our student-athletes, coaches and staff represented this great university and state, and I am confident that the future is bright for Nebraska athletics.”

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