Nebraska fired athletic director Shawn Eichorst on Thursday, an action that draws a lot of attention to football coach Mike Riley.
Eichorst’s firing comes five days after the Huskers’ 21-17 home loss to Northern Illinois, a loss which led Eichorst to hold his own impromptu news conference after the game.
At his own news conference Thursday, Nebraska chancellor Ronnie Green brushed off comments that Eichorst’s firing is a step toward firing Riley.
“Mike Riley is our football coach. We expect him to compete,” Green said. “This is not about Mike Riley. We expect him to compete. We expect our player to compete in baseball and volleyball and you name the sport.”
But before Green denied a direct connection between the firing and the football team, he offered this slightly ominous statement:
“The next AD, would they have sole responsibility for decisions over football staff? They certainly will recommend, in like our process works, they recommend to us, we have to approve those hires as well, but we certainly expect them to make those choices.”
Green knows the attention will be on Riley regardless of what he says.
“We’ve had a conversation with Coach Riley. We know that there will be that speculation,” Green said. “We expect the Huskers to compete on Saturday [at home against Rutgers].”
The chancellor mentioned several times during his news conference that the university looked at all sports when making this decision.
“Clearly the Northern Illinois issue just occurred, but we expect our teams to compete on every playing surface,” Green said
Green said Nebraska will make its decision on an interim athletic director in the next few days. He added that he university president Hank Bounds made their decision on Wednesday, so the search “literally began a few hours ago.”