In 2012, Scott Frost was the wide receivers coach at the University of Oregon. His coaching star was only beginning to rise when Frost met with the Omaha World-Herald for a series of interviews about a book on coach Tom Osborne’s championship Nebraska teams, including the 1997 squad that featured Frost at QB. It was in those interviews that Frost’s true feelings about one day returning to the Cornhuskers were made known.
“It’s the No. 1 goal,” Frost said then. “Sometimes your goals come true and sometimes not. But there’s no other place I’d …”
Frost paused. As the Omaha World-Herald noted, it appeared as if Frost didn’t want to discredit his job with the Ducks. He’d go on to be named offensive coordinator soon enough, after all.
“I guess I’d just say, a big part of my heart is in Nebraska, and I’d love to coach there someday.”
Fast-forward two years. Nebraska coach Bo Pelini had just been fired and the Huskers coaching position was open. Frost was in his second year as Oregon’s offensive coordinator, and many felt it was time for Frost to come home to Nebraska.
One of those individuals? Former teammate Jason Peter. He told the Lincoln Journal Star at the time that while Frost had yet to have any head coaching experience of his own, it was only a matter of time.
“I think he’s been on kind of this fast track ever since he got into coaching,” Peter said. “Was Chip Kelly ready to be the head coach at Oregon and succeed the way he did? From looking at just the resume, probably not. Here he was coaching New Hampshire or something, and the next thing you know, he’s the head coach at Oregon, and he’s taken that school to another level. Was Gus Malzahn ready? What, he had one year at [Arkansas State]?
“I think it’s a different day and age when you’re talking coaching today and how fast some guys are going to climb that ladder.”
The problem for Nebraska was that the Huskers were just coming off a coach who hadn’t had head coaching experience prior his time in Lincoln. Former athletic director Shawn Eichorst opted for someone with more head coaching experience — as well as a complete 180 personality-wise from Pelini — and hired Mike Riley.
Three years later, Riley’s time at Nebraska has ended. Eichorst was fired in late September, and Bill Moos was later hired as his replacement. After Nebraska ended its 2017 season with a 4-8 record, Moos opted to part ways with Riley and find the “right fit” for the Huskers.
Many chimed in on who that “right fit” should be, and the general consensus settled on Frost once again. Even signs at ESPN’s College GameDay made it clear what fans expected to happen.
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Looking back, maybe Nebraska could have hired Frost in 2014. It’s hard to imagine what may or may not have happened if the Huskers had made the move then, but timing is everything.
Three years later, Frost has the head coaching experience some felt he needed. He’s also taken UCF from an 0-12 record in 2015 to an undefeated 12-0 season in 2017. He’d arrived at a place with UCF where to be competitive in the College Football Playoff world, it was time to take the next step.
And so on Saturday, Frost took that next step. It was a long time coming, and possibly one of the worst-kept secrets around. Regardless, the deal is done.
Frost is finally home, even if the journey getting here was a little different than expected.