Austin Allen Growing Into the Leader Nebraska Needs
Photo Credit: John Peterson

Current Student-Athletes Contribute to Nebraska’s Search Advisory Committee to Hire Athletic Director

July 14, 2021

The Huskers’ two-week waiting period for the 14th athletic director in school history has concluded. Nebraska announced former Husker great Trev Alberts in a press conference Wednesday morning.

Chancellor Ronnie Green and president Ted Carter did not reach this decision alone. To get to this point, the pair also relied on a search advisory committee. The committee came together and looked through what Green called a very deep pool of national candidates.

The 16-person advisory committee included current and former student-athletes at Nebraska. Kristen Blankley is a Nebraska professor of law and chair of the UNL intercollegiate athletics committee. She was a co-chair. Scott Fuess, Nebraska professor of economics, was the other co-chair. The search committee also included Eric Crouch, Darin Erstad, Peaches James, Ndamukong Suh, Jordan Burroughs, Amy Williams, Tim Clare, Charlesette Foster, Bill Jackman, John Jentz, Tonn Ostegard and Jack Stark.

The group came together quickly after Bill Moos retired. They’ve been meeting weekly since that decision. There were two current student-athletes to take part of the committee: football player Austin Allen and track and field athlete Taylor Johnson.

“It started with Coach (Scott) Frost,” Allen said. “They needed somebody on the football team as a representative. Well, not necessarily the football team, they needed a student-athlete as a representative for this search committee. He thought I would be a great pick, being an in-state guy understanding what you want to see in Nebraska. He asked me if I’d be willing to do it. I said, sure. It was a great experience for me.”

The decision to join the committee was an easy one for Allen. He represented a unique perspective in that group. He is a football player at Nebraska like Alberts was from 1990-1993.

“It was cool for me to be able to help in that aspect because a guy like Trev Alberts, he’s been in my shoes,” Allen said “He’s been through it all. He understands what we’re going through as student-athletes and that’s promising to me as a football player. He has a background of exactly what goes on here. He’s been doing it for a decade now. He’s not here for two years just by talking to him. He’s here for the long run. Nebraska is where he wants to be.”

One thing always comes up at Nebraska during high-profile hires. Does a person needs to have intimate knowledge of Nebraska before taking the job? Allen thinks that it matters. He believes it is tough to explain to someone from outside the state what Nebraska special. It’s something you can’t necessarily put into words. Once you are here and you’ve been through it, that helps you understand it better.

Having a pair of current student-athletes on the committee was an interesting twist. Men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg liked the message it sent about being student-athlete focused.

“I think it’s important to have student-athletes as part of that process just because of how important they are,” Hoiberg said “Because at the end of the day it is what it’s all about. It’s all about the student-athlete. If you can get a group of people that have the trust in your leader, I think that’s very important. I think it’s great that Ronnie Green and Ted Carter put that selection committee together and including student-athletes.”

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