In the wake of Nebraska firing Scott Frost after a 45-42 loss to Georgia Southern, Mickey Joseph was named the interim head coach.
He’ll serve in that role moving forward this season, athletic director Trev Alberts said at Sunday’s press conference. Nebraska currently has a 1-2 record.
“Having a different voice and having some new energy and enthusiasm I’m hoping can make a difference for this team,” he said.
Joseph was one of four new offensive assistant coaches hired following the 2021 offseason, entering as the wide receivers coach, passing game coordinator and associate head coach. Prior to Nebraska, however, he had accumulated over 25 years of coaching experience and over 20 at the collegiate level.
That began four years after his playing career as a quarterback at Nebraska. He stayed in the state, starting as a quarterback and wide receiver coach at Omaha North High School from 1995 to 1996. He then spent a year as the run game coordinator at Wayne State College.
His first college head coaching job came in 2011 at Langston, a historically Black university. He previously was an assistant there, and had a 13-7 record in his two seasons as the head coach.
Joseph’s most notable position may have been his most recent one before Nebraska, serving as the wide receivers coach at LSU from 2017 to 2021. In that tenure, the Tigers had six wide receivers drafted to the NFL, including three in 2021. Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson are the most noteworthy of those names. Jefferson has been a second team All-Pro selection in both of his NFL seasons, while Chase was rookie of the year and a second team All-Pro selection last year.
To date, Joseph has coached at 11 different colleges, including Nebraska. Now, he’ll take on the challenge of trying to reverse the Huskers’ fortunes this year.
Alberts, who was with Joseph as he addressed the team today, praised Joseph’s energy and experience.
“I think he sees this as a real opportunity for him as well, professionally,” Alberts said. “He has an infectious personality, I think that’s important … he had a very poignant conversation with the team today that I thought they took very well.”
The athletic director said he expects there to be significant changes to the program with Joseph at the helm in terms of structure. He doesn’t plan on interfering with that.
“I will do anything I possibly can to be supportive of the football coaching staff, but I will not get in the way,” Alberts said. “Ultimately, what I would do with Scott (Frost) is every time we talked, I’d ask, ‘How can I help? Am I doing anything that’s counterproductive?’ I’ll do the same thing with Mickey… I’ll do whatever Mickey and the staff ask me to do.”
Joseph’s promotion also marks a historic moment for Nebraska. The Huskers have never had a Black head coach in any sport until now. In 2003, Nebraska football passed over its Black assistant head coach, Turner Gill, for the interim spot after Frank Solich was fired, choosing Bo Pelini and later hiring Bill Callahan. That hiring process drew criticism from faculty at the university and Floyd Keith, then-director of the Black Coaches Association.
While Joseph is the team’s head coach now, the interim tag can’t be ignored. Alberts said Nebraska will conduct a national search for its next head coach with help from a third party. Joseph has his chance to earn the job, according to Alberts, but he’ll have competition.
“I think we have an opportunity to hire an outstanding coach that can lead our program,” Alberts said. “I would love to see Mickey grow into that, and we’ll just see where it goes.”