Nebraska leadership continues to change.
On Monday, University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds announced he will be stepping down from his post, a position he has held for the last four years. The announcement came by way of a letter sent to university students, faculty and staff.
“I am writing to let you know that together with my family, I have made the difficult decision to step down as president of this great university,” Bounds said in the statement.
“The four years that I have spent serving alongside you have been among the most exciting and enriching of my career. Growing up, I never dreamed I would even go to college, much less have the opportunity to work with some of the most talented students, faculty and staff in the world. To have been entrusted with this role by the Board of Regents is the privilege of a lifetime.
“While rewarding, this job has also been personally demanding. I have done everything I could to serve our students and the people of Nebraska effectively. Now, after more than 20 years in executive roles, it’s time for me to recharge and reconnect with my family.
“We plan to return to the South, where much of our family lives, late this summer. I won’t be walking away from education, as one of the major goals in my career has always been to bring quality educational opportunities to all. Education transformed my own life, and I will continue to work to help young people experience that same transformative power.
“I will leave knowing the University of Nebraska is in good hands. The President’s Office leadership team, and Chancellor's Gold, Green and Kristensen and their teams, are a talented group. The Board of Regents has high expectations for our continued growth and momentum. Our faculty members are changing lives every day through their work in our labs, classrooms and fields.
“And our students — the reason we come to work every day — convince me that Nebraska’s future is bright. I only wish I could have personally learned and told each of their 52,000 stories.
“When I began this job, I said the University of Nebraska had the power to change the world. I believe that is more true today than ever. I can’t wait to see what you continue to achieve.
“Thanks to each of you, and to all the people of Nebraska, for so warmly welcoming Susie, Will, Caroline and me as one of your own. We are forever grateful.”
Originally from Mississippi, Bounds was a high school football coach in the state and a graduate assistant at Southern Miss. Football, he has said in the past, is the front door to a university because of its visibility, and he has been as involved as possible with the Huskers’ football program during his time in Lincoln. Over the years, Bounds has frequented football practices, been on the sidelines talking to recruits for games and had a hand in major athletic department dealings.
As university president, Bounds had a hand in the decision to fire former athletic director Shawn Eichorst and bring Moos to Lincoln from Washington State.
When Scott Frost was hired away from Central Florida after the 2017 season, he said Bounds and the rest of the leadership team were a key factor in his coming home.
“I haven't felt comfortable for a while because it didn't feel like home to me,” Frost said during his introductory press conference. “[There have] been roadblocks here that have been in the way of football success, and they were created unnecessarily. I think [Athletic Director] Bill [Moos] and [UNL Chancellor] Ronnie [Green] and Hank are going to be the type of guys that remove those type of obstacles, instead of placing more in your way. That's going to be a big part of our chances to get this done.”
Bounds’ departure will be another in a string of major changes to university personnel in recent memory. Bounds came aboard in 2015, Green was named as UNL Chancellor in 2016, Eichorst was fired and replaced with Moos as the athletic director in 2017, Frost was brought on board to coach football in December of 2017 and now Bounds will need replacing. The departure at the top also comes in a week when many expect Moos to replace his head men’s basketball coach, Tim Miles.