Photo Credit: Greg Smith

New Offensive Coordinator Mark Whipple Is Highest-Paid Coordinator In Husker Football History

January 14, 2022

The contract details for two new Husker football assistant coaches have been released.

According to a copy of the documents, offensive coordinator and assistant head coach Mark Whipple was given a two-year contract ending on Dec. 31, 2023 and will be paid $875,000 in 2022 and $900,000 in 2023. That makes Whipple the highest-paid coordinator in Nebraska football history.

New special teams coordinator Bill Busch was given a two-year contract ending on Dec. 31, 2023, and will be paid $400,000 in both years.

Whipple resigned from his position as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Dec. 7. He had held those titles since 2019, his first season at Pitt. He was hired at Nebraska on Dec. 8.

Whipple said it was pretty simple why he decided to leave Pitt for the Midwest. “It’s Nebraska,” he said during his first media session as a Husker assistant.

“I’m a guy that likes challenges,” he said. “I’ve been everywhere, done everything, but I haven’t been at Nebraska. I hadn’t coached in the Big Ten. So, why not?”

Whipple comes to Nebraska from the Atlantic Coast Conference champ Panthers, where he coached and developed 2021 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award winner and Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback Kenny Pickett. Under Whipple’s watch, Pickett, a fifth-year player, broke two records in last week’s ACC championship game against Wake Forest. One was Dan Marino’s school record of 79 career touchdowns passes—Pickett now holds the record with 81. The other was the ACC record for touchdown passes in a season, which Pickett now owns with 42, breaking the old mark of 41.

Whipple will be reunited with Nebraska’s current interim running backs coach Ron Brown in Lincoln. The two played together at Brown University, an Ivy League school, where Whipple was a quarterback and Brown, who would go on to be a longtime Husker assistant, was a defensive back. They were also on the same coaching staff at Brown University in 1983.

Whipple knows Nebraska football, and he wants to help get it back on track. That starts with building an offense with head coach Scott Frost. He wants to take what was good from last season—the Huskers gained 446.6 total yards per game, 23rd in the country—and tweak what wasn’t so good, like scoring points to match those yards. Nebraska averaged 27.9 points, 71st in the country.

“I said we’re going to work together. This is collaborative,” Whipple said of the offense he wants to run next season. “This is like, ‘You’re (Frost) a smart guy, you’ve had a lot of success, you’ve had the No. 1 offense at Oregon. What you did at UCF.’ I don’t have all the answers. It kind of goes back to ‘Remember the Titans’—at a certain point, you say, ‘I need help.’ He knows these guys that way. So we’ll both be involved.”

Busch was announced as Nebraska’s special teams coordinator last Monday, joining new assistants Whipple, receivers coach/associate head coach/passing game coordinator Mickey Joseph, offensive line coach Donovan Raiola and running backs coach Bryan Applewhite. This is his third stint coaching at Nebraska, with the first two coming from 1990-93 and 2004-07.

Busch joined the Huskers’ staff in February 2020 as a defensive analyst after spending the previous three seasons as LSU’s safeties coach, where he was part of the Tigers’ undefeated national championship team in 2019. While at LSU, Busch coached LSU safety Grant Delpit, who earned first-team All-American honors in 2018 and 2019 and is currently playing for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.

“Bill Busch is a strong addition to our full-time coaching staff,” Frost said in a statement. “Bill has brought a veteran presence to our staff over the past year in his role as an analyst. I look forward to him coordinating all aspects of our special teams moving forward. Bill’s experience and track record as both an outstanding coach and recruiter speaks for itself.”

Here’s what the 2022 Husker coaching staff looks like:

OC: Mark Whipple
RBs: Bryan Applewhite
WRs: Mickey Joseph
TEs: Sean Beckton
OL: Donovan Raiola
DC: Erik Chinander
DL/OLB: Mike Dawson
ILB: Barrett Ruud
DBs: Travis Fisher
Special teams: Bill Busch

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