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October 4, 2012

Perlman not afraid to make the tough decisions

Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman has never been afraid to make the tough decisions.

When the Husker Athletic Department hit rock bottom under Steve Pederson and Bill Callahan in Oct. of 2007 Perlman didn't hesitate to fire Pederson, despite the fact both he and Callahan were signed to lucrative long-term contracts only few months before that.

When it was becoming clear the Big 12 was no longer a long term cultural fit for Nebraska, it was Perlman that reached out to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney to get that ball rolling.

And when legendary Husker Athletic Director Tom Osborne announced his retirement effective at the end of the year, it was Perlman that wasn't afraid to make an outside hire without the blessing of those around him.

I commend Perlman for his hiring of Miami's Shawn Eichorst. He didn't cave into the pressure of what others wanted. Perlman made what he felt was the best hire for the long term interest of Nebraska.

After being around Bill Byrne, Steve Pederson and Tom Osborne Perlman definitely has had plenty of experience the last 10 years of knowing what works and what doesn't.

There was almost a perception by others that this had to be a "Nebraska man" or internal hire, but Perlman saw differently.

Paul Meyers, Jamie Williams or even Trev Alberts all would've been good Athletic Director's at Nebraska. However, as Perlman said none of the internal candidates had anywhere close to the experience of Eichorst.

Eichorst had a big advantage while at Wisconsin under Barry Alvarez, because he basically ran many of the day-to-day operations before he went to Miami. That's just something none of the internal candidates had on their résumé and if you are in Perlman's shoes that's hard to look past.

Nebraska's Athletic Department is a multi-million dollar operation, and Eichorst's $973,000 a year salary speaks volumes how bad Perlman wanted him and what he feels his overall value is.

Thursday was obviously a very uneasy day for Perlman, because he clearly wasn't ready to go forward with his announcement, but the 24-7 news cycle we live in today forced his hand.

The next that needs to happen now is Eichorst and head football coach Bo Pelini have to get to know one another. Of all the relationships in the Athletic Department, the Eichorst-Pelini one is far and away the most important.

"Football is the financial driver of the athletic department and it's also the sport that connects Nebraskans with the athletic department more than any other," Perlman said. "That will be a key, key relationship. I'm confident that knowing Bo as I do and Shawn as I do, that will be a very positive relationship."

Sean Callahan can be reached at sean@huskeronline.com and he can be heard each day at 6:50 am and 4:50 pm on Big Red Radio 1110 KFAB in Omaha during the football season. He can also be seen on KETV Channel 7 TV in Omaha during the fall and each week he appears on NET's Big Red Wrap Tuesday's at 7 pm.

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