Five things we learned from Bill Moos’ press conference
Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon to discuss his decision to fire Tim Miles and what lies ahead in the Huskers' search for a new head men's basketball coach. Here's what we learned...
1. Moos appreciated NU's fight, but the results weren't good enough
While Moos has been criticized for not showing enough public support for Nebraska basketball, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t keeping a close eye on Miles’ program the past two years.
Moos said he understood the setbacks NU went through this season with injuries, and he applauded the team for the resilience it showed in its Big Ten Tournament run and ensuing trip to the NIT.
But Moos said he made it clear to Miles when he gave him the one-year extension a year ago that he wanted to see sustained success and consistency, and in the end, the product on the court just wasn’t good enough.
He explained that he didn’t think it would have done any good to fire Miles before the season was officially over, as he felt that would have been a disservice to the players who had worked themselves back to the opportunity for postseason play.
“I love his passion, his energy, his charisma, his integrity,” Moos said of Miles. “But in the end, I didn’t feel that we were competing the way that I want our programs to compete in the Big Ten Conference.”
2. Hoiberg has been contacted, Altman was not
As he does with football, Moos had a list of potential basketball coaches he would pursue if necessary. As of Tuesday, he said he’d contacted the top-three names on that list.
One of those coaches was former Iowa State legend and former Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg, as Moos admitted he had reached out to gauge his interest in the Huskers. He did not name the other two candidates that had been contacted.
Moos said he didn’t have a “true answer” as to Hoiberg’s mutual interest and joked that things weren’t as far along as they were when he secretly met Scott Frost in Philadelphia for cheesesteak sandwiches to discuss NU’s football job.
"I haven't had any deep dish pizza in Chicago, if that's what you want to know," Moos said.
Another coach many expected to be on that list was Oregon’s Dana Altman, who had been rumored in just about every Nebraska basketball coaching search since Danny Nee was let go. Moos, however, said he never talked to Altman about the position.
“I think Dana’s happy where he’s at and they like him,” Moos said. “He’s a heck of a coach. I think he’s comfortable there. I didn’t talk to him. It’s not that I wouldn’t, if that’s the direction I wanted to go, but he’s winning championships — he was in the Final Four a couple years ago — he’s got a sweet deal. Got a brand-new arena, gorgeous. I think he’s pretty content where he’s at.”
3. A new coach should be announced relatively soon
Moos didn’t give an exact timeline as to when a new coach would be hired, but he made it seem like it wouldn’t last much longer than a couple weeks.
Moos gave a general window of seven-to-14 days for the search. He said he’d be surprised if a coach was hired in less a week, as he would if one wasn’t named in two weeks.
Moos said Nebraska’s had the budget to be “competitive” nationally with its future coaching salaries, and that he felt every resource was already in place to draw top candidates to the job.
He added that he’d already started working his many connections in the coaching community to start the process of finding Miles’ eventual replacement. Moos said Nebraska was not close to making a hire at this point, but it’s obvious the wheels have been in motion.
"I'm no young pup standing here, and I'd be the first to admit that," Moos said. "I do have a network and I do have connections, and those have already been tapped in to."
4. Moos feels NU is not a long-term build
Given how confident Moos is that all the tools for success will be at the next coach’s disposal, it makes sense that he expects relatively fast results from the eventual hire.
While being a consistent contender in the Big Ten has been an expectation since Moos arrived in Lincoln, he said Tuesday that getting to that level could, and should, happen rather quickly.
“It can happen in my opinion faster in basketball because of the (roster) numbers,” Moos said. “I’ve seen programs go from the outhouse to the penthouse in a year or two."
Moos said making the NCAA Tournament at a regular rate - “I don’t think it’s pushing it too far to think three out of five years” - should be the expectation at a school like Nebraska, which has earned one berth in the Big Dance since 1998.
That’s why Moos said a coach with proven high-major experience and a successful recruiting track record would be two of the top qualities he’d been looking for during his search.
5. No further administrative changes have been made ... yet
With Miles gone, Moos said one of Nebraska’s assistants – Jim Molinari, Michael Lewis, or Armon Gates – would take over as the interim head coach until a new hire was made.
Each assistant was also given the opportunity to sign transition paperwork that would allow them to stay on staff during the search.
While no further turnover on the basketball side of the athletic department has taken place, Moos also didn’t rule out the possibility of more changes in the near future.
Moos was asked specifically about executive associate athletic director Marc Boehm, who has overseen the basketball program through the past three coaching regimes at NU.
“We’ve got to wait until the new coach is hired and see who he may bring if he’s an established coach,” Moos said. “We certainly have qualified people within our program that I would think across the board would be appealing to a new coach. But it typically depends on if they’re going to bring their entire staff or part of it or whether they want to retain a coach or an operations person or your video folks or what have you.”