There’s no debating that the 800-pound gorilla roaming around the third floor of Memorial Stadium during new Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts’ introductory press conference on Wednesday was the future of the football program.
But for several other Husker coaches in attendance for Alberts’ debut, there was just as much interest in how their new boss handled their respective sports.
Men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg, baseball coach Will Bolt, women’s basketball Amy Williams – who served on the hiring committee that chose Alberts – and wrestling coach Mark Manning were among those present to hear Alberts speak.
By the time the press conference ended, it seemed most of the coaches had walked away reassured and excited about the future.
“I’m really looking forward to getting the opportunity to sit down and meet with him and talk to him,” Hoiberg said. “I know he’ll be very supportive of our program, and we’re going to do everything we can to make everyone that’s a part of this thing proud… I’m looking forward to working hand in hand with Trev in getting us to that point.”
While Hoiberg’s teams have struggled on the court in his first two seasons, the optimism and excitement around Nebraska basketball have been as high as ever with the addition of a consensus top-20 recruiting class.
Maybe the program riding the biggest wave of momentum right now is Bolt’s baseball team. On the heels of a Big Ten championship and an impressive offseason of additions, fan interest in Nebraska baseball has returned to the heights of its early-2000s peak.
Bolt echoed Hoiberg in his strong first impression of Alberts. He also said University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green had met individually with each Husker head coach to hear their questions and concerns during the hiring process.
As a result, Bolt said Alberts checked almost every box he and his fellow coaches wanted in their next athletic director.
“He’s about all the right things, all the things winning leaders and winning cultures are about,” Bolt said. “No excuses, show up, work hard, be the hardest-working team and the hardest-working athletic department. I think he’s very direct and transparent in his communication, and we’re very excited about the future here.”
Both Hoiberg at Iowa State and Bolt at Nebraska know what it’s like to return to their alma mater to try and resurrect their former college programs. So does head football coach Scott Frost.
Alberts’ strong ties to the Huskers as a legendary player were undoubtedly part of the draw for NU, and it’s certainly not something Nebraska’s coaches are taking lightly.
“That was a consensus amongst the head coaches, was that we feel like we’ve got a lot of positive momentum in the department,” Bolt said. “Having some continuity and someone who understands the uniqueness of Nebraska and has been here as a student-athlete before, he embodies a lot of the things that the entire State of Nebraska is all about.
“I think it’s incredibly important that he has an intimate knowledge of this place. Not just that, but he’s done amazing things everywhere he’s been. Whether it’s as a player, in broadcasting, or as an athletic director, he’s done amazing things.”
As for football, Frost could not attend Wednesday’s press conference as he was out of town on vacation with his family. But the fourth-year head coach did issue a statement giving his full support of Alberts taking the reins at Nebraska.
“This is an exciting day for Nebraska Athletics and the University of Nebraska,” Frost said. “I commend Chancellor Green and President (Ted) Carter on an excellent choice for our Athletic Director. Trev Alberts has a great track record of success in whatever he has done, dating back to his playing days through his time leading the UNO athletic department.
“Trev and I share a love of Nebraska, this football program, and this athletic department. I look forward to working with Trev to continue to build our program.”