University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman announced Thursday the appointment of Shawn Eichorst as the school's new director of intercollegiate athletics, replacing Tom Osborne, who announced his retirement last week.
Eichorst, who has served as director of athletics at the University of Miami since April 2011, will join the University of Nebraska next Tuesday as a special assistant to the chancellor. He will succeed Osborne when Osborne becomes athletic director emeritus on January 1st.
"After consideration of a large number of candidates, I was impressed with Shawn's credentials and experience, but more importantly his respect for and appreciation of the tradition of the Nebraska athletics program," Perlman said. "He expressed from the onset his hope to draw on the experience and knowledge of Tom Osborne and the rest of the current staff in working to continue the department's success both on and off the field."
"It is truly an honor and privilege to be a part of one of the great universities in America and one of the strongest athletic departments in all of college sports who has the welfare of its student-athletes at the heart of everything they do," said Eichorst. "I am humbled by both the responsibility and opportunities that lie ahead and I hope to carry on the rich tradition of Husker excellence set by Coach Osborne and so many others."
Osborne has served as director of intercollegiate athletics since October 2007. He will retire from the university on August 1, 2013. “I will do whatever I can to assist Shawn Eichorst in the transition process to ensure that the hand-off to him leading the Athletic Department is as smooth as possible," said Osborne.
The 42-year-old Eichorst, a 1990 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, previously served as deputy athletics director at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under director of athletics Barry Alvarez. There Eichorst served as the department's chief operating officer, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the highly successful athletics program.
In his first year at Miami, Eichorst helped raise the university's academic reputation, building on the school's NCAA Top 10 Percent recognition in Academic Progress Rates for five programs, including football, baseball, men's diving, women's cross country and women's golf. He also was successful in enlarging the Hurricane Club of donors and fans, increasing memberships by 500 in one year.
The Miami men's and women's basketball programs both advanced to the postseason under his leadership. The women posting the highest national ranking in school history at No. 5 overall and advanced to the NCAA second round while the men set a program record for conference wins and advanced to the NIT second round.
The women's tennis team advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals. The baseball program extended its NCAA postseason appearances record streak to 40 straight seasons and the women's soccer team posted the first NCAA postseason win in program history. Volleyball advanced to the NCAA postseason for the third consecutive year.
At Wisconsin, Eichorst oversaw a department of 23 intercollegiate athletic programs, 850 student-athletes, 320 full-time employees and operated a multi-million-dollar budget. He was involved in the design and planning of a new ice hockey and swim facility as well as a student-athlete performance center. He joined the Badgers' staff in 2006 as senior associate athletic director and was promoted to executive associate athletic director in 2007.
From 2004-2006 he served as senior associate athletic director for administration at the University of South Carolina, where he also served as interim athletic director in June 2005.
A native of Lone Rock, Wisconsin, Eichorst was an all-conference defensive back, three-time letter winner and 1990 team captain for the UW-Whitewater football team. He graduated magna cum laude in business from UW-Whitewater in 1990 and earned a law degree from Marquette University in 1995. In 2006 he was awarded the Sports Law Alumnus of the Year by Marquette. He also is a graduate of the Sports Management Institute and serves on its executive committee.
Eichorst practiced law in Milwaukee until 1999, when he was hired by UW-Whitewater as director of athletics, a position he held until 2003. Under his tenure, UW-Whitewater developed into one of the nation's top Division III athletic programs with one NCAA team championship (volleyball), four NCAA team national runner-up finishes and seven individual NCAA champions. The program also featured an NCAA Student-Athlete of the Year for Wisconsin, 84 All-Americans, 38 Academic All-America selections and nine NCAA postgraduate scholarship winners.
He is a past member of the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee and State Bar of Wisconsin Board of Governors. He also previously served as an assistant adjunct professor of law at Marquette University Law School where he taught classes in sports law. He serves on the Marquette University National Sports Law Institute board of advisers.
Eichorst and his wife Kristin have three sons, Jack, Joseph and Bennett.
Eichorst's salary has been set at $973,000. His contract is for five years. It provides for a substantial financial penalty if he leaves UNL within the five-year period and a $750,000 payment by the university if he stays for five years.
For Miami, it's the latest blow to a department bracing for potentially severe NCAA sanctions. Former Maine athletic director Blake James will become the acting AD for the Hurricanes.