LINCOLN, Neb. – Excitement for the upcoming football season, a historic run by the volleyball program, and the possibility of alcohol sales at Memorial Stadium – these are just a few of many topics Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos discussed with 1011 NOW in a recent sit-down interview.
Moos, who is about to begin his second full year as AD for the Huskers, sat down with 1011’s Bill Schammert to talk all things football, volleyball, and the future of Nebraska athletics.
Moos came to Nebraska in October 2017 during a trying time for multiple athletic programs.
Now, after a few prominent firings and three hires in three major sports, Moos says Nebraska is “well on our way” to becoming the Huskers of old.
Bill Schammert: Husker Football season kicks off - it'll be your second full season. I want to know how you thought about the Nebraska brand before you got here and how that has or has not lived up to expectations."
Bill Moos: The Nebraska brand has been powerful for decades. It got a little dusty there, but I thought my mission was to dust it off, polish it up and get Nebraska back to where it belongs. I think we're well on our way. You have to put Nebraska among all the powerhouses and the programs that have won national championships throughout the years. There are very few who could match our brand and I feel fortunate to be a part of it.
Bill Schammert: You're a football guy. How would you calculate the excitement heading into this year?
Bill Moos: The excitement is tremendous. Those that I talk to who have been around a long time say it's at a level they remember from the glory years. That's important. It wasn't at that level when I arrived and people know that. There was apathy in the fan base and concerns. We have to continue to build this one step at a time and I think we'll make a big stride this year. But, I think our real prize is three, four, five years down the road.
Bill Schammert: You mentioned apathy, and I think one of the University's biggest selling points is that 368 game sellout streak that it's at right now. But as far as actual tickets into the stadium, it hovered around 60,000 those final three games. Do you think Nebraska is following a national trend of college football attendance dipping?
Bill Moos: I think we're the exception. This fan base is amazing and once you cross the border it's all red. I found that out real fast. All of us in the industry are concerned about low attendance. I have a big concern about the younger generation that has so many options. They can watch an entire game on their cell phone, but at the end of the day, the scoreboard sells it. If we're winning and that's certainly in our plan, people are going to want to come watch us. It'll be a great ride.
Bill Schammert: Alcohol sales. I think there are six Big Ten programs, Illinois the most recent one, to allow alcohol at some of their venues. Do you see that in the future of Nebraska Athletics or is it at least something you're looking at?
Bill Moos: I would say we're looking at it, but I don't think there's any urgency. Our venues on competition days are by and large full. I think the experience is very good. Sometimes in the fan's minds, it's like 'Let's just stay home tonight and have a beer, or whatever, and watch it from our living room rather than fight the weather and traffic,' and we have to constantly be looking at things. We have to be evaluating what we're doing and how we can get better. Alcohol doesn't necessarily have to be the answer, but we need to take it into consideration. Especially in this day and age when we're competing with a lot of different entertainment entities to get people in the seats in our venues and enjoying what we have to offer. We always look at how we can improve.
Bill Schammert: Let's get to volleyball. You've called John Cook and that program the class of Nebraska Athletics. What do you see happening over there?
Bill Moos: I see a program that reminds people of Nebraska Football for 40 years. You look at the banners, the conference championships, the national championships, the All Americans. It's where I'd like to see all of our programs get to. We have a coach in John Cook who could not only coach anywhere in the country, but could coach any sport in the country. He is an amazing teacher, mentor, recruiter. People go, 'Well can we really get great talent in Nebraska?' Well just look at our volleyball program. We have a top three or four recruiting class every year.
Bill Schammert: You hear this all the time, that Nebraska has the best facilities in the country. But you've said before that's not necessarily the case when you've traveled to other Big Ten opponents. What do you think needs upgraded?
Bill Moos: In general, we have tremendous facilities. Pinnacle Bank Arena is as fine a basketball arena as you'll find in the country. Memorial Stadium is an icon. We need to continue to stay ahead of the game with regards to our football facilities. What we had in 2006 was the best in the country, but we can't rest of that. We're looking and exploring options of how we can improve those.
Bill Schammert: Any specific changes to Memorial Stadium coming up that you can discuss?
Bill Moos: We need to look in the short term in our fan base that's aging a bit and taking care of them. Possibly moving them, especially in North Stadium and South Stadium, that's a long haul to get up there. The amenities are not there like they should be. We don't want to lose that sellout streak and we have to make sure that we're not only looking at next year and the year after, but five or 10 or 20 years down the road and making sure our infrastructure meets our fans' expectations.
Bill Schammert: Finish this sentence for me, the future of Huskers Athletics is...
Bill Moos: It's in good hands in regards to the people of Nebraska and our future is good because we're a reflection of our population. Our student athletes are a reflection of our coaches and those who are teaching them on a daily basis. I think we have great great times ahead and we should certainly all be proud of the young people we're producing and how we're doing it.