Steve Pederson Firing
Commentary by David Max
October 15, 2007 will be remembered as a milestone day in Husker sports history. Hard core Husker fans will be able to answere the question "Where were you when Steve Pederson was fired?" 20 years from now just like those of us that are old enough can answer the question "Where were you when the Game of the Century was played?" It is sad that this date will become a milestone in Husker football history. When Steve Pederson was hired he was ordained as the keeper of the flame of the Husker Program. His whole life was structured for this opportunity to return home to his first love and be in a position to take the program and write the next illustrious chapter. It is unfortunate that it did not work out the way that he and Husker fans had envisioned it would the day he was hired to replace Bill Byrne.
No one should doubt his intent. He is a Nebraska native that went through the ranks within the athletic department, left to get the required experience elsewhere to return as the chosen one to continue the tradition established by Devaney and Osborne. What went wrong will be chronicled by plenty of sports writers, Internet bloggers and posters for a long time to come. He obviously didn't plan for things to turn out the way they did today with his termination by the person that hired him and recently gave him a vote of confidence with a contract extension.
According to the news conference, the decision to fire Steve Pederson was made last Thursday before the Oklahoma State no matter what the outcome. Interestingly, according to Dave Weber at Channel 6 the decision to fire Coach Solich was also made prior to his last game against Colorado in Boulder no matter what the outcome. The rumors were running rampant over the weekend after the embarrasing homecoming loss and came to a crescendo on Sunday night when a thread on the BBS about a possible Pederson firing received 15,000 page views in one hour and is now around 50,000. To put that in perspective, when Coach Solich was fired that thread topped out at 5,000 page views.
The question now becomes where do we go from here? The first step is who will be the interim athletic director and who will be named the next athletic director? Three names have been tossed around, Dave Rimington, Paul Meyers and former Hall of Fame coach Tom Osborne. All three would be good choices. Harvey Perlman was asked several questions at the press conference today regarding Tom Osborne as a potential interim athletic director. Dave Weber, Johnny Rodgers and others believe Tom is the obvious choice if he is willing to accept the challenge. I agree with them and hope Coach Osborne will be asked and will accept the interim AD position. The biggest complaint from the anti-Pederson camp was the abandonment of the "Program". The perception was that the current administration and coaches did not care about or respect the history of the program. The former players did not feel included. This was accentuated when the last connection to the past, Paul Meyers, resigned recently without another job lined up. He was the latest in a series of former Huskers employed by the athletic deparment leaving what outsiders perceived to be career jobs. Naming Tom Osborne interim athletic director would change the work environment at the athletic department from the current negative into a huge positive and restore the "Program". For us Husker fans it's a no brainer. I just hope he will consider saying yes if asked.
Another interesting comment that Chancellor Perlman made at the press conference was that he only received two replies to a department wide athletic department email asking for feedback about Steve Pederson's performance before he gave him his recent contract extension. One positive and one negative essentially negating feedback in his decision to extend the contract. The search for the next interim and permanent athletic director is going to receive a lot of public scrutiny and will not be confined to feedback from athletic department personnel. Let's not make the same mistake in assuming everyone else is giving their feedback. I have established a draft Tom Osborne for Interim Athletic Director petition and the Husker Nation can sign the petition at this link to give Chancellor Perlman their feedback:
I have signed it. What about you? The next chapter in Husker history is about to be written. Who better to get the Program back on track than the symbol of the program since the 1970s.
Integrity, Teamwork, Tradition, Tom Osborne.
Just my 2 cents. What about yours?
GO BIG RED!!!