Eichorst leaves Miami, to be the AD at Nebraska

Eichorst leaves Miami, to be the AD at Nebraska

Shawn Eichorst left his job as athletic director at scandal-ridden Miami on Thursday and accepted a five-year contract to succeed Tom Osborne at Nebraska.

Eichorst's departure comes at a particularly curious time - with the Hurricanes set to play Notre Dame in the rekindling of a college football rivalry on Saturday, and as the school braces to receive potentially crippling NCAA sanctions in the coming months for compliance violations.

Former Maine athletic director Blake James will become the acting AD at Miami, filling the role that Eichorst held for just under 18 months.

``I am deeply disappointed in Shawn's departure to the University of Nebraska as I thoroughly enjoyed working with him,'' Miami president Donna Shalala said in a statement. ``We wish Shawn and his wonderful family the very best at their new post.''

Eichorst's starting salary at Nebraska will be $973,000 annually, believed to be a significant raise over his Miami deal. As a private school, the Hurricanes typically do not release contract information.

At Nebraska, the 75-year-old Osborne - one of college football's legendary coaches - announced late last month that he will retire Jan. 1 after five years on the job. He'll become athletic director emeritus and stay involved in department operations through July 30 at Nebraska, where he won 255 games, 13 conference titles and three national championships as football coach.

Eichorst will start at Nebraska on Oct. 9, first as a special assistant to Chancellor Harvey Perlman, then assume Osborne's role on Jan. 1.

``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,'' Eichorst said in a statement released by Nebraska.

Eichorst has not spoken with Miami reporters in months, citing the ongoing NCAA investigation as the reason why requests were declined.

Perlman interviewed Eichorst and one other unidentified candidate. He said Eichorst, who previously worked at Wisconsin and grew up in that state, is a natural fit for Nebraska.

``I have no reason to believe Shawn was unhappy at Miami,'' Perlman said. ``He saw this as an attractive opportunity to get back to the Midwest and to get back to the Big Ten.''

Perlman said the problems at Miami were a prominent aspect of his discussions with Eichorst.

``It's probably not a situation that anybody would like to be in,'' Perlman said. ``Everyone's view is that he was surprised by it (NCAA violations) when he got there and that he responded in the way that I think we would want had a similar circumstance arose here, which we hope it doesn't. It's part of the reason why looking at a person who's been in that role is helpful because you can see how they respond in difficult circumstances.''

Eichorst was hired by the Hurricanes after serving as Wisconsin's chief operating officer for athletics, overseeing a $90 million budget and being closely involved with a $100 million construction project for ice hockey, swimming and football. Eichorst was highly recommended for the Miami job by his one-time boss at Wisconsin, athletic director Barry Alvarez - a close friend of Shalala and a Nebraska alum.

Eichorst arrived with Miami's athletic department in flux: Funds were being raised for facility upgrades, and the school was in the process of hiring a basketball coach to replace Frank Haith, eventually deciding on bringing in Jim Larranaga. Quietly, though, the Hurricanes were also under NCAA investigation over their compliance practices, which wound up overshadowing everything Eichorst did at Miami.

The story over Miami's NCAA mess broke publicly in August 2011, when claims made by former booster and convicted Ponzi scheme architect Nevin Shapiro - now serving a 20-year prison term for his role in bilking investors out of $930 million - were published by Yahoo Sports. Shapiro said he provided dozens of Miami athletes and recruits with impermissible benefits over an eight-year period starting in 2002.

The NCAA is expected to provide Miami with its notice of allegations later this year. Once that happens, sanctions typically follow in about 90 days.

Miami's athletic director for the period of some of those alleged violations was Kirby Hocutt, who left for Texas Tech last year. And now, the person who replaced him - and vowed to help clean up the NCAA mess - is also gone.

Eichorst was believed to be working closely with the NCAA during the joint inquiry into the athletic department, so his departure comes at a difficult time for both the department and the university, which is already dealing with a number of issues unrelated to the investigation, such as dwindling football attendance and major financial problems involving its highly touted medical school.

Eichorst addressed the scandal in a roundtable interview with Miami reporters on Nov. 1, 2011.

``I'm not making any excuses. I'm not asking anybody to feel sorry for me or anybody else,'' Eichorst said. ``I've got a job to do and I'm only looking forward. I'm not looking backward.''

Eichorst will receive a $750,000 retention bonus if he stays at Nebraska for five years. He'll pay a $2 million penalty if he leaves within a year. That penalty decreases $500,000 for each year he stays through the fifth year overseeing a 23-sport department with an $85 million annual budget.

``I asked him, `If you were here five years from now, how would I be able to measure his success?' `` Perlman said. ``His response was, `If the coaches and the student-athletes have been successful and nobody knows my name, it will be a success. The athletic department is all about the success of coaches and student-athletes.' ``


AP Sports Writer Eric Olson contributed from Lincoln, Neb.

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

5 must-see moments from Wizards' important win over Pacers, including Kelly Oubre's big dunk

Here are five plays or moments from the Wizards' 109-102 win over the Pacers on Saturday night that are worth revisiting... 

1. The Wizards took care of business against the Pacers on Saturday night and in doing so earned an important advantage in the playoff race. They won the season series and therefore own a tiebreaker for playoff seeding and currently that would mean home court advantage in the first round if the playoffs began today.

The Wizards took control early and part of that effort were five first-half assists by Bradley Beal. He ended up with 19 points, but some of his best plays were passes.

On this one, he executed a perfect pick-and-roll with Marcin Gortat:


2. This was another pretty pass to Gortat. Tomas Satoransky, who had 12 points and eight assists, fed Gortat with a nice reach-around pass on a play that featured some impressive ball movement overall:

3. This was a great moment. The Wizards had a member of the military surprise his niece on the court. She literally did not see it coming:


4. These last two plays are dunks by Kelly Oubre, Jr., who finished with 16 points. On this play, he cut through the and threw down with authority:

5. This dunk was set up by a beautiful pass from Ramon Sessions. It traveled about three-quarters of the court and Oubre did the rest:

The Wizards now have three days off before their next game as they sit fourth in the Eastern Conference. Things are trending positive for the Wizards as the playoff race heats up.

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Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

The Washington Wizards beat the Indiana Pacers 109-102 on Saturday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Important victory: Saturday night's game between the Wizards and Pacers had several layers of playoff implications on the line and it was Washington who rose to the occasion and showed the urgency commensurate for the stakes.

By beating the Pacers, the Wizards locked up the season series between the teams, two games to one. That gives them the tiebreaker for playoff seeding if the teams finish the regular season with the same record. That could very well prove paramount. As of now, the Wizards and Pacers have the same record (40-30) with 12 games to go.

The season series advantage means the Wizards are above the Pacers in the standings despite having the same record. They moved into fourth place in the East with the win and the Cavs slotted back into third. There will likely be a lot more movement as these next few weeks play out, but the Wizards now hold an important edge over the Pacers.

The win also pushed the Wizards to 14-8 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. Wall could return this coming week or the week after and the Wizards have more than stayed afloat during his absence.

The Wizards' magic number to make the playoffs is now just five. 


Sato went off: The Wizards jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter mostly thanks to a hot start from Tomas Satoransky, who scored the Wizards' first five points and had 10 by the end of the first quarter.

Satoransky's floater was automatic. He dropped in several in the lane from all different angles. Satoransky was practicing the same shots, floaters off each foot, the day before in practice and it paid off.

It was a well-rounded night for Satoransky. In addition to his 12 points, he also had eight assists and five rebounds, including this one to find Marcin Gortat for the dunk:

Gortat came up big: Speaking of Gortat, the Wizards' big man had one of his best games of the season. He poured in 18 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists a steal and a block. Gortat shot 6-for-8, consistently having his way on the block.

The Pacers were without two of their best big men in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis and Gortat took advantage of that. He was way too much for Al Jefferson.

The Pacers tried to roll with small-ball lineups using Trevor Booker and Thaddeus Young as their big men, but it didn't work. Gortat was too big for them and his teammates did a great job finding him for open looks.

Gortat's 18 points were his most since Jan. 3 when he had a season-high 21 against the Knicks. Lately, Gortat has seen his minutes dwindle with the increased role for Ian Mahinmi, so Saturday night must have felt good for the Polish Machine.


Bojan held in check: Bojan Bogdanovic, who spent part of last season with the Wizards, was a major factor in the first two matchups between Washington and the Pacers this season. He had 20 points in one game and 29 in another, each time getting hot from three.

The Wizards, though, made some adjustments in this one and held Bo Buckets in check. He didn't make his first shot until nearly the midway point of the second quarter and it was only because Kelly Oubre, Jr. (16 points, 18 minutes) lost his balance. Oubre stumbled backward, giving Bogdanovic a split second to get off an open three. That was the only shot he hit in the first half as he began the game 1-for-4.

Oubre did a good job harrassing Bogdanovic and not giving him space on the premiter. Otto Porter (eight points) and Bradley Beal (19 points) did as well. Both Porter and Beal stripped the ball out of Bogdanovic's hands early in the third quarter. Midway through the third, Bogdanovic got past Porter only to be called for an offensive foul on a collision with Gortat. All in all, it was a frustrating night for Bogdanovic, who had 11 points, three below his season average.

Bogdanovic is a very good shooter and when he's hot can alter games. But when you take his shots away, there's not much else he can do to hurt you. The Wizards did a good job taking away his strengths and making others beat them. Not having to focus on Turner and Sabonis certainly helped. 

Sessions is still in the rotation: It turns out those five games for Ramon Sessions over the course of his second 10-day contract weren't just an audition. Now that he has been signed for the rest of the season, Sessions is still getting the nod over Tim Frazier as the backup point guard.

Sessions logged 18 minutes and even played alongside Satoransky and Jodie Meeks in the fourth quarter. The Wizards had a sizable lead and head coach Scott Brooks decided to experiment with his lineups. That is something to keep in mind for when Wall comes back. Once he does, Sessions will be the third point guard and likely rarely see the court. But if they see something they like about him at shooting guard, that could open the door for more playing time possibilities.

Up next: The Wizards have three off-days before their next game. That will be on Wednesday when they head to San Antonio to face the Spurs. Tipoff is at 9:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. Pregame coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. with Wizards HangTime.

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