WASHINGTON — Minutes after Nebraska was eliminated on Day 1 of the Big Ten Tournament, Huskers athletics director Shawn Eichorst sent a tweet.
Eichorst finally gave a vote of confidence to head basketball coach Tim Miles, who has faced questions about his job status during the final stages of this season.
"I'm back!" Miles said.
The head coach was asked about Eichorst's social-media support minutes after his team's season came to an end with an overtime loss to Penn State, which outscored Nebraska 16-7 in the extra period. The Huskers shot an ugly 34.2 percent from the field in the loss and got a less-than-stellar performance from all-conference guard Tai Webster, who scored 12 points — just two after halftime — and fouled out early in overtime.
The "I'm back!" answer was classic Miles, publicly the funniest of the Big Ten basketball coaches. But what he's been dealing with in recent weeks has been anything but humorous.
Including Wednesday's loss in Washington, Nebraska finished the season on a five-game losing streak, all but this most-recent defeat coming by big margins. The Huskers lost their final four regular-season games by 16, 16, 15 and 36, that blowout loss to Wisconsin in the regular-season finale the worst home loss Nebraska has ever had.
Remember when Nebraska had a 3-0 start to conference play? After that, the Huskers cratered and won just three more times the rest of the season.
It's all part of a continuing losing trend for Nebrasketball, which in five seasons under Miles has finished better than 10th in the Big Ten standings just once. The last three seasons have seen a pair of 12th-place finishes.
But while all that would seem to point to a need for a change in Lincoln, that couldn't be further from the truth. Eichorst's vote of confidence was a welcome sign for those who have noticed the recruiting successes Miles has had — and for all the Husker fans with whom he's quite popular.
"He and I talked over the last few weeks," Miles explained. "There was no doubt that he was with me and supporting me. I knew he would probably do something after the season in his own way. He's a man that believes in us, supports us. Even when we were struggling, he wouldn't waver. Although the media has a field day with it, I guess they're just bored. He's been there. I'm going to come through for him. We're going to show him his faith in us is justified."
Lincoln is no easy place to draw recruits to, and Miles' personality coupled with a new arena has managed to do just that. Not only have recruits bought what Miles is selling, so too have fans, making Pinnacle Bank Arena one of the better environments in the conference.
So while Eichorst's public backing might have been a bit overdue, it's hardly misplaced.
Now it's time for Miles to do what he said and reward Eichorst's support.