Redskins

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.' ``

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AP Sports Writer Eric Olson contributed from Lincoln, Neb.

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Injuries to Marshall and Perine will open the door for Kapri Bibbs to make the Redskins

Injuries to Marshall and Perine will open the door for Kapri Bibbs to make the Redskins

Following the Redskins' Week 2 preseason win over the Jets on Thursday, Jay Gruden said both Byron Marshall and Samaje Perine were "OK" after the two running backs each left the game with injuries. Marshall's was labeled a lower-leg issue, while Perine's injury was called a twisted ankle.

Timetables for their recoveries were then reported on Friday, and while the two members of the backfield escaped anything too severe, they will each be sidelined for decent chunks of time.

Perine will miss a week, according to Mike Garafolo. Marshall, meanwhile, is looking at a longer two-to-four week recovery, per Tom Pelissero. Those pieces of news hurt them in more ways than one.

Derrius Guice's torn ACL in Week 1 of the team's exhibition schedule meant that Marshall and Perine both had a big-time opportunity to step up and earn a spot on Washington's 53-man roster, spots that were harder to envision for them when Guice was healthy.

Overall, the two were slated to compete with Kapri Bibbs for what will likely be two spaces on the depth chart behind the absolutely safe Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley. Now, though, they'll be forced to sit until they're healed up, giving Bibbs more chances in practice and the two remaining August contests to earn Jay Gruden's trust.

Against New York, Bibbs struggled on the ground but led the offense with seven grabs, including a 29-yard gain off a screen play. That performance absolutely brought him closer in the race with Marshall, who scored vs. the Patriots a week earlier. Next, he'll need to prove he can run effectively between the tackles vs. the Broncos in Week 3, which will put some heat on Perine as well.

The 'Skins have 15 days left until they have to finalize their regular season roster. As things stand now amongst the running backs, Bibbs presently has a real shot at stealing a job from the two shelved RBs. But with the way this race has unfolded thus far, that can all change in a split second. 

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Familiarity for coach and GM should allow Capital City Go-Go to hit ground running

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Familiarity for coach and GM should allow Capital City Go-Go to hit ground running

Despite being a brand new franchise with a new roster and new facilities, the Capital City Go-Go will carry into their inaugural season a level of continuity. Both their general manager and head coach are familiar with what they are getting into and the people they will be working with.

GM Pops Mensah-Bonsu is no stranger to the D.C. community and the Wizards franchise. He made a name for himself starring at George Washington University, spent time with the Wizards as a player in their 2013 training camp and remained a frequent visitor to Wizards games as a scout for the Spurs in recent years.

"To be back in the community and the first general manager of the G-League team is special," Mensah-Bonsu said. "This is D.C.’s team. I want them to embrace us."

Head coach Jarell Christian played college ball in Virginia and goes back several years with Wizards coach Scott Brooks. Christian joined the Oklahoma City's G-League staff when Brooks was in his final year as head coach of the Thunder.

Christian began his coaching journey with an eye trained on how Brooks goes about his job.

"My introduction to pro basketball was under Coach Brooks and his philosophies. A lot of that stuff, I believe in wholeheartedly. That’s my foundation," Christian said. "I got a chance to know him through training camp and throughout that season. He and I developed a bond and a relationship that stood the test of time. To this day, we still talk often. It’s just another chance for me to reconnect with him and to continue to grow our relationship."

The Go-Go intend to make what they do as similar to the Wizards as possible. When guys like Devin Robinson, one of their two-way players, is called up he can step right in without a learning curve of the playbook or how they practice.

Having Christian in place will help that process in particular.

"There won’t be any issue or any slippage with guys going up and down to know what’s in store for them," Christian said. "A lot of the stuff that the Wizards will do, we will implement with the Go-Go. Just some offensive and defensive concepts. Some of the playcalls and the terminology will be the same."

"Whatever you see the Wizards doing, you will probably see the Capital City Go-Go doing, too," Mensah-Bonsu said.

The symmetry between the G-League and the NBA teams will also be helped by the fact they will share the same practice facility. Their proximity will come with many advantages from the Go-Go perspective.

"I think it’s going to help motivate these guys. We’re going to be practicing in the same place that the Wizards do and the Mystics do," Mensah-Bonsu said. "I think if these guys can see Dwight Howard and John Wall and Bradley Beal walking around every day, it will help motivate them to get to that next level."

"The exposure our players get with the Wizards [front office], the Wizards personnel, being able to watch them practice daily, watching their practice habits and what their routines may be, is really big," Christian said.

That element will also apply beyond the players. Christian, who is just 32 years old, will get to watch how an NBA coaching staff operates on a daily basis.

Christian has yet to take a tour of the new building in Ward 8, but he has seen blueprints. Among the amenities the Go-Go will enjoy that other G-League teams do not usually have is a dedicated dining area.

Many G-League teams do not go to that length.

"A lot of organizations do not provide food for their players on a daily basis, but we will. That’s the No. 1 thing in my opinion that’s gonna set us apart from our competitors," he said.

The Go-Go won't take the floor for their first game until November, but it seems like a good foundation is starting to take place.

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