Regents, not intimately involved in search, give resounding support of Bill Moos hire

Members of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents expressed support and even delight Monday over the hiring of Bill Moos as Nebraska’s athletic director.

All eight regents said they felt good about the hiring of Moos, Washington State’s athletic director, and said they believed he would be a fine fit for Nebraska.

Regents said they weren’t intimately involved in the selection process. They said they either believed Moos was the first choice of NU administrators or didn’t know for sure.

Regardless, the eight were pleased. They said they would leave it to Moos and the administration to decide what to do with Husker football coach Mike Riley, whose team is 3-4 this season and lost at home Saturday by 42 points to Ohio State.

“We shouldn’t be involved in that,” said Regents Vice Chairman Rob Schafer of Beatrice.

“I trust Bill Moos to do the right thing,” Regent Tim Clare of Lincoln said.

Clare and Regent Jim Pillen of Columbus said NU President Hank Bounds and UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green sought descriptions from key supporters, decision-makers, players and others about important qualities for a Husker athletic director. It was a good, collaborative process, they said.

But regents didn’t provide lists of names, Clare said.

“We don’t know all the A.D.s,” he said. “That’s what you get a search firm for.”

NU used New Jersey-based Turnkey as its search firm.

Regent Paul Kenney of Amherst said he’s excited by Moss’ background at Washington State, Oregon and Montana, and by his experience as a cattle rancher.

Kenney, too, is a cattle rancher.

“Hopefully we start winning some games,” Kenney said.

Regents Chairman Bob Whitehouse of Papillion said he received a call from Dick Beechner, a friend in Kearney who has Washington State ties. Beechner was the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s athletic director from 1987 to 1995.

Beechner, who is in his early 80s, told Whitehouse that it was a “great hire,” the regent said.

Regents Howard Hawks and Hal Daub, both of Omaha, said they were delighted by Moos’ experience and record of success.

“So he’s made tough decisions,” Daub said. “He’s been in the fight.”

Regent Bob Phares of North Platte said it was his impression that Moos was administrators’ first choice.

Phares said he didn’t ask that question specifically. But everyone says Moos is an excellent fit for Nebraska, Phares said.

And even though Moos isn’t a Nebraskan, “he feels like one,” Daub said.

As Schafer said: “He’s a cattle rancher and farmer. What’s there not to like?”

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