Williams’ Hiring Points to Changing of the Guard

By at May 24, 2012 | 10:51 AM | Print

Williams’ Hiring Points to Changing of the Guard

A concern of the Big Red masses may finally have been addressed. Tom Osborne’s replacement as Nebraska’s athletic director may have just walked through the door.

Last Monday, former Husker and NFL tight end Jamie Williams was introduced as the university’s new Associate Athletic Director of Diversity and Leadership Initiatives. He will assist in developing a leadership development program for both staff and student-athletes as well as have a hand in the strategic plan of the athletic department itself.

In other words, here is your leader in the clubhouse for the next Athletic Director of the University of Nebraska.

While on the surface Williams is a very solid hire, some questions do come about. First, the job title of “diversity and leadership initiatives” has all the makings of someone who will be dealing with the Ron Brown issue dominating headlines out of the gate.

Williams has done well at the Academy of Art Institute in San Francisco, where he was athletic director for six years, creating an athletic program from the ground up.

He developed a program featuring 16 sports with over 200 student athletes who like to draw, paint, or even sketch or doodle from scratch.

While Williams did well in San Francisco with a small school that has eased into Division II athletic play, there’s a big difference between what he has done and The Show. Obviously, there will be a grooming period which will likely serve as on-the-job training to become Osborne’s successor when Tom finally decides he’s ready to head back to Hastings and enjoy retirement.

What does this mean for those who thought they were getting the job?

Paul Meyers, any director’s right hand man when it comes to fundraising and donor relations, may not be as qualified to run the whole department as Osborne and Harvey Perlman desire. Meyers’ abilities shouldn’t be looked down upon. You only have to look at the job he has done with donations for the new East Stadium expansion and how he has helped make Pinnacle Bank Arena a reality to understand his effectiveness.

Trev Alberts also appears to be put on the back burner with this hire. Some will be upset while others rejoice with that decision.

While being another former player of Osborne’s, the fact that some people think he did UNO dirty with the decisions he made will always linger. It probably doesn’t help that Alberts is being sued to find out the actual reasoning behind his decisions.

Taking into account the question marks surrounding Meyers and Alberts, the seemingly out of the blue hire of Williams almost seems welcomed. Personally, I felt that Ed Stewart, the former Nebraska defensive end who went on to become Big 12 associate commissioner would have been a great choice.

Knowing what we now do of Williams, the hire looks better and better by the day, though. From his record as a player in both Lincoln and the NFL, he had the appropriate credentials to get the hire.

However, as mentioned earlier, there’s a difference running the show at a small art college in the middle of a Northern Californian metropolis and the day to day actions of a big school in a state whose culture needs to be factored into every decision you make. Can Williams handle it? It looks like we’re going to find that out, it’s just a matter of when at this point.

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