Bill Moos approached the podium with a smile.
“I’m Bill Moos and I love the press,” he said to laughs at the Omaha Press Club. “My football coach is still undefeated, so life is good.”
Nebraska’s athletic director spoke for about 20 minutes, then took 20 minutes of questions at a luncheon Tuesday. That was pretty much the message: Things in the Nebraska athletic department are all smiles. Particularly for his big money maker, football.
“It’s got everything lined up to be a golden era again,” Moos said. “The facilities, infrastructure, the support, the most amazing and passionate fan bases in college athletics. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Moos retold the story of how he was hired at Nebraska. About how as the athletic director at Washington State he felt like he had one more stop in him. How he got the phone call he’d been selected to be the next athletic director at a breakfast with donors and Washington State fans.
“I dropped my fork right in my eggs,” he said.
How his first call was to Tom Osborne and how he instructed Nebraska color analyst Matt Davison to get in touch with Scott Frost soon after Moos was hired.
It’s been a crazy six months for Moos, with the firing of Mike Riley, hiring of Frost and more recently the assessment of the men’s basketball program. Moos ended up extending head coach Tim Miles’ contract one season.
“I was pleased with both (men’s and women’s basketball programs) this year,” Moos said. “Tim and his staff won 22 games, 13 in the Big Ten. I thought we got shafted somewhat in the NCAA tournament. That ought to be good enough to get in. And we really got shafted in the NIT, should’ve had a higher seed. I retained Tim, gave him another year and he was thankful for that.”
Added Moos: “He’s excited about next year.”
Since the beginning of January, Moos has been restructuring the entire athletic department. One major change he’s made is making communication to him more fluid. Miles, Frost, volleyball coach John Cook and women’s basketball coach Amy Williams all now report directly to Moos. Under previous Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst, those coaches were reporting to other senior-level administrators.
“I think that makes a good statement and I want to be intricately involved with those coaches,” he said. “In a perfect world, I’d have them all answer to me, but I can’t with all the demands each of them have.”
The football team, crown jewel of the Nebraska athletic department, was the main topic Tuesday with most of the questions about the Huskers. Moos reiterated what Frost preached all spring: It won’t be a quick fix.
“We’re gonna run that uptempo offense we saw (at the spring game), and we’re gonna get the Blackshrits back to being Blackshirts. And that’s extremely important,” Moos said. “You’ve got Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh thinking, ‘We better put a little more into that Nebraska game coming up.’ And that’s the way we want it. They’re running a little bit scared right now. And they won’t admit it. We’ll leave that at that.”
Moos is still settling into Lincoln after living on a cattle ranch the past few years. He and his wife, Kendra, just finished their condo in the Haymarket.
A few years ago, Moos’ son Ben visited Nebraska for a football camp. Kendra tagged along for the day. And when Moos talked to his wife that night, his wife yelled into the phone.
“I love Lincoln! I could live in Lincoln.”
“Well,” Moos said Tuesday. “Always willing to accommodate, that sweet girl now lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.”
Bill Moos says Nebraska baseball coach Darin Erstad is ‘staying right where he is’
Nebraska baseball coach Darin Erstad’s job is safe, Athletic Director Bill Moos said Tuesday during a luncheon at the Omaha Press Club.
“He’s solid, and he’s staying right where he is,” Moos said when asked about the state of the baseball program.
Erstad has been at Nebraska since 2012. Nebraska has gone 228-162-1 during that time with one Big Ten title in 2017.
But this season the Huskers are 17-21 and on the brink of missing the Big Ten Tournament. Nebraska has lost four of their last five games and seven of the last 10.
“Yeah we’ve had some tough luck with our pitchers,” Moos said. “It’s kind of like losing your starting quarterback or your starting point guard in basketball. So we’ve been at a disadvantage and Darin has been trying to do it and piece it together with mirrors and magnets.”
But, Moos said, he believes in Erstad.
“I’ve had a lot of coaches, and some very good ones, but that gentleman wears it on his sleeve and he’s a competitor,” Moos said of Erstad. “You don’t accomplish the things he did as a player at Nebraska, then in Major League Baseball, without having a tremendous desire to be successful and to be a champion.
“And you gotta remember, we did win the Big Ten championship last year. We didn’t advance like we probably could have or should have, but he’s solid and he’s staying right where he is.”
NU Athletic Director Bill Moos says ‘the sooner the better’ for NCAA to address paying athletes
As most athletic directors do these days, Bill Moos is often asked about payment of collegiate athletes. He was again on Tuesday at the Omaha Press Club.
“I put a pencil to it once,” he said. “When you add in travel, cost of attendance and the nutrition and the health care, what we have to offer is about a $225,000 a year job. That ain’t bad.”
Moos believes baseball has it sorted out best. If you want to go to college, go to college. If you want to go straight to the pros from high school, go for it.
“I believe you’re gonna be a college athlete, you go to college. If you wanna go to the pros, go to pros,” Moos said.
The one-and-done issue with the NBA complicates things, he said, and he believes the argument to pay players will only get worse.
“Hopefully we can get that addressed, and the sooner the better.”