* Over the past 20 or so years there have been two men’s collegiate teams in the state that could reasonably start any season with national title aspirations: Creighton soccer and Nebraska football. There are other national powers, Nebraska bowling and UNO wrestling for example, but as far as spectator sports at the state’s two Division I schools, the Jays and Huskers different brands of football occupy the same realm when it comes to expectations. That makes their differing approaches to recent coaching hires all the more interesting. After the losing the “next great thing” in Jamie Clark, Creighton AD Bruce Rasmussen made a big splash by luring Elmar Bolowich away from North Carolina. Bolowich has a national title to his name along with appearances in the College Cup, soccer’s version of the Final Four, in each of the past three years. It’s tough to come up with a good analogy here but I’d liken it to Gonzaga basketball hiring Maryland’s Gary Williams. Or maybe Boise State football getting Bob Stoops. Better yet, call it Chief Brody shelling out for Quint. Creighton’s been in the hunt before. Now they have a grizzled vet who has been on big game safaris. Bo Pelini is going the other way. While nothing’s official yet, it looks like Nebraska is going to hand play-calling duties to a rookie offensive coordinator at this level and also bring in the following: a golf pro from Boston, a former head coach from Hastings College, an intern and a former pro who was last coaching at Utah State. That’s bold in a different way, but I like it all the same. * As long as Dean Blais is in town UNO hockey might be the next tent pole sport in Nebraska. The Mavs announced the biggest donation in the team’s history last week, an undisclosed sum from Ron and Connie Brasel. UNO AD Trev Alberts says the gift is not tied to the long-rumored on-campus arena, but that’s unlikely to stop Mavs fans from thinking that’s precisely the next step. * Fun fact: Dan Lawrence, the Nighthawks’ new 73-year-old offensive line coach, played college football with Paul Hornung at Notre Dame. Hornung won the Heisman Trophy before Cam Newton’s dad was even born.

Leave a comment