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Rutgers vs. Nebraska, 9/23/17

Former University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds, who stepped down from that role Aug. 14, will play a lead fundraising role for the new football facility project that was formally announced Friday.

One could detect urgency in Hank Bounds' voice late Friday afternoon as he discussed plans for Nebraska's new $155 million football training facility — as well as his key involvement in the project.

"This is such a tight timeline to get us in it before the 2022 season," said the former president of the University of Nebraska system, who will play a lead role as fundraiser for the project.

In addition to his fundraising duties, he's helping as a consultant in the oversight of design and construction.

He has a three-year contract with the university in his new role.

"It will be a dead sprint to get it all done," Bounds said by phone. "We still have a long way to go on fundraising. But it's going really well. I'm very, very optimistic. But the truth of the matter is, we need everybody who cares about Husker athletics to pitch in."

He noted that Nebraska Associate Athletic Director John Ingram is leading the internal effort in terms of design, while Matt Davison, NU associate athletic director for football, is among key players in the fundraising effort.

"There will be a small team of us working on it," said Bounds, who noted fundraising began in earnest two months ago.

Davison emphasized the importance of Bounds in the project.

"Hank was maybe the biggest reason why this thing got off the ground," Davison said. "His leadership was key months ago, meeting with the regents.

"Hank is a visionary and he built great relationships across Nebraska when he was here (as NU president). He’s been a big part of the philanthropy piece of this and just getting this thing off the ground before he left his post."

Bounds stepped down as NU president Aug. 14.

Davison gives "a ton of credit" to interim president Susan Fritz for retaining Bounds in a consultant role.

"We're pretty excited about having him in the role," Fritz said. "Hank has great relationships with our philanthropists, and he also has been keenly interested in the athletic department. He has some background in those areas."

Bounds was in Lincoln and Omaha most of the week but left before Friday afternoon's formal announcement of the project. He now works at South Alabama, teaching university finance and other higher education-related courses to graduate students.

After steering the University of Nebraska for nearly four years, which involved thousands of miles traveling the state and elsewhere to meet with students, alumni, faculty, policymakers and donors, Bounds stepped down in order to spend more time with his family, he said at the time.

But he acknowledged Friday he's working hard on the facilities project.

"Scott (Frost) asked me to help, that's one reason why I'm doing it," he said of the second-year Husker head football coach. "And I care about the program. I put in a lot of time and effort to getting it in the right place the last five years or so.

"You can't just walk away."

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.

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Husker columnist

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.

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