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Though historically short, Moos' tenure at Nebraska featured plenty of change
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Though historically short, Moos' tenure at Nebraska featured plenty of change

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When Bill Moos officially retires as Nebraska's athletic director next week, he will do so as one of the shortest-tenured men to hold the position since 1928.

Moos' hire was announced Oct. 15, 2017, and he fully assumed AD duties on Oct. 23 of that year, meaning Friday's announcement comes three years, eight months and two days after his first day on the job. Moos will leave his post on Wednesday.

That means that when he steps away, Moos will leave Lincoln with the third-shortest tenure of Nebraska's 15 athletic directors.

Only Charles Miller and Joseph Soshnik, who served as interim co-directors for one year in 1961, and H.D. Gish, who was at NU from 1928-1931, have shorter tenures than Moos, who leaves as the highest-paid AD in school history with a $1.15 million salary.

In that short time, though, Moos made sweeping changes to Nebraska's athletic department in the wake of Shawn Eichorst's firing.

"The table is set here for great success," Moos told the Journal Star on Friday. "And as I told my coaches, a good, solid (athletic) program will produce winning teams. And this program is strong now. And it's rebuilt ... Some of the building blocks were OK, others had to be modified, some had to be completely changed.

"But you look at it top to bottom, and side to side, Nebraska athletics is in great shape."

Known for his high-profile hires of Scott Frost (football), Fred Hoiberg (men's basketball) and Will Bolt (baseball), Moos hired 12 coaches in 10 sports at Nebraska, including two men's golf coaches and two women's rifle coaches. 

The last of those hires, men's golf coach Brett Balak, was announced Tuesday, just three days before Moos' retirement was announced.

But it wasn't just coaches where Moos shook things up. John Johnson and Garrett Klassy, the latter tabbed Friday as NU's interim AD, were both hired by Moos in July of 2019 to serve in senior deputy athletic director positions — essentially second in command behind Moos. Johnson was hired to oversee NU's administration staff as well as the Nebraska men's basketball program, the latter role previously occupied by Marc Boehm.

While Johnson handled mostly internal athletic department affairs, Klassy worked more with the external side, including marketing, communications, and HuskerVision. He is also overseeing Nebraska's shift to in-house multimedia and broadcast department.

"Garrett Klassy and John Johnson have been difference-makers. I truly wish I could have brought them with me from the beginning," Moos said. "We couldn't have realized the success we're seeing and going to continue to see without them."

Moos, of course, was also at the helm as Nebraska navigated its way through the COVID-19 pandemic, and was tasked with giving the final word on NU's efforts to cut costs, furlough some employees, and lay off others as Nebraska joined every other athletic department across the country in taking a big financial hit with the loss of revenue as games and seasons were moved or canceled altogether.

"I'm working harder than I've ever worked," Moos said in August 2020. "And I've worked hard, but this is tough."

As fall 2020 dragged on with the Big Ten Conference dragging its feet on whether to have a football season, Moos was among the loudest voices calling for football to be played. He went to bat for Nebraska's effort to play nonconference games when it appeared there wouldn't be a Big Ten season. And he spoke out again when a schedule was finally created that sent Nebraska to Ohio State to open the truncated season.

And as the college sports world moves ever closer to allowing college athletes to make money from their name, image, and likeness Moos has been the public face of an athletic department that has worked to position itself at the front of the line for those changes.

"We will be the best in the country," Moos said with emphasis. "We are ready to go."

With Moos' immediate future now decided, the soon-to-be former boss also took one final moment to let his larger-than-life persona shine through.

"I had 310 public appearances in my first 20 months on this job, and they weren't all in Lincoln and Omaha. They were in Valentine, Alliance, Scottsbluff, North Platte, Hastings, Nebraska City, on and on and on," Moos said. "I love those people. They're my kind of people.

"I'll always, always, remember our time here at Nebraska, and (that) I got a chance to contribute to one of the finest athletic programs in the history of this country and this profession."

Contact the writer at cbasnett@journalstar.com or 402-473-7436. On Twitter @HuskerExtraCB.

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Husker men's basketball/baseball reporter

A Ravenna native, Chris covers the University of Nebraska men's basketball team and assists with football coverage. He spent nearly 10 years covering sports at the Kearney Hub and nearly four years at the Springfield News-Leader in Springfield, Mo.

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