During one of the biggest moments of his professional life, Trev Alberts took a moment to think of his past.
When Alberts thanked his family for all of their all support over the years, he thought not only of those in attendance but also of those who couldn’t be there with him.
With a brief tear in his eye, Alberts acknowledged his mother, Linda Alberts, who passed away in 2014.
“No one was a bigger Husker fan than Linda Alberts,” he said.
He may have been born in Cedar Falls, Iowa, but years of emotion, joy and hard work mean Alberts is forever bonded to this place — he’s a Nebraskan to his core. That emotional connection first started growing back in 1989, when he committed to play at Nebraska for Tom Osborne.
More than 30 years ago, Alberts was just an 18-year-old kid trying to earn his spot on one of the nation’s best college football teams. Now, he’s in charge of the same athletic program that launched him to a career of success.
“It’s really emotional for me,” Alberts said. “I grew up in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and I never dreamed that a place like this would offer me a scholarship; it changed my life.”
As a member of the search committee that included current and former student-athletes, Austin Allen sat in on meetings with several candidates. Allen, an Aurora native, also saw that Alberts’ emotional ties to the state and connections to the athletic program run deep.
“When somebody from out of state comes in and says, ‘What makes Nebraska special?’ it’s kind of hard to explain; you just have to be here to understand it,” Allen said. “He’s been here to understand it, he’s from Iowa and he comes over here to Nebraska and doesn’t want to leave now.”
At Nebraska-Omaha, Alberts built up years of experience in running an athletic department. He controversially eliminated the school’s championship wrestling program, elevated the men’s basketball program to the Division I level and earned himself considerable job security.
He spent 12 years as UNO’s athletic director, and if not for this specific job opportunity opening up, Alberts might have been there for 12 more.
“I would’ve never left UNO for any other job than this one,” Alberts said.
TREV ALBERTS HIRED AS AD
Alberts said some of his top priorities early in his time at Nebraska will be earning the trust of student-athletes, coaches and fans alike, establishing proper work habits and developing teamwork.
Indeed, Alberts said he’d like to oversee “the hardest-working athletic department in the country.” For him, it’s not just a matter of fulfilling the responsibilities of the position he signed on to do, it’s also a case of accountability to the 1.9 million Nebraskans scattered around the state. As such, Alberts thinks his athletic department ought to reflect the values of all Nebraskans.
“Think about what Nebraskans and our alumni all across the country represent: they’re tough, they’re hard-working people, they do the right things all the time and they don’t ever make excuses,” Alberts said.
Learning names and building confidence will take up plenty of Alberts’s attention in the coming weeks. There are also many programs to evaluate, and none looms larger than the football program, especially given Alberts’ status as former Blackshirt himself.
Since Bill Byrne led the athletic department from 1992-2002, none of the ensuing four athletic directors lasted more than six years. Those around him think Alberts can be the one who changes that pattern.
“Twenty-five years isn’t out of the question,” UNL chancellor Ronnie Green joked.