|Hometown:||Lone Rock, Wis.|
Shawn Eichorst became the Director of Athletics in Lincoln in 2012, and quickly displayed an incredible passion for the University, its student-athletes and the State of Nebraska. As the leader of a tradition-rich athletic program with 24 intercollegiate teams, 600-plus student-athletes and more than 325 full-time employees, Eichorst relies on a strong values system and a student-centered approach to lead the department. Nebraska’s primary mission is to provide all student-athletes with the resources and support they need to be successful in academics, athletics and life. The core values of Integrity, Trust, Respect, Teamwork and Loyalty serve as the foundation, and the health, safety and welfare of student-athletes and staff are the essence of every decision made at Nebraska.
An experienced administrator, lawyer and former student-athlete, Eichorst has brought a well-informed approach to Nebraska Athletics.
During his tenure, the Huskers have won three NCAA team national titles and 10 Big Ten Conference championships, including three in 2016-2017, with 13 Nebraska teams competing in NCAA postseason action this past year. Nebraska student-athletes achieved a 88 percent Graduation Success Rate (GSR) in 2016-2017, setting a record high for the fourth consecutive year and every Nebraska teams achieved an NCAA Academic Performance Rate (APR) of 977 or higher, again setting a record at Nebraska. New or enhanced facilities have sprung up on campus, including a major renovation to Memorial Stadium and new stadiums for soccer and tennis. And true to his vision and word, Eichorst has increased resources and services in every student-athlete support unit including academics, athletic medicine, life skills, nutrition, sports psychology, strength and conditioning, performance and research.
Well respected on the national level, Eichorst has been a major player in spearheading the passage of the most comprehensive and progressive football recruiting reform in decades. Serving on the inaugural Division I Football Oversight Committee since 2015 and named co-chair of the NCAA Division I Football Recruiting Ad Hoc Working Group in 2016, Eichorst provides valuable leadership and insight into preserving and enhancing the game of college football.
He was the first Director of Athletics from any conference to visit the Big Ten Conference-based Academic Alliance at its Champaign, Illinois, headquarters. The Academic Alliance (formerly known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation) is a highly successful, academic-based consortium of 15 schools, including all 14 in the Big Ten Conference. Under Eichorst’s direction, Nebraska is leading the Big Ten and the Academic Alliance in several areas, including Digital Humanities and head injury research. He also serves on the Big Ten Conference Program and Budget Review Committee. Eichorst regularly attends Big Ten Joint Council meetings and NCAA Conventions, including the Autonomy Five Conferences and recently provided input on new legislation designed to give students more time to pursue academics, work, internships or additional rest and recovery. On campus, Eichorst is a member of the Chancellor’s Senior Administrative Team.
Eichorst continues to aggressively move Nebraska forward with several new initiatives to enhance the student-athlete experience. Beginning in the summer of 2015, Nebraska became the first athletic department in the country to provide laptop computers to every student-athlete and the first to create a data analytics department. Nebraska is one of the first in the Power Five conferences to provide all student-athletes four-year, full cost of attendance-based scholarships. Nebraska was also the first-known department of athletics to create a Post-Eligibility Opportunity (PEO) program, where every Husker letterwinner who graduates and who has exhausted his or her eligibility has an opportunity to pursue an internship, study abroad or enroll in a graduate school program valued at $7,500. Nebraska’s service abroad trip is also unique, with teams of student-athletes and staff serving abroad in each of the past three years, including Guatemala in 2015, the Dominican Republic in 2016 and Nicaragua in 2017.
Under Eichorst’s leadership, Nebraska has extended its nation-leading total of CoSIDA Academic All-Americans to 329 and its nation-best total of NCAA Top Ten Award winners to 17. In 2016-17, 126 student-athletes earned undergraduate or graduate degrees and the Big Ten Conference honored 209 Husker student-athletes with Academic All-Big Ten awards.
In 2016-17, the Husker volleyball, women’s gymnastics and baseball programs won Big Ten Championships, while 13 Nebraska teams competed in NCAA postseason action, including bowling, football, volleyball, women’s swimming and diving, wrestling, baseball, men’s and women’s gymnastics, rifle, and men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field. In 2016-17, Nebraska produced 41 All-Americans who won 43 national awards, including 12 first-team honorees. Under Eichorst’s first year of leadership in 2013-14, Nebraska became one of only two NCAA institutions – and the first Big Ten program in history – to qualify for a football bowl game, and advance to NCAA postseason in the major team sports of volleyball, soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and softball. Additionally, Nebraska was the only institution to win a postseason game in six of those seven sports.
In Eichorst’s four years at the helm of Husker Athletics, he has hired three head coaches. In December of 2014, Eichorst hired Mike Riley as head football coach. Prominent members of the national media, the coaching fraternity, Riley’s former players and current and former Nebraska student-athletes praised the hire of Riley, one of the most respected coaches in the profession. Eichorst also hired Ashley Rose-MacAllister to lead the women’s rifle team in 2014 and Husker letterwinner Amy Williams to lead Nebraska women’s basketball program in 2016.
Nebraska’s fan support continues to be unparalleled in college athletics. In 2016-17, top 20 national rankings for average attendance were reached across nine sports football, volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, wrestling, soccer, baseball and men’s and women’s gymnastics. A tribute to loyal Husker fans, two sports lead the nation with consecutive home sellout streaks. Football has 354 consecutive sellouts and volleyball has 219 consecutive regular-season sellouts.
In 2016 and 2017, Eichorst toured the state with Coach Mike Riley and has visited with fans in 32 Nebraska communities. His monthly radio show and “Connecting on Campus” online column provide opportunities to connect and share the incredible activities, initiatives and accomplishments happening at the greater University and in the department.
Under Eichorst’s leadership, Nebraska continues to focus on improving its facilities and the game-day experience at all athletic venues. In August of 2015, Hibner Stadium and Barbara Hibner Field for soccer and the Sid and Hazel Dillon Tennis Center were completed. In 2015, a new center-hung video board and sound system in the Devaney Center improved the game-day experience for volleyball, wrestling and men’s and women’s gymnastics. In 2014, Memorial Stadium added the largest wireless network system at a college football stadium in history, along with a state-of-the-art sound system. In 2017, Memorial Stadium will feature new video screens and ribbon boards. The biggest change will be the addition of wrap-around video boards on the northeast and northwest towers. The components of the North Stadium videoboard – installed in 2006 – will also improve. The current board will not change in size but the resolution will tighten from 20-millimeter to 10-millimeter pixels, creating a clearer, crisper picture that will match the state-of-the-art sound system that was updated in 2014.
In the summer of 2013, Memorial Stadium expansion added the innovative Nebraska Athletic Performance Laboratory (NAPL) inside East Stadium next to the Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior (CB3). That same year, Nebraska’s men’s and women’s basketball teams became the primary tenants of the newly constructed Pinnacle Bank Arena, and the renovated Devaney Center became the home for Husker volleyball, wrestling and the men’s and women’s gymnastics programs.
Eichorst came to Nebraska after serving as Director of Athletics at Miami in 2011 and 2012. He hired legendary men’s basketball coach Jim Larrañaga, who led Miami to the NIT Second Round in his first season and ACC regular-season and tournament titles as well and the NCAA Sweet 16 in his second. The women’s basketball, women’s tennis, women’s soccer, volleyball and baseball teams also made significant NCAA postseason accomplishments.
Before heading to Miami, Eichorst was the Deputy Athletics Director at Wisconsin. He was the Chief Operating Officer and oversaw the department’s daily operations, as well as the men’s basketball program under the direction of Director of Athletics, Hall of Fame Football Coach and former Husker Barry Alvarez.
From 2004 to 2006, Eichorst served as the Senior Associate Athletics Director for Administration at South Carolina, overseeing the department’s daily operations, as well as the football and baseball programs under legendary coaches Lou Holtz, Steve Spurrier and Ray Tanner, respectively.
From 1999 to 2003, Eichorst served as the Director of Athletics at Wisconsin-Whitewater, which produced four top 10-percent finishes in the NACDA Directors Cup, one NCAA team title and two NCAA runner-up finishes.
A native of Lone Rock, Wisconsin, Eichorst was an all-conference defensive back, three-time letterwinner and 1990 football team captain for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He graduated magna cum laude in business from UW-Whitewater in 1990 and in 2015 earned the Distinguished Alumni Award for Professional Achievement. He earned a law degree from Marquette Law School in 1995, practiced law in Milwaukee until 1999 and is a past member of the State Bar of Wisconsin Board of Governors. He served as an assistant adjunct professor of law at Marquette, where he taught classes in sports law. He serves on the Marquette University National Sports Law Institute Board of Advisors, and in 2006, Marquette awarded Eichorst the Sports Law Alumnus of the Year Award. He is also a graduate of the Sports Management Institute and serves on its Executive Committee.
Shawn and his wife Kristin have three sons: Jack, Joseph and Bennett.
Miami (Fla.) (2011-12)
South Carolina (2004-06)