Steve Pederson Press Conference Quotes

By NU Athletic Communications
Athlete Director Steve Pederson said it was a great day for Nebraska and for the football program.
Athlete Director Steve Pederson said it was a great day for Nebraska and for the football program.
Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Steve Pederson, Nebraska Athletic Director

Coach Bill Callahan Contract Press Conference

Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2007
Memorial Stadium


Opening Statement

“This is an important day for Nebraska. I am pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with Coach Callahan. This morning we signed a new five-year contract that runs through January of 2012. This replaces the previous contract. We actually reached the agreement at the end of last week, but signed the official contract this morning, so we wanted to give you the news as soon as possible.


I have said on numerous occasions that we would like Coach Callahan to be here for many years to come. This is a commitment to Coach Callahan. It is important for him. It is important for our staff. It is important for our team. It is important for our recruits and it is important for our athletic department. We strongly believe the ingredients are in place for success both now and well into the future. Our confidence is based on the excellent coaching staff that he has assembled, on the outstanding young men in this program and the outstanding young men that we are recruiting to this program.


In the release that is being passed out, you will note that I reference the fact that Coach Callahan has set a standard for discipline, integrity and work ethic that all Nebraskans can be proud of. He has never wavered from his plan to build a long-term program with sustainable success both on and off the field.


Bill is totally focused on the Wake Forest game this week, as I’m sure you can imagine. He will make a few comments at the beginning with reference to the contract and then he wants to move to the game at hand, and I certainly understand that.”


On the timing of the contract

“As I’ve said before, we would like Coach to be here for a long time. We’ve been working on making sure that happens. We got it done right before the beginning of the season, but we certainly didn’t feel like an announcement right before the game was appropriate, so we waited until the official contract was signed this morning. Now that’s done. Now we’re on to the rest of the season. We’re anxious. It’s a great day for Nebraska. It’s a great day for our football program, and we’re excited.”


On the details of the contract

“The terms are in your press release. One of our goals is to pay our coaches at a competitive level. The base compensation has gone up to $1.75 million annually and he has a chance to earn significant amounts of money for performance bonuses for outstanding performance. The contract and incentives are much higher than it was at previous times.”


On the stability the program

“We believe strongly that the stability of the program is one of the things that will continue to make us successful. We’ve had historically good stability at Nebraska. Coach Callahan has come in here and worked very hard over the last three years to re-engineer this and get us into a position where we can have a lot of success. This is a commitment on our part to him, to say number one that we appreciate what he’s done, and number two that we believe long-term there are going to be a lot of good things happening around here. We want him and his staff to feel comfortable continuing to do things in the right way and continuing to build things in the fashion that we can all be proud of and they’ve done that. We do want them to know that we want them to be here for a while.”


On the incentives in the contract

“The bonuses are for championships the (Big 12) North Division and the Conference appearances and bowl games and BCS games and national championships. That’s how all those are slotted.”


On the progression of the Nebraska football program

“I’m excited. I think that when he arrived here, one of the things that impressed me the most in my conversations with Bill, was that he understood where we were, he understood what needed to be done, and he did not lay out all the reasons why it was going to be difficult. Not everybody did that. Oftentimes, you can get focused on the problems and the things you have to overcome. He believes like I do that this is a very special place and that the opportunities here are limitless for great success in college football.


From the day he got here, and I can almost remember that very first day recruiting, we were recruiting at the highest level the day he arrived. A new coach would come in and they would get going and a new coach would come in and then they would get going. We ended up having a pretty darn good recruiting year that first year on a very short time window. That was a difficult time. You see a lot of those guys out playing right now and they are doing a great job.


He moved right into getting ready for spring ball and doing the kinds of things that needed to be done. Through that time, one of the things that I have really admired is that he has never wavered from what he is trying to get done. There’s never been excuses. There’s never been one of those times in a down time where he came in to me looking discouraged. He’s fixated on what he wants to do and what he has to do and he has kept his staff that way.


I also think that when you look at the coaching staff here, it’s as fine a coaching staff as I have ever seen assembled, and I think I have seen some pretty good ones. He’s assembled a group of people throughout that organization that are the very best in the business. That is one of the other jobs that a head coach has to do is assemble great people around him to have success. Obviously recruiting has gone well. Our team is playing well. I don’t want to not go back and re-emphasize what I said before about the discipline and the integrity and the character and the work ethic of this program. From day one, he laid down a standard for behavior and discipline that I am very appreciative of as an athletic director, knowing that at Nebraska we want to win, but we want to do it the right way. We want to do it with the right kind of people and we want everybody to feel good about what is going on around here.”


On keeping Coach Callahan as Nebraska’s coach long-term

“This is a combination of looking at the work that he has done and the work that is going on right now, and we believe that there is going to be great success into the future. We know we have the right person leading this program, and so our goal here was to let this person know that we wanted him to be the coach here for a long time.”


On his expectations being met in the program

“In terms of what he has done for the program, I would say that he has certainly met or exceeded my expectations at this juncture of the program. We’ve got more good things to come. It all depends on whether you look at where we really were, or whether you look at where we hoped we were when he took over. He did what great coaches do. He looked realistically at where we were and said here’s how we are going to get this fixed and going into the future. Sometimes that is harder to look at from a distance and see that. He’s in the heart of it. He knows what he’s got. He embraced the players that were here, the day he got here, and treated them as though he had recruited them on his own and made them feel great, and worked at great relationships with them. He embraced the people that were here and the things that were going on, and yet he stayed focused on getting after the things that needed to be done. We’re enthused about all aspects of this program and enthused that he’s the football coach here.”


On a buyout in the contract

“I’ve never believed in buyouts in contracts. I believe this: if a coach only stays at a place because he can’t get out, then you probably don’t have a coach that wants to be there. There are different schools of thought on that. My belief is that I want a coach that wants to be here. Coach Callahan has said in every way possible that he wants to be the coach here for a long time. That’s the way we’re approaching this. I don’t believe there is a better job in the country than Nebraska. Fortunately, we have a coach that feels the same way. We’re excited and I hope we’re sitting here for a long, long time together.


There is no buyout in this contract. There wasn’t in his last one and there wasn’t in Doc’s (Sadler). That’s just a preference that I have.”




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