Dreaming Big 
March 15, 2013

Dear Husker Fans,

Hope all is well.  During my first few months “on the job” at Nebraska, I have learned just how much passion and support exists for NU, not only in the state, but around the country.  I have had the pleasure of meeting many Nebraskans, alums, donors and season ticket holders and I look forward to meeting everyone who cares about our great institution.  That tremendous passion and support is why I am starting this column, so I can keep you abreast of happenings on campus and share with you our successes. 

As I have stated many times since my arrival, I cannot guarantee that we will win every game or championship but our staff will work diligently to ensure the philosophy, vision, resources, and process are true to our core beliefs and meet our high standards.  We will be unrelenting in our pursuit of excellence and in our support of our student-athletes so that they may be successful in academics, athletics and life.

Because of those beliefs and high standards, Nebraska has been a trailblazer and innovator in various critical support areas for our student-athletes, assisting them in maximizing their physical and mental abilities, and then aiding them in achieving more than they ever thought they could.  Within higher education, Nebraska is widely considered the gold standard in academic support, life skills programming, strength & conditioning, nutrition, and sports medicine/athletics training.

We will leverage our collective resources and expertise to improve the performance, safety, and overall well-being of our student-athletes and the greater community.

And we never stop thinking BIG, we keep moving and breaking new ground—literally.

As you may know, the East Memorial Stadium expansion is almost complete, and within it walls, rests 40,000 square feet of space dedicated solely to the Nebraska Athletic Performance Laboratory (NAPL) and the Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior (CB3).

Long a dream of visionaries Chancellor Harvey Perlman, Coach Tom Osborne and others, NAPL is close to becoming a reality and took a big step earlier this week when the Department of Athletics introduced Dr. Judy Burnfield as the inaugural Director of the NAPL.  Dr. Burnfield also currently serves as the Director of the Institute for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering at the world renowned Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln.  Judy will play a key role in bringing to life the ground-breaking collaboration between athletics and research.

The NAPL will pair Nebraska Athletics with campus and private sector partners to collaboratively embark on innovative health and performance research.  Generally, the athletic environment relies heavily upon conventional wisdom and logic however, we are in inspired to dream bigger and dig deeper.  Our goal is to use the NAPL as a tool to unlock doors and validate best practices by applying more science to the endeavor.  We will leverage our collective resources and expertise to improve the performance, safety, and overall well-being of our student-athletes and the greater community.  This commitment and collaboration further solidifies the idea that athletics is ultimately an academic-based endeavor.

The Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior will be home to a state of the art functional MRI device, enabling faculty and students from a wide spectrum of disciplines to conduct research related to behavior and performance, including the study of concussions.  As a former college football player myself, I understand just how critical this research can be.  The Director of CB3 is Dr. Dennis Molfese, an internationally recognized expert on the use of brain recording techniques to study the emerging relationship between brain development, language and cognitive processes.  Dr. Molfese also chairs the Big Ten/Committee on Institutional Collaboration for Traumatic Brain Injury Research. Under his leadership, Nebraska will be a leader in studying sport related head injuries, and to improve the understanding, treatment and safety for all participants.

During our men's basketball game at BDSC against Minnesota, I had the great pleasure to host Mike Devaney. The building was truly electric from the tip of the ball to the victorious finish over the Gophers.  I will remember many moments from that evening but none more so than the pride from Coach Bob Devaney's son, in his words and from the look in his eyes, as we turned off the lights at the Bob for Husker basketball for the last time.

With winter sports wrapping up and the spring sports underway, it is an exciting time in Lincoln.  We should all continue to be proud of how our student-athletes, coaches and staff prepare, compete and conduct themselves with class and integrity. The many letters, emails and phone calls we receive are indicative of what we do right as an institution and as a community.  

Until next time, stay positive and Go Huskers!


Shawn Eichorst
Director of Athletics
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Tribute to Coach Osborne Benefts Worthy Causes

I've attended many great sports related banquets over the years, but this past Saturday night's Tribute to Tom Osborne in Omaha was exceptional. More than 1,800 former players, staff, coaches, celebrities, donors, fans, family, and friends were entertained throughout the evening, a fitting tribute to Coach. A few priceless moments from the evening were watching legendary coach Barry Switzer sing along with a Neil Diamond impersonator as well as bestowing high praise on everything Nebraska. All proceeds from the event will benefit the TeamMates Program and the Nebraska Athletics Performance Laboratory. Read more.

Weatherholt Leads No. 6 Tennis Team

Mary Weatherholt, a senior tennis player from Prairie Village, Kansas, has done a remarkable job helping to lead the Huskers to a No. 6 national ranking. This past weekend, the 2012 Big Ten Women's Tennis Athlete of the Year paced Nebraska to a 4-3 upset win over No. 7 Northwestern. Mary teamed with fellow Husker Patricia Veresova to upset Northwestern's 8th ranked top doubles team and then went on to defeat No. 55 Kate Turvy at the top singles position. There are just three more chances to cheer on the Huskers at home this season: April 5 against Purdue, April 7 against Indiana and April 21 against Wisconsin. I encourage you to come watch our wonderful ladies compete. Read more.

Perlman Chairs BCS Presidents' Group

Chancellor Harvey Perlman was selected to serve as chairman of the 12-member Bowl Championship Series Presidential Oversight Committee. Chancellor Perlman's vast experience, collaborative leadership style and passion for college football will help provide for a smooth transition to a four-team playoff format which will determine the national college champion beginning after the 2014 season. Read more.

Potuto Reflects Scholar-Athlete Ideal

We are all grateful for the National Football Foundation's and Fidelity Investment's decision to honor UNL Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR) Josephine Potuto and football student-athlete Rex Burkhead as recipients of the National Scholar-Athlete Awards. The NFF expanded its Awards Program this year to honor the FARs at the schools of the 15 student winners. The award includes a $5,000 donation to our athletic academic services department in honor of Jo. Read more.

Lincoln: The Happiest Place in the United States

Last week, Lincoln was named the happiest place in the United States, according to the most recent Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index Poll of 188 metropolitan areas. That should come as no surprise to all of you. My wife, Kristin, and I, and our boys, strongly agree with the assessment. We are extremely happy to be living in Nebraska's state capital, and the recent snow has provided an extra bonus for our boys! Read more.

Eichorst Athletics Recap | 3/12/13

Audio of Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst in the opening segment of his monthly radio show with IMG Husker Sports Network host Jeff Culhane.

Chancellor Perlman and Dennis Molfese| 3/12/13

Chancellor Harvey Perlman and Dennis Molfese

UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman visits IMG to talk to the Director of Athletics Radio Show to discuss his new role as chairman of the 12-member BCS Presidential Oversight Committee as well as UNL's new Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior (CB3). Director of the new CB3 Dennis Molfese joins Chancellor Perlman and Jeff Culhane to talk about exciting areas of new research that the CB3 facility will provide.

Eichorst Athletics Recap pt 2 | 3/12/13

Shawn Eichorst

Shawn and Jeff continue discussions about Nebraska's new facilities that will be completed next year and finish their roundup of Nebraska Athletics.

Director of the NAPL Judy Burnfield | 3/12/13

Judy Burnfield

Judy Burnfield, director of the Nebraska Athletics Performance Laboratory, discusses her new role and how the NAPL will provide Nebraska Athletics the chance to lead the way in performance research.


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