LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — At his introductory press conference, Nebraska's next athletic director, Trev Alberts, thanked former University of Nebraska Omaha chancellor John Christensen "for being crazy enough to hire me" as the school's athletic director in 2009.
Alberts, at the time, did not have experience in administration. He worked in broadcasting after his short-lived NFL career, including for ESPN. He applied for the UNO position "on a whim after reading a newspaper article about it," Alberts told the New York Times in 2009.
But his 12 years as UNO's athletic director were eventful. He lead the university out of Division II and into Division I and the Summit League. Hockey was already Division I. But in the process, the school cut football and a wrestling program that won a national title all but two years between 2004 and 2011, when it was cut.
"I know there's some things we would've done differently," he told KMTV in a 2015 interview. "The timing was just absolutely unconscionable."
The school's athletic program looks a lot different than it did when he took over. They built new venues on campus, including Baxter Arena in 2015 and baseball's Tal Anderson Field this year. Baxter Arena hosts the school's basketball, hockey and volleyball teams, as well as community events. The school rebranded to the simpler "O" logo a decade ago.
Albert's profile on UNO's website also boasts about his improvements to the athlete's experience, including resources now available in Sapp Fieldhouse. The athletes will be on the front of his mind at UNL in a new era of college athletics that will allow students to be paid through name, image, likeness deals.
As a linebacker at Nebraska from 1990 to 1993, he accumulated 248 tackles, enough for 13th most in Husker history. His 15 sacks in 1993 is tied for the most in a season by a Husker. He won the Butkus Award, which goes to the county's top linebacker, and was a consensus All-American. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2015.
His jersey number, 34, was quickly retired at the 1994 spring game. Drafted fifth overall in 1994 by the Colts, Alberts battled injuries and retired after just three seasons.
In the 2015 interview with KMTV, Alberts brought up his failed NFL career, when asked if his success as a Husker was helping him as UNO's athletic director. He was made Vice Chancellor of Athletics in 2014.
"I think I make most flop lists for NFL players," he said. "I'm not proud of that. But, you know, when you go through tough times I think you learn a little bit about yourself and you learn about perseverance. You learn about adversity."
At ESPN, Alberts was a college football analyst. After a dispute on Albert's role in the coverage, he was fired.
"More than likely, I'll be making a lifestyle and professional change," he told the Lincoln Journal Star at the time, "which I suppose isn't always bad."