Nebraska hires former football player Dave Rimington as interim AD

Nebraska announced the hire on Tuesday of former legendary center Dave Rimington as interim athletic director, filling the void left last week when the school fired Shawn Eichorst.

Rimington, 57, attended Nebraska from 1979 to 1982 and remains the only player to twice win the Outland Trophy, presented annually to the nation's top interior lineman. He has served as president of the Boomer Esiason Foundation since 1995, leading efforts to raise awareness of and funds to fight cystic fibrosis.

At Nebraska, Rimington will be tasked to lead a department awash in uncertainty after the ouster of Eichorst as the all-important football program struggles amid a conference-title drought of 17 years.

His appointment is scheduled for up to 60 days, according to a university-issued news release.

Nebraska administrators made the move with Eichorst in the wake of the Cornhuskers' 21-17 home loss to Northern Illinois.

Eichorst in 2013 came from the same position at Miami to replace retiring Tom Osborne, Rimington's former coach and another legendary figure in the sport. Eichorst fired Bo Pelini as coach in 2014 and hired Mike Riley, who is in his third season and is a combined 17-13 after a 27-17 win on Saturday over Rutgers to open Big Ten play.

Riley's future in Lincoln, without Eichorst, appears to hang in the balance this season as Nebraska (2-2), visits Illinois on Friday before a difficult stretch of Big Ten play that begins with consecutive home games in October against Wisconsin and Ohio State.

Rimington said he's not a candidate for the permanent AD job. "I'm not here to fire anybody," he said. "I just want to calm things down."

In announcing the departure of Eichorst, owed $1.7 million by Nebraska, chancellor Ronnie Green said in a news conference with university president Hank Bounds that "we're not satisfied with the results."

Bounds and Green mentioned repeatedly that Nebraska must raise its level of "competitiveness" under a new department leader.

Green said Tuesday that the search is "active" for a full-time athletic director and that a search firm has been retained. Additionally, the chancellor will construct a search committee of university leadership, student-athletes and athletic-department staff.

He said he wants Nebraska to be aggressive with its resources and time.

"We expect this to be a short search," Green said.

Rimington, an Omaha native, has remained familiar with the Nebraska program from his post in New York over the past two decades. Before working with Esiason, Rimington served as a graduate assistant under Wisconsin's Barry Alvarez, the Badgers' current athletic director and another former Nebraska player, while earning his master's degree in international business.

Rimington was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2004, he was the first former Nebraska student-athlete inducted to the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame. A first-round NFL draft pick in 1983, Rimington played seven seasons with the Bengals and Eagles.

Since 2000, the Rimington Trophy has been presented annually in Lincoln to the top center in college football.