New Husker AD Is “Building The Future Of College Athletics”

The Cornhusker staff is fired up about the new hire at AD. The fans seem to be unsure of who he is. But one thing is for sure, the impact he has already had on college athletics is immense. On Wednesday the University announced its surprise hire of now former Washington Huskies Athletic Director Troy Dannen. Seemingly four factors played into the new AD coming to Nebraska.

Getting back to the midwest, Dannen and his wife are originally from Iowa and the move back closer to home seemed fitting for the new AD and his family. Monetary stability among the University. The University of Washington has seen some fiscal insecurities in comparison to Nebraska over the past few decades. Due to the fact that Nebraska has amazing support from its donors, Alumni, and fans its financial support seems strong and evergrowing. In this NIL era, that is a major concern for leaders. Branding undoubtedly played a major role in the hiring away of Dannen as well. No matter where you may travel across this beautiful country, the block “N” is unmistakable. Feared, loved or hated. A vast majority of those that follow college sports even on the smallest level, not only know who it represents but have a story to go with it. That is something that is currently not present at the University of Washington even with their recent successes. The final factor undoubtedly is the rise of Husker athletics in totality. From Rhule and staff changing culture and bringing hope to Husker fans, to both men and womens basketball making the NCAA tournament (1st time in a decade). Even wrestling and husker baseball seem to be picking up steam while volleyball continues its dominance. Overall the University of Nebraska is one of the most well rounded schools athletically in the country, and bringing Dannen on board seems to be a step forward.

Progressing into this new age of college athletics is something that will require a steady hand, a hair trigger and vast audacity. Dannen has served on the NCAA Division 1 Transformation Committee and the Football Oversight Committee giving him insight and expertise in the field. The Transformation Committee was tasked with “Building the future of College athletics”. On this committee Dannen was given the job of “identifying opportunities to modernize college sports and recommend forward looking changes for consideration by the NCAA”. This is going to be extremely useful as over the next few years the college football landscape is going to continue to change dramatically and now we have an individual with experience in the field.

New Husker AD Dannen is known as a “football guy”. Earning that title everywhere he has been. Looking at his previous jobs at Northern Iowa, Tulane and Washington all of those schools do have one thing in common and that is a meteoric rise in the football programs under his advisory. Football is not his only focus though. For instance from 2015-2023, under Dannen’s guidance Tulane racked up 21 conference championships and 41 post season appearances across all sports.

A proven commodity and a swing for the fences that I didn’t see coming. Hiring away a current Big 10 Athletic Director from a school in which was just in the College Football Playoffs seemed a bit of a stretch, but Nebraska made it happen. This is a hire in which I am fully confident in and as Husker Nation I think we will all look at it as a step towards securing Nebraska as an elite college athletics program.

 

Dylan Raiola Seamlessly Transitions

 

The news coming out of Lincoln has been much awaited but not as readily available as we would have thought, due to the entire country talking about the true freshman who is favored to start for the Huskers this year. Dylan Raiola, the highest ranked quarterback to ever play a game wearing the block “N”, has not made many waves in the news cycle this offseason since his decommitment from Georgia, and commitment to Nebraska. Many interviews have coaches stating Raiola’s quiet transition into a collegiate quarterback. Bringing up his leadership and work ethic in quotes from Coach Rhule such as “he just works”. This is exactly what is needed from a true freshman stepping into this role surrounded by many veteran players. 

 

Leading a much improved offensive roster with the addition of weapons like the All-ACC’s Jahmal Banks who led Wake Forest in 2023 with 59 receptions for 653 yards and once highly sought after wide receiver from the University of Texas Isaiah Neyor. Adding in the current young crop of receivers already having acquired playing time at Nebraska, this should be a very steady receiving room. Allowing Raiola to play within himself and not have to force the ball downfield to receivers with little to no separation. 

 

Raiola’s “He Just Works” mentality is something that could lend itself to a much needed improvement at the quarterback position in 2024. Finding Raiola in the weightroom, studying film or quietly covered in sweat from head to toe during mat drills may not make news headlines but it shows his want to succeed. The lack of “we” in college football is ever so growing as the want of “I” is taking over in this NIL era. That want of “we” paired with an upgraded receiver room and a very deep running back room will ease the stress on this young quarterback and allow him to grow without the outside pressure that may be put onto him with a less adequate offense. Finally giving a promising quarterback the ability to shine and stay healthy. 

 

From his commitment poem to his actions, Dylan Raiola is coming across as less of an outsider but more of a player who understands the totality of Husker football. The grit the people of Nebraska portray. The heart we put into this program, and what it means to an entire state when it’s thriving. So don’t mistake his quietness for inability. Mental preparedness is best done in silence, and Raiola is preparing for battle.