Dannen dumps Washington for Nebraska


AP FILE PHOTO – Washington athletic director Troy Dannen looks on from the sideline during the second half of a college football game against Utah on Nov. 11, 2023, in Seattle.

Nebraska hired Washington athletic director Troy Dannen on Wednesday to replace Trev Alberts, luring away the Midwesterner after less than six months on the job in Seattle.

Alberts left Nebraska late last week to become athletic director at Texas A&M. The former star football player for the Cornhuskers spent just shy of three years as the athletic director at his alma mater before leaving the Big Ten Conference school for the chance to run an SEC program.

Nebraska moved quickly to replace him with Dannen, a Marshalltown native who took the Washington job in October after spending nine years as AD at Tulane. Before Tulane, Dannen was athletic director at Northern Iowa.

“There is a storied tradition at Nebraska but more work to be done. I truly believe our best years are ahead of us,” Dannen said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more grateful to interim President Chris Kabourek for this opportunity.”

Dannen was barely in Seattle long enough to enjoy a cup of coffee in the city known for its brews.

He was hired in early October to take over the Huskies, a little more than two months after the school announced it was leaving the Pac-12 and joining the Big Ten in 2024.

His brief tenure in Washington was chaotic, including the Huskies’ run to the national championship game in football but also two coaching searches, one of which is still open.

Football coach Kalen DeBoer parlayed the Huskies’ title game run into the head job at Alabama after Nick Saben retired. It took Dannen less than 72 hours to hire Jedd Fisch from Arizona as DeBoer’s replacement.

Dannen was also in the middle of a men’s basketball coaching search after Mike Hopkins was let go earlier this month following seven seasons. The basketball job remains open.

Dannen replaced Jen Cohen, who left last August to take the top position in the athletic department at Southern California. Cohen was the one in charge of Washington athletics when the Huskies announced that they, along with Oregon, were leaving for the Big Ten, helping lead to the collapse of the Pac-12.

It was expected that Dannen would be the one taking the Huskies into the Big Ten coming off the major success in football but with a department deficit of nearly $8 million in the next fiscal year and a major jump in the debt services paid on the Husky Stadium renovation in the coming years.

At Nebraska, Dannen finds more fiscal stability, but also a tradition-rich football program that has not been to a bowl game since the 2016 season.

Dannen and Cornhuskers football coach Matt Rhule, who was hired last year by Alberts, know each other from their time in the American Athletic Conference. Dannen was Tulane’s athletic director while Rhule was coach at Temple.

“I’m so fired up about this hire,” Rhule said. “Interim President Kabourek has found exactly the right person to lead the Huskers forward. Troy sees what we see — that Nebraska is a special place, with special people, a great vision and the courage to be unabashed about wanting to win across the board.”

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