'Interim' label dropped as Osborne agrees to lead department into 2010

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Tom Osborne won't be leaving Nebraska
anytime soon.

University chancellor Harvey Perlman announced Wednesday that Osborne, 70, would remain as athletic director until June
30, 2010.

Ten years removed from his celebrated coaching career, Osborne returned to the university as interim athletic director Oct. 16,
the day after Steve Pederson was fired.

Since then, Osborne has fired Bill Callahan as football coach, hired LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini to replace Callahan, and helped the Huskers in recruiting.

"When chancellor Perlman asked me to lead the athletic department and to help unify the state, he gave me the
responsibility and the authority to do whatever needed to be
done," Osborne said in a statement. "We've made some great
strides over the last two months, but the chancellor and I agree
that these next two years are crucial to keep our program moving

Osborne, whose annual salary is $250,000, oversees a 23-sport program that runs on a $66.7 million budget. In his first two months on the job, Osborne's focus has been on
rebuilding the football program he coached to its pinnacle in the

The Cornhuskers are coming off their second losing season in four years, and Osborne fired Callahan on Nov. 24. He introduced Pelini -- a
former Nebraska defensive coordinator -- as the new coach on
Dec. 2.

Between Callahan's firing and Pelini's hiring, Osborne named himself interim coach so he could keep recruiting efforts going. He
even offered a scholarship to a player an hour after Pelini was
hired. That week, Osborne and Pelini spent a couple of days recruiting together.

Osborne said he wants people associated with Nebraska athletics to know he's committed to the job. "I have never been enamored with titles," he said. "At the
same time, I think it's important for our entire department to
realize that we will continue moving down the same path we're
already going. Change always breeds at least some uncertainty, and
if removing 'interim' from my title helps everyone understand that
we'll continue to be consistent in our approach, I'm all for

Perlman said a search for Osborne's successor would begin in
early 2010 and that Osborne would assist in the search and

"I appreciated Tom's willingness to step in as interim athletic
director during a very difficult time for the athletic
department," Perlman said. "His presence and his decisions have
significantly reduced the controversy surrounding the department
and particularly the football program."