For those who closely watch the Nebraska Cornhuskers baseball program, what transpired yesterday was a long time coming. After finishing the season one win shy of qualifying for the Big 12 Tournament, Husker baseball coach Mike Anderson was handed his walking papers after nine long seasons.
While the beginning of Anderson’s career certainly showed quite a bit of promise, leading the team to multiple postseason wins, including the program’s first ever College World Series victory, it became evident over the last four or five years that the current Huskers head coach couldn’t keep the success level anywhere near where it was when he took over the reins.
After hemming and hawing for the better part of the season, athletic director Tom Osborne did the right thing in letting a coach go who increasingly didn’t seem to have the ability to get the most out of his players when the going got tough.
Shockingly, after being one of the premier programs in college baseball for a decade, Nebraska’s fortunes seemingly took a nosedive over the last three seasons. There were plenty of excuses to be made for exactly why a former powerhouse program needed a final weekend sweep in order to avoid the third straight season where the team didn’t even make the conference tournament.
Anderson and Osborne made all sorts of declarations about how the program was getting better athletes, but they were going pro instead of coming to campus. But in the end the excuses were not enough to save the man’s job, nor should they have been.
Any time a program goes from the top of the heap to the bottom of the pile, leadership needs to change. Now going into to the 2011 season, Nebraska gets to start their Big Ten baseball slate with a new coach who hopefully will provide the team better chances to win.
It’s a shame we can’t say the same about the basketball program.