Nebraska AD prepares to face former employer - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Nebraska AD prepares to face former employer

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LINCOLN, Neb. (WKOW) -

As the Director of Athletics at Nebraska, Shawn Eichorst appreciates how special every football gameday is at Memorial Stadium. However, when the Huskers kick off against Wisconsin on Saturday, Eichorst's past and present will converge for one afternoon.

Long before Eichorst took the reins at Nebraska, he was a sports standout at River Valley High School near his hometown of Lone Rock. After high school, Eichorst went on to become a standout defensive back at UW-Whitewater before returning several years later to be the Director of Athletics. That career path eventually led him to Madison where he served as Barry Alvarez's Deputy Athletic Director from 2006-2011.

"I learned a lot from Coach Alvarez about how to look at the game and think about the game and what coaches are thinking. Then, the cool things like be yourself. Don't try to be somebody that you're not."

As a former Huskers football player, Alvarez was even able to give Eichorst a few pointers about Nebraska when he took the job. The personal connections between the two athletic departments have added to a growing rivalry. Eichorst believes that friendly rivalry exists, in part, due to some of the similarities between the two schools.

"There's a lot of similar qualities in respect to the institutions. Certainly, the athletic departments have a lot of respect and tradition. Then, you have these personal connections."

Eichorst's fondness for his home state and former employer won't cloud his competitive nature this weekend. However, a visit from his old River Valley High School coach, Howard Murphy, caused him to reflect.

"When you're in the moment, you don't quite understand, but years later I think you get a really good understanding of where you came from. I came from good people, and he's one of them."

Murphy will sit next to Eichorst during the game. It will be yet another reminder this weekend of how his past in Wisconsin led Eichorst to this moment.

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