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Nebraska Hires Washington Athletic Director Troy Dannen

Dannen Washington

Washington Athletic Director Troy Dannen has officially been hired as the Director of Athletics at the University of Nebraska. The move comes just days after former Husker Athletic Director Trev Alberts left Lincoln to become the Athletic Director at Texas A&M University. Dannen was hired to become Washington’s director of athletics just five months ago in October of 2023. His short stint in Seattle was full of activity across several sports, but most prominently surrounding the football team.

Troy Dannen’s Stint at Washington

Since taking over as the director of athletics on October 9th, 2023, Dannen oversaw Kalen DeBoer lead the Washington football team to a 14-0 record, a Pac-12 Championship, and an appearance in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. During that run through the season, the athletic director worked to extend their successful head coach. Dannen said he, “Put a Big Ten package in front of Kalen, not a Pac-12 package.” Washington would go on to lose a heartbreaker in the sport’s biggest game and finish the season 14-1. Just four days later, DeBoer left to become the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

That opened a coaching search on Montlake, one that Dannen would lead with haste. He targeted Jedd Fisch who was the sitting head coach at Arizona. Fisch had just led the Wildcats to their most successful season in several years, finishing with 10 wins. Three days after DeBoer left for Tuscaloosa, Dannen had Fisch on a flight to Seattle to become the new head coach of Washington Football. He hired Fisch, a proven winner at all levels of the game. The whirlwind of a national championship appearance, a coaching departure, and a coaching hire took exactly one week to develop, and Dannen was at the forefront of all of it.

Washington’s Athletic Director Search

Now as we approach the end of March with Washington’s Spring practice set to begin on April 2nd. Dannen won’t get to see the head coach he hired lead one down for the purple and gold. Washington is now in a search for a new athletic director to lead the program into its Big Ten era. 

There were a handful of short-listed names last fall prior to Washington hiring Dannen. Those included Ed Scott, the athletic director at Virginia. He was hired to that position in January of 2022. Scott is an East Coast native. He attended University at Albany and previously served as the athletic director at Morgan State University. Also on that shortlist was Chris Pezman at Houston, a Houston Alum, and Chrissi Rawak at Delaware. Rawak spent a considerable amount of time in the Michigan Athletics Department prior to her tenure as the Delaware athletic director. Rawak’s experience in the Big Ten would be valuable if Washington chooses to pursue her in their next search.

Will Washington go after Pat Chun at Washington State? The Cougars’ Director of Athletics is one of the more prominent names in the country and a vocal leader of athletics. Chun attended Ohio State and worked under Gene Smith for several years. He became the Executive Associate Athletics Director at Ohio State. Chun is now entering his sixth year as the Athletic Director in Pullman. He was also recently appointed to the College Football Playoff Selection Committee for 2024. Chun has navigated a difficult situation in the Pac-12 at Washington State, doing what he can to keep his program competitive in the national landscape. If Washington were to pursue Chun, the Big Ten affiliation and stability of the program would be key factors in the effort. 

 

Dannen Washington
Photo courtesy:  Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

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