Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts gives an update on Memorial...

Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts gives an update on Memorial Stadium renovations Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, in Lincoln, Neb. Texas A&M is close to hiring Nebraska's Trev Alberts as its next athletic director, a person with direct knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press on Wednesday., March 13, 2024. Credit: AP/Chris Machian

Texas A&M has hired Nebraska's Trev Alberts to replace Ross Bjork as its athletic director, the school announced Wednesday.

Alberts, a former football star with the Cornhuskers, had been athletic director at Nebraska for just short of three years. He leaves after overseeing the construction and planning for massive football facilities projects in Lincoln.

“From my perspective, there has never been a more consequential time in history for higher education and the evolving landscape of intercollegiate athletics,” Alberts said in a statement. “Leadership matters now more than ever before. My interest in Texas A&M is not only due to its prestigious reputation but also because of President (Mark) Welsh’s compelling vision in which, I believe, Athletics can play a small but important role in helping Texas A&M achieve unprecedented success.”

Alberts said it was bittersweet leaving his alma mater.

“I truly want to express my gratitude to the University of Nebraska — the school and its fans have been and always will be immensely important to me,” he said. “Nebraska changed my life, and I’m thankful for the incredible 15 years I spent (in the state)."

Nebraska executive associate athletic director Doug Ewald said athletic department staff were notified of Alberts' decision in a late-afternoon email.

Alberts had signed a contract extension through 2031 last July, and his contract calls for Nebraska to be paid $4.12 million in damages because he resigned before the end of this year. His annual base salary this year was $1.7 million.

Terms of his contract at Texas A&M were not announced.

One of Bjork's final acts at A&M was to hire football coach Mike Elko away from Duke two weeks after he fired Jimbo Fisher in November. The Aggies are paying Fisher an unprecedented buyout of $75 million on an installment plan with donor money and athletic department funds.

President Mark Welsh said in a statement he couldn't imagine a better individual than Alberts to lead the Aggies' athletic department.

“With Trev’s expertise, the Aggies are poised to not only excel on the fields, tracks and courts, but also successfully navigate the multi-faceted intersection of sports, commerce and student-athlete empowerment,” Welsh said. “He has a profound understanding of the intricate business of athletics and the evolving landscape of college athletics, particularly in the realm of Name, Image and Likeness (NIL).”

Alberts was an All-America linebacker for the Huskers in the early 1990s, was the fifth overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft and retired in 1997 after three injury-plagued seasons for the Indianapolis Colts.

He went into athletic administration after a stint as a TV college football analyst. He was athletic director at Nebraska-Omaha from 2009 until his hiring at Nebraska in July 2021.

“Other than my faith and my family, everything I have materially and otherwise is a result of an opportunity to be a student at the University of Nebraska,” he said at the time. “I don’t take this responsibility lightly.”

Alberts' overarching task at Nebraska was to revive a football program that had fallen on hard times in the two decades since its dominant run through the 1990s.

He fired coach Scott Frost in 2022 and brought in Matt Rhule, a popular hire who will be entering his second season. He also oversaw fundraising for a $175 million football building and last year announced plans for a $450 million renovation of Memorial Stadium.

Alberts also oversaw a comprehensive, new 15-year multimedia rights agreement between the university and Playfly Sports valued at $301 million over the life of the contract.

News of Alberts' pending departure throughout Wednesday caught Nebraska executive-level athletic department staffers by surprise.

“The longer this went on today, I thought we had a chance (to keep him),” Ewald said.

Alberts is the third key leader in Nebraska’s university system to leave in recent months. President Ted Carter was hired as Ohio State’s president last August, and his successor still has not been named. Ronnie Green, who had been chancellor of the flagship Lincoln campus, announced his retirement 15 months ago and Rodney Bennett replaced him last summer.

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