December 22, 2014

Nebraska-Kearney gets a new head football coach

Josh Lamberson (photo/UNK Athletics)

Josh Lamberson (photo/UNK Athletics)

The University of Nebraska at Kearney has hired former Central Missouri assistant coach Josh Lamberson as its head football coach, UNK announced today.

UNK will formally introduce Lamberson as its 17th coach in team history at a 10 a.m. news conference Monday at the Health and Sports Center.

“I’m extremely honored and excited to help carry on the tradition of Loper football and write the next chapter,” Lamberson said. “UNK is a proud program, and Nebraska is a proud football state. We are going to build our program around Nebraska kids and hard-nosed players who are committed to success.”

Lamberson, 32, is a native of Wilbur, Neb., and has a career record of 80-30 in nine years as an assistant coach at Central Missouri (39-19), Southeastern Oklahoma State (13-9) and Northwest Missouri State University (28-2).

He spent the past five seasons at Central Missouri, including four as offensive coordinator. He also coached wide receivers and was the recruiting coordinator.

Lamberson worked two seasons at Southeastern Oklahoma State as quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator from 2008-10. He also was a graduate assistant at Northwest Missouri State in 2006-07, helping lead the Bearcats to a 28-2 record and spot in the national championship game both seasons as quarterbacks coach.

Lamberson replaces Darrell Morris, who was UNK’s head coach the past 15 seasons.

UNK Director of Athletics Paul Plinske chose Lamberson following a nationwide search that garnered more than 125 applicants. Lamberson signed a three-year contract with an annual salary of $100,000.

“Josh brings an incredible passion for the student-athlete experience, a keen understanding of how to coach football and an uncanny ability to create a family atmosphere,” said Plinske. “His experiences at two highly successful Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association schools were incredibly appealing to me, but his ties to the state of Nebraska put him over the top and make him a perfect fit for UNK.”

Lamberson is no stranger to the MIAA. In addition to coaching seven years in the conference, he was an All-American quarterback at Northwest Missouri State and played in two NCAA Division II national championships. He finished his career in 2005 as the school’s all-time passing leader with 7,365 career yards and was a semifinalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy given to the top player in NCAA Division II.

“This is my first job as a head coach, and I’m absolutely confident that I’m prepared for it,” Lamberson said. “I’ve learned from great coaches and leaders of men in Mel Tjeerdsma and Jim Svoboda. I know what it takes to win football games and how to go about doing it.”

Lamberson is recognized as a coach with a strong offensive mind.

Using a no-huddle, up-tempo offense, his teams at Central Missouri were regularly among the MIAA’s top offenses. This season, Central Missouri led the MIAA in scoring offense with 35.7 points per game, was second in total offense at 446 yards per game and fourth in passing offense at 224 yards per game. His teams set 70 school records on offense.

Central Missouri went 39-19 during Lamberson’s five years there and made back-to-back postseason appearances in 2010 and 2011, when the Mules advanced to the NCAA-II quarterfinals and finished 11-3.

“Our staff is going to sell a brand of football where kids play together. A family atmosphere is the building block of something special,” Lamberson said. “UNK football has rich tradition and fantastic support from the community, campus and former players. We are going to embrace the past, build on what’s already in place and work hard to get everybody pointed in the same direction.”

Cotton lays out for simple goals for the Huskers over the final month of the season (AUDIO)

Barney Cotton holds court with reporters following the Huskers first practice

Barney Cotton holds court with reporters following the Huskers first practice

First practice for the Nebraska football team since the firing of Bo Pelini. Barney Cotton, who is the interim coach leading the Huskers in the Holiday Bowl had a four goals for his team over the final three weeks of the 2014 season.  Cotton has taken the responsibility of running this team very seriously and will approach this game with the same passion he has always felt.

Jake Cotton say the players have no issues getting pumped up for this game against USC and Josh Mitchell says the approach by the players for this game is to be focused on having fun and playing for each other.

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Riley’s staff taking shape (AUDIO)

Mark Banker, Mike Cavanaugh and Trent Bray, new Nebraska assistants (photos/Oregon State Athletics)

Mark Banker, Mike Cavanaugh and Trent Bray, new Nebraska assistants (photos/Oregon State Athletics)

Mike Riley’s staff at Nebraska is starting to take shape.  Nebraska Radio Network contributor Sean Callahan says new offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh has reached out to Omaha North.  High school kids who were recruited by Oregon State defensive coordinator Mark Banker have confirmed they’ve been contacted by Banker saying he was Nebraska’s new defensive coordinator.  Banker has been with Oregon State since 2003.  One other coach coming over for sure is linebackers coach Trent Bray, who spent three years with Riley.

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Assignment: Defensive Coordinator

Recruiting Area: San Fernando Valley/Hawai’i

Year at OSU: 14th Age: 58

Hometown: Plymouth, Massachusetts

Education: Bachelor’s in Physical Education from Springfield College (1978), Plymouth-Carver High School (1974)

Wife: Debbie

Children: Chris, Jayme and Kelsey


Assignment: Offensive Line

Hometown: Wallingford, Connecticut

Education: Bachelor’s in Physical Education from Southern Connecticut State (1986); 1981 Lyman High School (Wallingford, CT)

Wife: Laurie

Children: Shane and Blair


Assignment: Linebackers

Hometown: Pullman, Washington

Education: Bachelor’s in sociology from Oregon State


Holiday Bowl executive director excited for the Nebraska-USC matchup (AUDIO)

Holiday Bowl in San Diego

Holiday Bowl in San Diego

The Husker football team will be headed back to the Holiday Bowl and take on USC. Executive director Bruce Benkowski is thrilled with the matchup.  It will present a rare opportunity for this San Diego bowl. It will be played in prime time on Saturday the 27th.

Our first look at USC. They finished 8-4 on the season and in fourth place in the Pac-12 South with a 6-3 conference record. They beat coach Riley and the Oregon State Beavers 35-10 back in late September. Each team played Fresno State. The Trojan opened the season at home against the Bulldogs with a 52-13 win. The Huskers beat Fresno two weeks later 55-19. They had wins over then 13th ranked Stanford and the South’s division champion Arizona, ranked 10th at the time.

Barney Cotton will coach the team in the bowl game. No word yet on Mike Riley’s coaching staff, but four Oregon State assistant coaches flew into Lincoln last night.

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Huskers return to the San Diego to face USC in the Holiday Bowl

Holiday Bowl

Holiday Bowl

The Husker football team will face USC in the Holiday Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 27, making it the third trip to that bowl game in the last five years.  NU beat Arizona 33-0 in 2009 and losing to Steve Sarkisian’s Washington team 19-7 in 2010.

The Trojans, now coached by Sarkisian, have an 8-4 record and finished the regular season ranked 24th in the AP poll, one spot ahead of the Huskers, who went 9-3.

Barney Cotton will coach the Huskers in the bowl game, despite the team naming Mike Riley their new head coach on Friday.