University of Miami President Donna Shalala just confirmed what we already knew: UM athletic director Shawn Eichorst has resigned, effective immediately.
Eichorst has taken the same job at Nebraska, and will replace Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne Jan. 1 -- though Eichorst will begin at Nebraska Oct. 9 as a special assistant to Chancellor Harvey Perlman. Eichorst accepted a five-year contract, reportedly worth $973,000 annually.
"I am deeply disappointed in Shawn's departure to the University of Nebraska as I thoroughly enjoyed working with him,'' Shalala said in a written statement. "We wish Shawn and his wonderful family the very best at their new post.''
Shalala has appointed Blake James, Senior Associate Athletic Director, as the acting UM athletic director. James served as the AD at Maine from 2005-2010 and returned to UM in 2010, having previously worked at UM from 1995-97 and from 1998-2001.
Eichorst was hired by the Hurricanes in April, 2011.
Hello? Anyone want to be the UM athletic director?
Osborne announced last month that he will retire at the end of this year.
At UM -- bracing for NCAA sanctions in the case involving former UM booster and convicted felon Nevin Shapiro -- Eichorst has been one of the most low-profile athletic directors in school history. He was not at UM during Shapiro's wrongdoings, but except for once or twice, has declined to speak to the media since coming to Miami -- and has mostly kept his distance from UM fans and donors.
Among the media, Eichorst was known as the invisible athletic director.
He was supposed to accompany the Golden Canes boosters on the trip to Chicago.
"I think his timing is offensive,'' a long-time Miami booster told me. "It's a Golden Canes trip. It's a Notre Dame game. If he was that unhappy, he should have just left before this.
"If someone can't even say hello to people he sees all the time, he's not at the right place and isn't part of the Hurricanes' family."
Former UM great Alonzo Highsmith has been busy tweeting this morning:
"Donna listen," Highsmith tweeted, referring to Shalala, "Find an AD with vision, passion, guts, decision maker, leader, knows and respects program , knows the culture, man of people!"
Alonzo also tweeted this: I wouldn't know Miami AD if he told me who he was and that's all u need to know!!
Eichorst's predecessor, Kirby Hocutt, served only 2 1/2 years as the UM athletic director and now is the AD at Texas Tech.
Eichorst was responsible for the hiring of basketball coach Jim Larranaga. Just before his hiring, the school agreed to reward women's basketball coach Katie Meier, the co-national Coach of the Year, with a five-year contract extension that would take her through 2016. The contract was negotiated by then-acting AD Tony Hernandez.
Eichorst is a native of Lone Rock, Wis., and was an all-conference defensive back, three-time letterwinner and 1990 team captain for the UW-Whitewater football team, according to his Miami bio. He graduated magna cum laude in business from UW-Whitewater in 1990 and earned a law degree from Marquette in 1995.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN