Bill Moos and Jim Pillen

University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen, left, walks with Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos toward the buffet food line Tuesday evening during the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce's Annual Celebration held at Ag Park.

Last year, it was newly hired Nebraska football coach Scott Frost. This year, it was the man who brought him on board to revitalize the storied program’s culture.

Before at least 500 predominately red-clan attendees, Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos served as the guest speaker of the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Celebration held Tuesday evening at Ag Park.

“I’m thrilled to see that we have 500-plus here,” Chamber President Jeanne Schieffer said, prior to Moos speaking. “The community has gone through quite a bit lately so we didn’t know quite what to expect as far as turnout – especially with the flood. So, this is just especially gratifying to see this many people – not that only want to hear Director Moos, because that’s a given, but to celebrate and honor members of the Chamber who have been members for a long time.”

The Chamber, Schieffer said, runs about 800 businesses strong. Businesses were honored in five-year increments, starting at five years of membership leading all the way up to the granddaddy member of them all, Loup Public Power District, which has been a member of the Chamber for a whopping 85 years.

While celebrating the community and Chamber members were imperative, undoubtedly one of the main draws was listening to Moos speak. Since his October 2017 hiring, Moos has made it abundantly clear that he intends to get all Nebraska programs – not just the Cornhusker football team – to a level where they will be nationally competitive.

After landing Frost in December 2017, Moos most recently snagged former Iowa State and Chicago Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg to man the basketball helm after relieving Tim Miles of his duties on March 26.

During his approximately 30-minute speech, Moos spoke a lot about his past. He touched on his time working at the University of Montana, University of Oregon, Washington State – his alma mater – and finally, Nebraska.

Moos noted that he expected to retire after he finished his tenure at Washington State and that only perhaps three universities were appealing enough to make him take a new job.

Nebraska was at the top of his list.

For him, he said it was the people and the culture that were the defining characteristics that made him take the Nebraska job. Moos, himself, is a farm kid at heart. He grew up around agriculture and even owned his own ranch at one point in time prior to relocating to Lincoln with his wife, Kendra.

The way of life and show of support is something that Nebraskans don’t necessarily take for granted, he said, but something they don’t fully appreciate because they don’t see it from the outside looking in.

This is why Moos anticipates this will be his final job before stepping away from college athletics.

“When you are in this business you are kind of sophisticated nomads,” Moos said. “That’s just kind of how it works. And this is our fourth and final stop because there is no place like Nebraska.”

After Moos' speech, the chamber was scheduled to award a couple of honors. The celebration was still ongoing at The Telegram's print deadline See Thursday's edition for more coverage.

Sam Pimper is the news editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at sam.pimper@lee.net.

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