“My number one focus is the boys,” Mickey Joseph says as new Huskers coach

Sept. 13, 2022, noon ·

Mickey Joseph takes questions from reporters at a press conference
The 54-year-old Joseph, who started the season as Nebraska’s associate head coach, will be the first-ever Black head coach of any sport of the 22 varsity sports at the university. (Photo via Huskers livestream)

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Mickey Joseph will largely avoid making big picture changes in his first few days as Nebraska’s head football coach.

Joseph made his first public comments as leader of the Nebraska football team Tuesday. Also a former Nebraska quarterback, Joseph became the interim coach after Scott Frost was fired on Sunday morning. Frost amassed a 16-31 record over his more than four seasons coaching at Nebraska.

The recently appointed interim coach said the Huskers football team would change its off-day to Monday in the players’ week. Previously, Sunday had been that day.

Defensive coordinator, Erik Chinander, will take more responsibility, helping Travis Fisher coach the defensive backs. Joseph, the former receivers coach, also appointed assistant Mike Cassano to the full-time position as his replacement.

Other than that, Joseph said he’s focused on the players.

“My number one focus – the staff’s focus – is the boys, is the players – that we make sure that they're okay,” he said.

The Huskers have nine games left in their season. Joseph’s tenure as head coach begins this Saturday with No. 6 ranked Oklahoma, the longtime rival of Nebraska – one Joseph knows well.

“I played in the Big 8,” he said. “We had to face them every year, and it was always a big game.”

The 54-year-old Joseph, who started the season as Nebraska’s associate head coach, will be the first-ever Black head coach of any of the 22 varsity sports at the university.

“I haven't really thought about that,” he said on Tuesday. “Because I've been a football coach – I've been a Black football coach all my life – I've never thought about that. I was more concerned about the boys and getting the boys ready to play on Saturday. It’s bigger than me.”

Mickey Joseph. headshot
Mickey Joseph (Courtesy Husker Athletics)

Joseph most recently worked at Louisiana State University, where he served as the associate head coach and wide receivers coach before being hired by Nebraska last year. At LSU, Joseph quickly established his recruiting prowess.

He played quarterback at Nebraska from 1988 through 1991. During his career best junior season, Joseph passed for 624 yards and threw 11 touchdowns. He also ran for 554 yards and 10 touchdowns in Tom Osborne’s run-heavy offense.

As interim head coach, Joseph may be considered for the full-time replacement. Athletic director Trev Alberts said on Sunday there will be a national search later this year, but Joseph may be considered.

“I'd love to see Mickey grow into that,” Alberts said.