Nebraska Football: Matt Rhule fires Zach Duval, Dave Ellis

Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Matt Rhule speaks (Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports)
Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Matt Rhule speaks (Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports) /

Matt Rhule was officially introduced as the Nebraska football head coach on Monday. By the end of the day, the new Huskers head man was already putting his stamp on the program.

In some ways, that meant he was hiring his new staff. By Monday night, it was reported that he had five members of his new team. That included former assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Panthers, Corey Campbell. Campbell coming on board meant the writing was on the wall for the man Scott Frost brought in to handle that department, Zach Duval.

By Monday night, the writing was no longer on the wall. It was on the pink slips. Sean Callahan of Husker Online was the first to report that both Zach Duval and Dave Ellis had been fired by Matt Rhule. That was interesting especially because while it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Duval would be out, Ellis seemed to be on more stable footing.

One of the reasons that Campbell and Rhule might have felt as though Ellis needed to go as well could stem from the fact that Campbell is known as a vegan and has a completely different nutritional approach than his predecessors.

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While his being vegan might not sit well with some fans from a state that relies heavily on the beef industry, it’s hard to argue with Campbell’s results at Baylor.  At the same time, Ellis’ approach to nutrition was seen as pioneering. He started the Nebraska football nutrition department back in 1994. The Huskers won championships with Ellis in his now-former role.

When Duval was brought to Lincoln by Scott Frost in 2017, he was lauded as one of the country’s best strength and conditioning coaches, earning a salary of $425,000 per year.

The firings of Ellis and Duval mark the first official moves of that kind for Nebraska football. However, Mark Whipple is expected to be on his way out the door after Rhule reportedly hired Marcus Satterfield – South Carolina’s offensive coordinator – on Sunday night.