Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Saturday, January 06, 2007

That gopher looks a little less golden

I'm almost a week behind on this, but I've been wanting to chime in ever since I saw the news run across the crawl on ESPN. Brian Cook and Dave Dye have already written on the subject, so let me get in line right behind them.

The University of Minnesota fired Glen Mason as its head coach? Are they insane? Has the athletic director been going out into the bitter Minneapolis cold without a hat on? Has the adminstration been reading those goofy blogs in its spare time?

I guess blowing a 31-point lead in a bowl game doesn't ensure the job security it used to.

And here I thought it was all smiles in Gopherland with a new on-campus stadium finally being approved. I could be completely off-base here, but how much support for such a project would've been generated had Mason not been so successful with the Gophers' football program in recent years? (However, that stadium may also have increased the pressure on the athletic department to bring in a more successful, higher profile coach.)

Sure, there were a couple of years there where Mason was seemingly interested in every other Big Ten job (Michigan State, Ohio State) besides his own. But does anybody else figure to finish with a winning record over 10 years at Minnesota?

Well, maybe. Apparently, some relatively impressive names are inquiring about the job. Former NC State offensive coordinator Marc Trestman (also with a number of NFL credits on his resume) has been contacted by the university. Not contacted, but most definitely interested, are LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini, former University of Miami head coach Larry Coker, former Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney, and a familiar face in Minneapolis from his days with the Vikings, Mike Tice.

The only guy who isn't interested is Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy. (And really, if you were him, why would you be? Dude could win a Super Bowl this year. His NFL ticket is permanently stamped.)

Still, that's not a bad list. But would these coaches be so intrigued by the job if not for the foundation Mason had established? Minnesota is hardly a fertile recruiting territory. And until that new stadium is built (target opening date: 2009), the Gophers still have to play their home games in the sterile, spiritless setting of the Metrodome, where game-times have to be frequently shuffled along with the Twins and Vikings. Of course, as always, money could be a big part of the appeal.

So what are you going to do, Golden Gophers? The rest of the Big Ten is keeping a collectively interested eye on you...

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  • At January 07, 2007 8:30 PM, Blogger twins15 said…

    I know lots and lots of Gophers fans that wanted Mason gone after he's really had a history the past few years of blowing games... that said, I totally agree with you in that everyone seems to have a short memory. The Gophers football program was awful before Mason got there, and he's brought some respectability and excitement, even with poor facilities, especially compared to the rest of the Big 10.

    I've heard Larry Coker's name mentioned a lot in the rumors... now that would make things interesting.

  • At January 08, 2007 3:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    As a relatively objective observer (lived in Minneapolis for five years, but not a fan of the college program, but also not a detractor) I'm of two minds on this:

    On the one hand, Mason did resurrect a winning program from Wacker wackiness. On the other hand, there are far more memorable meltdowns (both in game and over a season) than memorable upsets. Mason seemed nice enough, but pretty sterile. Combining his sterility, with the concrete confines of an off-campus multi-purpose dome, with some pretty embarrassing games (Hawkeye fans tearing down goalposts in the dome, coughing up 27 points v. Michigan in the 4th quarter, the latest debacle at Texas Tech) is what sort of makes him seem tired, in my mind.

    If he had been an enthusiast, an advocate for his players, heck, even an interesting character, six-win seasons might be acceptable. But his sin was that, while maintaining a marginally positve record, he was very, very dull.

    I think ADs around the country need to add a second "D" to their title, to more appropriately reflect their inability to maintain the requisite focus to build a winning program. Itchy trigger fingers have virtually destroyed Alabama's football program.

    I wish someone would go back and compile a winning percentage for ADs. My guess is that, in general, the ones with the best percentages are the ones who do the least tweaking and firing.


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