Tag:Minnesota
Posted on: December 13, 2010 12:52 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2010 6:24 pm
 

Big Ten updates logo, annouces division names

Posted by Adam Jacobi

With the Big Ten adding Nebraska to the fold earlier this year, the old Big Ten logo with the subtle "11" embedded was suddenly rendered obsolete. The Big Ten's response? A Big Ten logo with a subtle "10" embedded. Here's the new logo unveiled by commissioner Jim Delany on the Big Ten Network today:

As for the division names, yes, they're "Legends" and "Leaders." The announcement was made after a five-minute presentation about alumni of each and every school doing good things, and as the image above indicates, the split is like this:

LEGENDS

  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Michigan State
  • Minnesota
  • Nebraska
  • Northwestern

LEADERS

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Ohio State
  • Penn State
  • Purdue
  • Wisconsin

There'll be a time and place for editorializing about the new branding, but for now, here's what it all is. Reactions go in the comment section below.



Posted on: December 11, 2010 11:43 am
 

Brady Hoke would leave San Diego for Michigan

Posted by Tom Fornelli

San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke was mentioned quite a bit as a candidate for the Minnesota job before the school decided to hire Northern Illinois' Jerry Kill.  Hoke had interviewed with Minnesota AD Joel Maturi in San Diego at the job before deciding to stay in southern California and sign a two-year contract extension at the school.  Though just because Hoke signed an extension, that doesn't mean there isn't one job he would leave the school for this winter if it became available to him.

Even his school president knows that.  SDSU President Stephen Weber says that if the job at Michigan came open, he's almost certain that Hoke would leave his school for Ann Arbor if the job was offered to him.  And he's happy about it.

“If he were offered the opportunity, I have got to believe there is no way we can compete with that,” Weber told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “And I kind of like the fact we have a coach who (would be) in play for a place like the University of Michigan. C’mon, this is a good thing.”

Weber says he's known this since he hired Hoke.  He said during the interview he asked Hoke how he saw San Diego State fitting into his career arc, and Hoke told him that the arc ended at Michigan.

Of course, whether that Michigan job comes open or not, we don't know yet, as Michigan AD Dave Brandon has said he's going to wait until after the bowl game to make a decision on Rich Rodriguez.  Plus, there's the question of whether or not Jim Harbaugh would be interested in taking the job, because you have to think that he would be the school's first choice.
Posted on: December 7, 2010 7:40 pm
 

Minnesota AD offered head coach spot to Alvarez?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The St. Paul Pioneer Press published a back-and-forth between reporters Bob Sansevere ("BS") and Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi ("JM") today, regarding Minnesota's recent hire of Northern Illinois coach Jerry Kill. To call it "unusual" might not do the exchange justice; it's probably requires reading in full. Here's just a snippet, revealing just a fraction of the candor Maturi displayed today:

BS: You're the one who said you'd try to get another Tubby.

JM: Yeah, I did. I offered it to Barry Alvarez, and he didn't take the job.

BS: I've heard you say that three times now. Did you truly say, "Barry, do you want to come here and coach the Gophers?"

JM: Yeah, I did.

BS: And his response?

JM: He said, "I like what I'm doing. And my days of coaching are done."

BS: So you were sincere when you asked?

JM: Well, I know Barry pretty well now.

BS: But it was a serious offer?

JM: Oh, yeah. Heck, yeah. I said, "If we could make this work."

Yes: Maturi asserts, repeatedly, that he would have given the Minnesota job to Alvarez, who is on the doorstep of 64, hasn't coached in five years, and has spent the last 20 years in the service of Minnesota's biggest and longest rival. Amazingly, that offer wasn't accepted.

One might notice that "Tubby" comment at the beginning of the excerpt above. That's a reference to Minnesota coach Tubby Smith , who was a high-profile coach from a high-profile school. Upon firing Tim Brewster earlier this year, Maturi had said that he would make another "Tubby Smith" hire. Regardless of the overall quality of the hire, which will become apparent over the next few years, Jerry Kill probably doesn't qualify under those guidelines. That, according to Maturi, is the fault of the guidelines, not the school:

BS: Do you feel the Tubby Smith comment was taken out of context?

JM: Well, I guess what I'm trying to tell you is, I knew we weren't going to get a BCS head coach. Now, I'd like to get a splash like that. Let's be honest about it. I'm not trying to downgrade Minnesota. The intention was to get somebody people can accept, people will feel good about, and hopefully will be successful and revered as much as Tubby Smith. It's words that I wish I would have taken back, quite frankly.

BS: The kind you'd like to shove back in your mouth?

JM: Yeah, I would. I'll be honest with you in regards to that. Again, I'm not trying to discredit us or whatever it is, but how many BCS head coaches would leave there to come here? If you could give me a couple, I'm willing to listen to you, especially successful ones.

In other words, Maturi is fully and freely admitting that he had no shot at bringing a big name to Minnesota, new stadium be damned.

Now, there's one crucial piece of background information that will help this all come into much sharper focus: Maturi's contract is up next year, and there's a strong sentiment in Minneapolis that Maturi won't be back. He'll be in his late 60s by the time his contract expires, his teams at Minnesota have struggled as of late, and he has little incentive to stay at the post. Most damningly, he has abandoned the typical non-committal press-speak, and that's a sure sign that his tenure's just about at an end, and that end is of his own volition.

Posted on: December 5, 2010 7:26 pm
 

Report: Minnesota hires Jerry Kill

Posted by Tom Fornelli

On Sunday night, Northern Illinois held its football banquet, and head coach Jerry Kill was in attendance, though any and all media were kept out.  It appears there was a reason for this.

It seems that Kill wanted to say goodbye to his team in private.

Numerous reports and tweets are saying that Kill has been hired as the next head coach at Minnesota, where he will replace Tim Brewster who was fired earlier this season.  Kill has been at Northern Illinois since 2008 where he's gone 23-16 in three seasons, including a 10-3 mark this season, leading the Huskies to the MAC Championship Game where they lost to Miami of Ohio.

Before coming to NIU, Kill had coached at Southern Illinois, Saginaw Valley State and Emporia State.  The press conference to announce the hire is scheduled at 2pm Central on Monday.
Posted on: December 4, 2010 4:22 am
 

Big Ten schools looking in-conference for coaches

Posted by Adam Jacobi

There are, as of now, two job openings in the Big Ten: Indiana and Minnesota. Those two programs are generally regarded as being among the three worst in the conference (Illinois being the third, but at least the Illini go to a Rose Bowl every now and then), so a head coaching spot at one of these places probably isn't going to be terribly attractive -- or a recipe for success -- unless the candidate in question is familiar with the Big Ten, its style of play, the recruiting grounds, etc., and wants to spend years and years in the conference.

It's no real surprise, then, that both Indiana and Minnesota are reportedly interviewing candidates from other Big Ten schools -- and really, both schools are looking at superb hires. Minnesota has reportedly interviewed Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst. You may remember Wisconsin's offense from such hits as 83-20 over Indiana, 70-21 over Northwestern , and 48-28 over Michigan. Sure, it's not like hiring Chryst is all it takes to get the Gophers dropping 50 on everybody that walks into TCF Bank Stadium, but at least they'd be getting a guy that knows how to do that at this level.

Meanwhile, over in Indiana, the Hoosiers apparently have their eyes on several coaches with Big Ten ties. Michigan State assistant head coach Don Treadwell is going to be the name that's most familiar to Big Ten fans, but watch out for Oklahoma OC Kevin Wilson -- previously Northwestern's offensive coordinator for three very productive years. Treadwell was the de facto head coach for Michigan State while Mark Dantonio recovered from his heart attack, and it's worth noting that the Spartans stayed undefeated while Dantonio was either out or operating in a limited capacity. If Treadwell was auditioning for a head coaching spot, it's hard to imagine he got anything but an A+.

Still, Wilson is considered the leader in this race, for whatever that's worth; if so, Indiana hiring away Bob Stoops' OC would be nothing short of a coup, especially considering Wilson was the winner of the Broyles Award for the top college assistant in 2008. He's got almost 30 years of tutelage under Randy Walker and Stoops, dating back to his college football playing days, and he's still only 49. Frankly, it's something of a surprise that Wilson hasn't been hired already. If he or even Treadwell is seriously considering a Hoosier offer, the future just might be bright in Bloomington. If, however, the interest isn't totally mutual and Indiana's forced to go the route of, say, Iowa OC Ken O'Keefe instead, well, that'd be just a little more depressing, if not exactly surprising.

Posted on: December 3, 2010 6:48 pm
 

Navy athletic staffer shoots down Minnesota rumor

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Earlier today, some rumors started floating that Minnesota had interviewed Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo and considered him a finalist for the Gophers' head coaching spot. Unsurprisingly, the rumors were started by Tom Dienhart , who -- and we don't mean this as pejoratively as it probably sounds -- does this sort of thing a lot.

Well, Navy associate SID Scott Strasemeier is on Twitter, and caught wind of Dienhart's reporting. Hilarity, as they say, ensued.

"Tom, this is not true," Strasemeier replied to Dienhart. "Coach Niumatalolo has not interviewed with Minnesota nor have we been contacted for permission."

This isn't the first time that one of Dienhart's rumors has been shot down by a school official on Twitter; just last week, Dienhart's rumor about Rich Rodriguez 's imminent firing was dismissed by Michigan AD Dave Brandon in a tweet, although it's debatable whether RichRod did himself any favors on that front yesterday.

Still, between this and the Jon Gruden follies from earlier this week, it's demonstrably important to take any rumors of coaching hires or interviews with a grain of salt -- provided that grain is the size of an ottoman. Besides, if the school's conducting its business properly, its new coach's name won't be floated until the hiring's announced.

Posted on: December 1, 2010 5:02 pm
 

Vandy fans lobby for Randy Shannon as next coach

Posted by Adam Jacobi

It's hard to say that the Vanderbllt football community can be left "reeling" by any bad news these days; the program is traditionally the worst in the SEC, after all, reaching a bowl game less than once per decade since World War 2 and usually not coming close. All the same, Vanderbilt's considerable admission standards discourage many high school prospects of limited discipline or character, so scandals are few and far between at Vandy; it's just year in and year out, three wins a season or so. That breeds plenty of turnover in the coaching ranks, as one might imagine, so a coaching change in Nashville is hardly the headline material it is in, say, Tallahassee or Lincoln.

And yet, the resignation of first-year head coach Robbie Caldwell on Saturday was something of a surprise, even to Vandy fans; while the Commodores were just 2-9 (and screaming headlong into 2-10) on the season, Caldwell was still a first-year head coach, and um, Vanderbilt isn't exactly a "win very very immediately or go home" type of program. So Caldwell's departure wasn't exactly a foregone conclusion, even if it's sort of par for the course at Vandy.

All the same, the fan base is scrambling to find a replacement that'll hold up Vanderbilt's academic standards without capitulating on discipline, and some Vandy alums already have such a candidate in mind: Randy Shannon.

Miami 's recently ousted head coach caught the attention of some Vanderbilt alums, and here was their pitch to other alumni in an email being circulated (and posted to a premium Canes website ):

Dear Vanderbilt Alumni, friends and fans:

With the recent resignation of Coach Robbie Caldwell, the Vanderbilt football team needs a head coach who has had success both on and off the field.  A group of us strongly believe that Randy Shannon should be the next head football coach at Vanderbilt.  Our goal is to get several hundred names affixed to the email below and send it as our recommendation to Vice Chancellor David Williams .

As quoted by the SunSentinnel.com, "Randy Shannon was hired as the head football coach at the University of Miami on Dec. 8, 2006. He replaced Larry Coker, who was fired after a 7-6 season. Shannon, who played at Miami from 1984-88, has long been affiliated with the program. Born Feb. 24, 1966, Shannon was a four-year letter winner when he played linebacker for the Hurricanes. He won a national title in 1987. He was selected in the 11th round by the Dallas Cowboys in 1989. He became the first rookie to start at outside linebacker for the Cowboys since 1966. He played just two seasons before going into coaching. He became a graduate assistant at Miami in 1991, winning a national title that season. He was then promoted to defensive line and linebackers coach before taking a job with the Miami Dolphins as an assistant coach in 1998. Shannon returned to the Miami Hurricanes as the defensive coordinator in 2001. He held that job for six years, building one of college football's top defenses. In his first season, he led a defense that was ranked in the top 10 nationally in three categories.

According to the Miami Official Athletic Site -- "All of Shannon's teams have continued to uphold to UM's academic success off the field. His UM football teams have achieved NCAA Academic Progress Rates (APR) of 978, 977, 969 and 966, which have all ranked in the top 10 nationally. The 978 APR in the 2010 APR report was tied for the sixth highest rate in the country. The 977 APR in the 2009 report was the 7th-highest rate in the country out of 119 Bowl-Subdivision football programs. Those rates also were the second highest in the Atlantic Coast Conference and highest among all schools in Florida."

We believe that Coach Shannon is a proven winner and would be the right coach at the right time for Vanderbilt.  He is a winner on the field and academically in the classroom.  If you agree that Vanderbilt should strongly consider Randy Shannon as its next football head coach, please affix your name to the email below.  Please feel free to send to other alumni, friends, or fans who you believe share the same sentiments.  Please have them affix their names to this email.  We ask that you copy us on any outgoing emails so that we know who is being added.

There's no telling how much regard Vanderbilt has or will have for this petition, of course; Shannon's track record is something that those in charge of finding Vandy's next coach will (or at least should) already be aware of. Still, it's interesting to see that while Shannon didn't succeed in Miami's eyes as a coach, college football fans are still noticing what he and his team accomplished off the field and recognizing him for it. Perhaps Vanderbilt is a better environment for Shannon. Perhaps Minnesota is. Regardless, it seems evident that Shannon's time between jobs will be brief.

Posted on: November 28, 2010 12:02 pm
 

What I learned from the Big Ten (Nov 27)

Posted by Tom Fornelli

1. Wisconsin would run over its own mother if she got in the way.  Not because Wisconsin doesn't like its mother, but because it just doesn't know how to stop.  For the third time this season the Badgers put up at least 70 points, this time against Northwestern.  Though it does seem like Bret Bielema at least learned how to slow his boys down a little bit, as they had 70 at the end of the third quarter and decided not to go for 100.  Which is very considerate of the Badgers.  Of course, most importantly, the win means that Wisconsin should be going to the Rose Bowl.

2. At least I think it does.  Nobody will be sure until Sunday night which Big Ten team is going to the Rose Bowl.  Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State are all tied for first in the conference, and the BCS rankings will decide which team gets to go to Pasadena.  Well, Wisconsin has been the highest ranked of the three for weeks, and it's hard to think that either Ohio State or Michigan State will pass the Badgers after a game in which they just hung 70 points on the board again.  Then again, who knows?

3. Rich Rodriguez is in trouble. What? You think that a coach with a team that's gone 7-5 is safe?  How'd that work out for Randy Shannon this season? Exactly, and Shannon didn't have people calling for his head since the second his name was announced as the new head coach as Rodriguez has.  Getting to 7-5 and going to a bowl game for the first time since coming to Ann Arbor is nice, but beating Ohio State once in a while would be nicer.  Here's a nice little stat for you to consider.  During his three years at Michigan, Rodriguez has won three conference games in the Big House.  Three.  During Jim Tressel's career at Ohio State, he's won four games inside the Big House.  He only gets to play there once every two years.

4. Ohio State is the best program in the Big Ten.  I didn't say they were the best team this season, as I think that title belongs to Wisconsin, but the best program in the Big Ten is clearly Ohio State.  The Buckeyes clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title for the sixth consecutive season, which is hard to do in any conference, let alone the Big Ten.  The last school to win six straight Big Ten titles?  Ohio State of course, from 1972-77.

5. Iowa must be a huge Walking Dead fan.  It's the only explanation for the way they walked through the last month of the season like a bunch of brain dead zombies.  The day before Halloween the Hawkeyes pasted Michigan State 37-6 to improve to 4-1 in the Big Ten and remain in the Rose Bowl hunt.  They then went 1-3 in November, with that one win coming against Indiana, and that game saw Damarlo Belcher drop a game-winning touchdown in the closing seconds.  The Hawkeyes then followed that narrow escape with losses to Northwestern, Ohio State, and Minnesota.  What happened?
 
 
 
 
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