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Any time a major coach in our market sits down with a national outlet, we find it is a good idea to read it.
And in this case, an SI.com interview with Gophers men's basketball coach Richard Pitino -- though not overly long or earth-shattering -- certainly merits a few minutes of your time. A sampling:
SI: What did you learn about Minnesota – the place, the job – that you apply to Year 2?
RP: They always say Minnesota, when they’re hiring in the business world, is one of the toughest places to get people to come to. But it becomes one of the toughest places to get people to leave. That’s kind of what I’m learning. Not that it was tough to come here, but after spending a year here, I understand now why people don’t want to leave, why we have so many players who are not even from here stay here. They treat people right. They treat student-athletes the right way after they’re done, if they act appropriately throughout college. There are so many great opportunities outside of basketball when you get your degree from Minnesota. I probably didn’t know that when I moved here. Certainly we’ve got great fan support, we’re the only Division I basketball program in the entire state, so we’ve got kind of a united front. That’s fun to be a part of.
Feel free to give the entire thing a read here.
The Hunt Down
Name: Steve Loney
Claim to Fame, Minnesota: the offensive coordinator for your Minnesota Vikings in 2005. Loney coached the offensive line from 2002-2004, but when Scott Linehan bolted for the Dolphins, Loney was given the OC position. Replacing Loney as line coach was ... nobody! He held both jobs in 2005, because Red McCombs did not become crazy rich by spending money on things like coaches or Winter Park amenities. That said, they finished 19th in overall offense that year, so it could’ve been worse. (This was also the season of the Love Boat, ticket scalping, the Whizzinator, Daunte Culpepper’s career effectively ending. and Mike Tice getting fired about three minutes after winning the season finale over Chicago. Loney’s double duty hardly ranks as the weirdest thing that happened.)
Claim to Fame, Everywhere Else: Gopher diehards might remember that Loney also held dual O-line/OC role for the U of M in 1998 and 1999. After leaving the Vikings, Loney caught on with Arizona as an o-line coach in 2006 before becoming a one-year stint as Drake’s head coach in 2007. He immediately went back to the NFL in the familiar role of offensive line guru for the Rams and then the Buccaneers.
Where He Is Now: Appears to have been caught up in the wash of Tampa Bay firing Greg Schiano and Mark Dominik.
Is He on Twitter: no.
Has He Ever Been in a Twitter Feud with Patrick Reusse: no.
Glorious Randomness: not many of the Hunt Down’s subjects have written a dang book, but Steve Loney has written a dang book. 101 Offensive Line Drills, which is *not* part of the Hunger Games canon, can be bought on Amazon for $9.90 (softcover). He has taught or will teach a class at Drake University!
But Gophers AD Norwood Teague is not a fan, apparently -- at least that's what he told the Iowa media at the Big Ten administrators' meetings in Chicago this week.
Per Hawkcentral, the slogan appeared in an official game program, and Teague put the kibosh on it. He just doesn't care for it, in general:
In fact, Teague went as far as to talk with Iowa athletic director Gary Barta about the matter.
“I don’t like the cheer at all,” Teague said. “I hope we can try to steer away from it.
We reached out to Gophers athletics communication to see if Teague wanted to expand on the subject, but we were told he's said all there is to say.
So for now, we're going with this: Who hates who hates Iowa? Norwood Teague hates who hates Iowa.
The process of updating TCF Bank Stadium for use by the Vikings is well underway, as we watched construction crews rip out the artificial surface field on Tuesday as they prepare to put heating elements in for the pro season.
The rip-out is expected to be finished by the end of the week, but by this morning there was already substantial progress with about half the turf gone. The new heated field is expected to be ready to go by June. The original field didn't have the heating elements because the regular-season in college is over in November and postseason games are played elsewhere, of course. In the NFL, the Vikings have regular-season games in December and potentially two home playoff games in January. Anyone who watched Brett Favre get smashed to the rock-hard turf in December of 2010 at TCF Bank Stadium after the Metrodome roof collapse knows the danger of an unheated turf field.
In any event, the field looked far different Tuesday than it did Saturday for the Gophers' spring game. Have a look-see:
Gophers men's basketball coach Richard Pitino had a hard time during his first season fielding the question of whether his team was living up to his expectations. Every time the question popped up, he didn't exactly avoid it, but it seemed as though he was so focused on the process that it was simply difficult to assess.
Now that the season is over, however, Pitino seems to have reflected on the notion of expectations in a couple of different ways -- addressing, in an end-of-year blog post, this past season and the one coming up.
Writes Pitino about expectations in his first season: "Did this year meet expectations? That is the most commonly asked question that I have received since our NIT championship. The answer would be 100 percent yes. As a coach your hope is that your guys compete and get better every day. I can honestly say 99 percent of our practices and individual instruction sessions were a success. The guys brought it every day and that's all you can ask."
And for next year? "Next year will be met with much higher expectations certainly than this year. Our guys will have to be prepared to be the hunted instead of the hunter. That won't be easy. We will need the Barn to be the toughest place to play in the country! As crazy as it sounds next year's schedule will be more difficult than this year's top ten strength of schedule. We will have to be ready to compete every night!"
Pitino also doles out some team awards in the post, so please have a look-see at the entire thing.
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