Gophers fans flock to Minneapolis from all corners of the state to attend football, basketball, hockey and other games during the school year.
Over the next couple of months, Minnesota coaches and administrators will return the favor.
Athletic director Norwood Teague announced Thursday a program called “Gopher Road Trip: Chalk Talk.” In May and June, administrators and coaches will canvas the state and make stops at events that are predominantly free and open to the public.
“The idea is to reach out to our fan base and to get into outstate Minnesota, which we don’t do enough of,” Teague said. “I felt it was important. The more we see our fans and the more we interact with our fans, the better. I think it’s a good idea and it will be a lot of fun.”
The tour dates and stops are: May 16, Redwood Falls and Jackson; May 17, New Ulm and Mankato; June 3, Austin and Rochester; June 4, Red Wing and Owatonna; June 17, Willmar and Alexandria; June 18, St. Cloud and Moorhead; June 19, Duluth and Hibbing; and June 20, Walker and Coleraine. Find times and locations at gophersports.com.
Teague is scheduled to be at all 16 stops, while multiple Gophers coaches — including football coach Jerry Kill and men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino — will make several appearances.
“It’s always tough because coaches’ schedules are so packed as it is,” Teague said. “But you just have to make time for it because it’s so important.”
The Gophers have attempted smaller-scale tours in previous years, but nothing that approaches this level, a school official said. Teague said the schedule won’t be the same every year, but that he hopes this becomes an annual event. It’s an outreach mission, but Teague acknowledges, it’s more than just that.
“Anytime you do something like this, there’s always a fundraising undertone,” said Teague, hired at Minnesota almost a year ago with a reputation as a fundraising specialist. “You hope with undertaking something like this, you’re cultivating new people and that good things will happen.”
Two more hires
Teague announced two hires on Thursday: Michael Halloran is the assistant AD for development and Corrie Sears is the assistant AD for marketing.
Halloran returns to the U athletic department after serving in a similar role from 2000 to 2007. He will focus on major-gift fundraising and capital campaign development.
Sears worked under Teague at Virginia Commonwealth the past two years in the same position that she will have at Minnesota.