New University of Minnesota athletic director Mark Coyle came to the Gophers with the reputation of a problem-solver, a fixer.
Minnesota, it seems, is his land of opportunity.
After a chaotic Day 1 on the job Wednesday that started with putting a 30-year coach on leave as the university investigates a drug controversy, and then facing the media and the public at the start of this year’s Gopher Road Trip caravan tour, Coyle came across a more tangible type of trouble on Day 2.
The Gophers’ coach bus was cruising toward Spicer after a Thursday breakfast in Nisswa when, just outside of St. Cloud, they came up to a man and his car stranded in the middle of the intersection, Jake Ricker, the school’s associate athletic communications director said.
According to Ricker, it was senior associate Chris Werle who spotted the pickle and suggested the bus make a pit stop.
As the bus rolled up to a red light, out barreled Coyle, along with Quincy Lewis, a former Gopher basketball player who now is on staff, volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon, women’s tennis coach Chuck Merzbacher and a couple others.
“The guy was pretty terrified at first I think because there was this gang of guys in matching shirts that just jumped off the bus and started running at him,” Ricker said.
The hefty crew pushed him out of the intersection and safely to the shoulder – generating so much speed that the driver nearly ran the car into a ditch – and made sure he was good to go before climbing back on the bus and getting back on the road. So did the mystery man have any idea who his Good Samaritans were?
“I don’t think so,” Ricker said with a chuckle. “He had no idea. He must not have be a big sports guy because he didn’t want to stick around to chat.”
Here's what it looked like, courtesy of the @GopherSports Twitter feed: