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Key moments: the Maturi years

  • February 3, 2012 - 7:14 AM

July 2, 2002

Joel Maturi, a Chisholm native and formerly the athletic director at Denver and Miami (Ohio), is recommended by a search committee as the only finalist for the job leading a combined men's and women's athletic department at the U of M. Search committee chairwoman Mary Jo Kane says at the time: "He cares about all sports, not just the big-revenue sports. He thinks of athletics as a community and a family." Maturi is officially named AD a little more than a week later.

January 2003

Maturi announces the $2.7 million needed to retain the men's gymnastics and men's and women's golf programs has been raised as part of the Save Gopher Sports campaign. He says a month later that the battle to keep all sports programs at the U is "the greatest challenge I've ever faced as an administrator," but all programs still remain.

April 2003

The Gophers men's hockey team wins the NCAA title. It's the first of four NCAA team titles the Gophers will win under Maturi's watch. The Gophers also entered this season having won 42 Big Ten or WCHA championships during his tenure.

April 2006

The groundbreaking begins for a new boathouse on the Mississippi River. At a cost of nearly $5 million -- with roughly half the money coming from central administration -- it underscores Maturi's commitment to non-revenue sports.

Late 2006

A month after buying out men's basketball coach Dan Monson's contract, Maturi fires football coach Glen Mason. The New Year's Eve decision comes shortly after the team's collapse in the Insight Bowl. The Mason and Monson decisions mean the university is on the hook for $3.5 million in buyouts, which Maturi says will come with the help of money borrowed from central administration.

January 2007

Maturi hires football coach Tim Brewster, calling it "the most important decision I'll ever make at the University of Minnesota." It proves to be a flop when Brewster -- owed nearly $800,000 in buyout money -- is fired in the middle of the 2010 season.

March 2007

Maturi lands Tubby Smith to be the new Gophers men's basketball coach, giving the flagging program an instant shot of credibility. Smith's teams have reached the NCAA tournament in two of his four full seasons here.

September 2009

TCF Bank Stadium, an on-campus facility Maturi fought hard for, opens to rave reviews. Its construction is generally considered his greatest accomplishment as AD. "I will forever feel good to have been a part of this," he says. "I'll probably have a smile on my face every time we go into it."

May 2010: Would-be assistant men's basketball coach Jimmy Williams wins a $1 million award against the U of M over a claim that Williams was offered a spot on Smith's staff that was later nixed by Maturi. The U of M has appealed the ruling.

December 2010

Maturi makes his second football coach hire at Minnesota, landing Jerry Kill (right).

July 2011

Eric Kaler takes over as university president, perhaps signaling the beginning of the end for Maturi.

Feb. 2, 2012

Kaler and Maturi announce that Maturi is retiring as AD effective June 30 -- almost 10 years to the day after he was hired. "It makes a lot of sense to make a change now," Maturi says. "We have a new president, and we have an old athletics director."

MICHAEL RAND

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