As most of you know by now, the search for a new athletic director at the U is over. But with a relatively unknown replacement stepping in for retiring Joel Maturi, there are still probably lots of questions, spurred by 

a)      the excitement of some and
b)      the gasps of others who cannot believe Norwood Teague is coming from a school that did not have football OR hockey programs.

So here’s the skinny on Teague, who will take over July 1 after serving as the AD at Virginia Commonwealth:

Job history: After getting his masters degree at Ohio University, Teague worked in the athletic departments at the University of Virginia from 1993 to ’98 and Arizona State from 1999-2001 before becoming the associate athletics director at North Carolina (his alma mater) from 2002-2005. Teague took his first job as the head AD at VCU, where he has stayed for the last six years.

Recent resume highlights: Most recently, Teague led the charge for a new $10 million practice facility at VCU, which was approved in February and has begun the funding process. In October of last year, the school completed a $4 million, privately-funded renovation of their basketball arena to include club seating and suites. Teague also leaves behind a footprint of impeccable hiring. Basketball coaches Anthony Grant and Shaka Smart both led VCU to NCAA tournament appearances, and Teague managed to retain Smart at the school after two years of success made him a commodity for a higher profile job.

Perceived weakness: Firstly, he’s something of a newbie AD. He’s relatively young (46). But the biggest perceived weakness is that Teague – who is charged with resurrecting a limping football program – is coming from a school that didn’t even have football (or hockey, either). Teague has countered with the fact that VCU is the only non-football school of the four athletic departments he’s been associated with, that he has dealt with both football and hockey extensively and that one of his motivations for coming to Minnesota was getting back to a football school. Still, some grumble about the lack of experience.

Perceived strength: Fundraising, fundraising, fundraising. I talked to a lot of people associated with Teague throughout his years at VCU for my story this past Sunday and the response was a lot of the same: Teague has been very successful at fundraising and mostly because he’s been very successful with people. He remembered people, invited them to breakfast, threw parties, had postgame receptions at his house and was generally just a really nice guy. The result? Money raised in the athletic department went from $1.6 million the year before Teague arrived to $5.3 last year, to an anticipated $13 million for this year. Meanwhile, Ram Athletic Fund members grew from 528 to 1,777 from his first year to last year.

Contract: Teague signed a contract for five years at $400,000 per year with a possibility of $100,000 in incentives.

Miscellaneous facts: Teague is single and hails from Raleigh (my home town, woop woop!)

First impression: I’ve met with Teague once and talked with him several times over the phone and email and so far, and I am impressed. Teague comes off like a genuinely friendly and sincere guy who seems to be able to get along with people of all ages. Whether he is the magic elixir for Minnesota, I don’t know. But I do believe he will be sincere in trying his best. 

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