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Continued: Sid Hartman: Mason says he's not going to apologize

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 1, 2007 - 7:36 AM

There is a reason why the Gophers have not won or shared a Big Ten title since 1967.

Coaches who have taken this job have been big winners other places and all of the sudden they lose their touch here because the administration never has supported the programs.

Murray Warmath, Cal Stoll, Joe Salem and Jim Wacker were fired after they won at their previous jobs and couldn't win here.

What people don't realize is how much Mason is respected by coaches all over the country. They believe he has done not just a good job, but a great one.

If I had a relative in the coaching business and he asked me about the Minnesota job, I would tell him to stay where they are and look for a better situation. There are lot of problems here that cause the losing. When close friends call, Mason will not hesitate to relate the information.

I have seen all of these coaches come and go, and while Mason and I had an up-and-down relationship, I don't think they will be able to hire a better coach. And with the debt owed to Mason and Monson, will the U have the money to attract a good coach?

Furthermore, they have just enjoyed on paper the best recruiting class in 10 years, and they are going to lose some of these prospects.

Mason will have a job in short order. Georgia hired him once before he backed out. Don't be surprised if he is considered for the Alabama job if the Dolphins' Nick Saban doesn't take it.

Solich available

If I was Maturi, I would put in a call to Lou Holtz, who did wonders at the box office here, and see if he has some interest in being kind of an interim coach for a couple of years. I think he would take the job. And he can coach as well as anybody.

But I believe the leading candidate for the job will be former Nebraska football coach Frank Solich. He was 58-19 in six seasons at Nebraska and was fired for no reason at all. He is 70-30 as a head coach, going 4-7 and 9-4 his two seasons at Ohio University. The Bobcats play in the GMAC Bowl on Sunday. He is available. Maturi, having been athletic director at Miami of Ohio, is sold on the caliber of football played in the Mid-American Conference.

Maturi is also close with Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst.

In fact if Mason had been replaced a year ago, the new coach here would have been the current Indiana coach Terry Hoeppner, who Maturi hired at Miami, Ohio.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Podcast twice a week at www.startribune.com/sidcast. He is at shartman@startribune.com

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