Hartman: Dungy confident Frazier will turn around Vikings

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 5, 2012 - 6:25 AM

The former coach at Tampa Bay and Indianapolis believes strongly in Frazier and new coordinator Alan Williams.

Tony Dungy, in town for several public appearances, is certain Leslie Frazier will be a winning coach for the Vikings. Dungy compared his first year as head coach at Tampa Bay, when the Bucs finished 6-10 in 1996, with Frazier's 3-13 record last season.

"We didn't get things done the way we wanted to [in the first year], but it went from there," Dungy said. "We put together some great years. My first year in Indianapolis [in 2002], we lost our playoff game 41-0 [to the New York Jets] and people weren't too optimistic. But you stick with what you believe in. That's what he's going to do, and I think the Vikings are in for some good years."

Frazier coached under Dungy at Indianapolis in 2005-06, and the former coach said Frazier has his convictions and knows what he is doing. Dungy said Frazier can be tough when he has to be, contrary to what some people believe.

"I think he's going to be able to rally people around him. I believe in him as a person," Dungy said. "People used to say that about me, they've said it about [Bears head coach] Lovie Smith. There's different ways to be tough, and being tough is being disciplined and making sure you're playing and players are doing things the right way. He does that. I've known him a long time in Philadelphia and Cincinnati and Indianapolis, and he's going to be fine."

Dungy also said he has complete confidence in new Vikings defensive coordinator Alan Williams, who worked for Dungy at Tampa Bay and Indianapolis.

"Alan has worked a long time getting ready for this," Dungy said. "He's a very smart guy. He's a different personality than [former Vikings defensive coordinator and current Steelers head coach] Mike Tomlin, but he has the same kind of dedication to details and comes from the same cloth.

"I think Alan is going to be just fine, also. He believes in what he's doing and he's a good communicator and he can get that across to the players. And his players do believe in him. He'll do a great job."

Dungy has gotten to know Gophers football coach Jerry Kill since his hiring and has been in contact with him on a regular basis.

"I really got to spend some time with Coach Kill," Dungy said. "I talked to him on the phone several times. But really being with him and seeing what he believes in, I'm impressed."

The former Gophers quarterback has no interest in the university's athletic director vacancy, but he is confident the school will come up with the right person.

"I think it's just leading with the vision of what they want the university to be, and the entire program," Dungy said. "I know they're going to come up with a good person -- hopefully an AD with the same type of drive [as Kill] and the same type of vision."

Dungy still has his heart in the right place when it comes to helping out in Minnesota. His schedule while here was a fundraiser at a private home Monday night, a Tuesday morning breakfast with Williams, lunch at a fundraiser for Bethel University and speaking to the Gophers football and wrestling teams in the afternoon before he took off for home in Tampa.

I met him the first day he stepped on the university campus in 1973 and believe me, they don't make them any better than this great person.

Will draw 3 million

Twins President Dave St. Peter reports that the Twins, as of Wednesday, have sold 2.475 million tickets for the 2012 season and that club management continues to believe that drawing 3 million fans for a third consecutive year is a real possibility.

The Twins will enter the 2012 season with a season ticket base of 23,000 full-season equivalents, which ranks in the top five in the majors.

For the 11th consecutive year, the Twins surpassed the 100,000 mark in spring training attendance in Fort Myers, Fla.

U basketball rates high

Ryan Brewer, an assistant professor of finance at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, calculated the intrinsic value of the 100 top Division I basketball programs. He examined each program's revenues and expenses and made cash-flow adjustments, risk assessments and growth projections for every school.

The study, which appeared in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal, had Louisville ranked first at $211.5 million. Minnesota was 10th at $87 million, third in the Big Ten behind Indiana (third in the nation at $130.8 million) and Ohio State (fourth at $120.3 million).

Jottings

• For weeks, Gophers baseball coach John Anderson has had a five-year contract offer on his desk, but he has refused to sign it because of a clause that allows the university to fire him for any reason whatsoever. Anderson wants those reasons to be specific, and at this point he's going to stay with his one-year contract, which he's had for 10 years, unless the clause is clarified. Anderson deserves better for his years of loyal service. He took over the Gophers program in 1981.

• Gophers assistant basketball coach Ron Jirsa said he was never a candidate for the Northland (Wis.) College job as reported.

• Earl Santee of Populous, the lead designer for Target Field, also designed the Miami Marlins' new ballpark. Santee was named the Star Tribune Sports-person of the Year in 2010. And the retractable roof of Marlins Park was created by Minneapolis-based Uni-Systems. The local company also has designed roofs for Minute Maid Park, Cowboys Stadium, Lucas Oil Stadium and the University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals.

• The Big Ten Network will stream the Gophers spring football game live from TCF Bank Stadium at 11 a.m. on April 21 on the Big Ten Digital Network. The game will be rebroadcast on BTN on April 22 at 6 p.m.

• It's twin girls for Amanda Glasscock and Gophers football recruiting coordinator Billy Glasscock. The twins were born March 29.

• Former Gophers guard Devoe Joseph played 22 minutes in the Reese's Division I College All-Star Game on Friday in New Orleans. Joseph, who just finished his college basketball career at Oregon, had four points on 2-for-8 shooting, two rebounds and two assists.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

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