Hartman: A Q&A with U of M President Kaler

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 19, 2013 - 11:48 AM

The University of Minnesota president comments on coaches, salaries and fundraising.

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler has been here for just under two years, so I thought it was a good idea to get his reaction to all the developments in the athletic department since his hiring.

The interview was conducted after basketball coach Tubby Smith was fired, but Kaler wouldn’t comment about the reasons for a change.

Asked about the hiring of Richard Pitino to replace Smith, Kaler said: “I think a successful search is one in which you get the right person in the right job with the right skills at the right time and we have done that. The university, our student-athletes, and Gophers fans everywhere scored big in the hiring of Coach Pitino. He will bring inspiration, energy and passion to our program, and he will develop our student-athletes on this Williams [Arena] court and in the classroom.”

Pitino and football coach Jerry Kill are being paid $1.2 million a year — a lot more than Kaler, who earns a base salary of $610,000. Kaler started the interview by saying he knows that coaching salaries might be getting out of control, but for now it’s what colleges need to pay to compete.

 

Q: What’s your reaction to all these schools hiring coaches and paying buyouts

A: I think the salary escalation for the big revenue [sport] coaches really has gotten to a pretty serious level. I think the saying is, I guess, that the market will bear these salaries, but I don’t know how much longer the revenue side will hold up. It’s a tough market to be in. You want to get high-quality coaches, and you see the salaries around the country that are getting paid and it’s a tough business to be in. I don’t know how much longer it’s going to be sustainable.

Q: How can it be corrected?

A: Well, unfortunately, it is a free market. As long as you have one buyer of that coach’s services who’s willing to pay, then that drives the prices of those services up for everybody else.

Q: How can Minnesota compete? Ohio State has a $120 million budget, Iowa has about $100 [million], Wisconsin has about $100 [million]. All three of those schools sell out football, which gets big revenue. That puts you in a tough position.

A: We are in a challenging position because we’re in the Big Ten. I have always said that if we’re in the Big Ten, then we need to play as if we belong in the Big Ten. That’s my goal. We need to have coaches in place that can get us there. I think in Jerry, we do. I think in our hockey, we do. We need leadership at all of our programs that will let us be competitive. It’s not all about the dollars and cents. It’s about the leadership that the coaches bring, their ability to recruit, how they can advance the skill levels of their players. We do have the resources necessary to be competitive in these sports. I want us to be competitive in these sports.

Q: How about the facilities? Your facilities compared to say Nebraska or schools that have all of these new basketball practice facilities. It’s tough to compete in recruiting.

A: There is an arms race in the facilities side, too. One of the tasks that I gave Norwood [Teague, the Gophers athletic director] was to put together a facilities master plan and that’s underway. That will help us set priorities around what we need and then we’ll reach out to philanthropists who believe in Gopher athletics and want us to be better and have those kinds of facilities. We’ll raise the money to work our way down those facilities lists.

Q: Now you need $450,000 for lights at the baseball stadium, which they haven’t been able to raise.

A: I didn’t know that.

Q: That’s what they need and haven’t been able to raise that, although Kill just raised half-million to upgrade the Bierman locker room. He did a fantastic job doing that.

A: I’m getting a better report about my development success in athletics than I get from some other sources. Those are good things. I think people want to invest in our programs. It’s always a challenge to match up the donor with the project that they feel passionate about. It’s a process and a period of time. It hasn’t, I think, been easy to raise the money for baseball that we wanted to have. I think they worked on that for a long time, and we’ll keep working it.

Q: The only time [the Gophers] won basketball championships was with coaches who cheated. … Now can you win?

  • related content

  • MINNESOTA TOPICS: Eric Kaler

    Find the latest news and information about Eric Kaler.

  • University of Minnesota president Eric Kaler addressed members of the...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland - LP: D. Otero 8 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 9
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 4 FINAL
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Is Paul Molitor the best choice to be the next Twins manager?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close