Previous Page 2 of 3 Next

Continued: U got no big name, nor an appealing consolation prize

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 5, 2010 - 11:48 PM

There are several questions to be asked of the M&M boys, Joel Maturi and Dave Mona, but here's the one that most intrigues a beat-up old sportswriter:

If you were going to the Mid-American Conference to find a new football coach for the Gophers, why didn't you hire the guy who won the MAC title game on Friday night, rather than the loser?

Miami (Ohio) was a 17 1/2-point underdog to Northern Illinois in Ford Field. Final: Miami 26, NIU 21.

And what did our traveling tandem do after that result came in? They hired Jerry Kill, 49, the coach who lost as a large favorite, rather than Mike Haywood, 46, a coach responsible for a rapid turnaround of downtrodden Miami.

There have been rumors flying for a month as the M&M boys made their surreptitious journeys about the continent. For much of Saturday, the speculation centered on UConn's Randy Edsall, a coach involved in a game at South Florida that would advance his Huskies -- no matter how unworthy -- to a BCS bowl game.

You could read grousing from Gophers fans that they were holding out for a coach with a greater résumé (particularly as a recruiter) than Edsall. And those same folks were overjoyed later Saturday when the rumor spread that Maturi and friend might be ready to pull off a gigantic coup and hire Boise State's Chris Petersen.

"Dang," Gopher Nation exclaimed. "That guy from Boise comes here, we'll paint the turf at TCF Bank Stadium blue for him."

That rumor started to die by Sunday, and the tune had changed on Edsall: "We'll take you, Randy. We'd love to have you."

As it turned out, Petersen and Edsall were pipe dreams, as were Dan Mullen, Al Golden, Brady Hoke, Troy Calhoun, Ken Niumatalolo, Marc Trestman and even Larry Fedora.

The M&M boys also couldn't get coaches who might want back into the profession under the right circumstances (Phil Fulmer and Mike Bellotti), or a coach put on the street last month (Randy Shannon), or the coach who won the MAC title (Haywood).

About the time Adrian Peterson was running for his first touchdown Sunday under the Teflon sky, it was becoming clear that the Gophers' choice came down to Kill or Paul Chryst, Wisconsin's offensive coordinator.

There's reason to suspect that Maturi not only failed to make a hire that satisfied fans, but that it might have been a choice that failed to satisfy him.

Maturi limited himself at the start of the search by stating that he wanted a man with head coaching experience in Division I-A. That eliminated Chryst. And if The Director could have talked his way out of that one, he still feared the rips that he would receive for hiring the son of a longtime friend.

Too bad the Gophers have such a hypersensitive athletic director, since if Kill and Chryst were the final options, Maturi made the wrong choice.

After the initial reaction, Chryst would have been the easier sell, as the man in charge of a Wisconsin offense that has turned power running into a tremendous trademark.

What we will hear about Kill is that he has won everywhere: Saginaw Valley State, and then Emporia State, and then Southern Illinois in Division I-AA, and for three seasons at Northern Illinois in the mighty MAC.

Maturi's pitch Monday will be that Kill made a rapid turnaround at SIU, and then took a Northern Illinois program supposedly on the downslide and put up a 23-16 record (18-6 in the MAC) in three seasons.

Here's what dazzles about The Director's latest hire:

Maturi came to Minnesota in July 2002 and inherited Glen Mason as his football coach.

Mason had done his MAC turnaround at Kent State in 1986-87. The fact he was able to go 12-10 at a place with such a woeful tradition allowed him to get the Kansas job in 1988.

The Jayhawks were awful. It took three seasons, and then Mason had four winning seasons from 1991 through 1995, including 10-2 in that '95 season. He was hired by Georgia -- Georgia! -- and then reneged for personal reasons.

The Kansas fans turned on him, he spent one more unhappy season there, and then was hired by the Gophers in 1996. Mason went 25-13 in Maturi's first three years (2002-04) on the scene, with bowl victories over Arkansas, Oregon and Alabama.

Two years later, Maturi fired Mason, hired a world-class blowhard, and now this:

Less than four years after booting Mason, a builder of programs at the BCS level, and with a new on-campus stadium as an item to attract candidates, Maturi brings in a coach from the MAC ... fresh off the momentum of losing as a 17 1/2-point favorite.

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon to 4 weekdays on 1500ESPN. • preusse@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tampa 6 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
LA Clippers 96 FINAL
Chicago 86
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Houston 105
Golden State 106 FINAL
Boston 101
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
Indiana 94
Portland 110 FINAL
Sacramento 99
Charlotte 98 FINAL
Orlando 83
Oklahoma City 108 FINAL
LA Lakers 101
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Denver 92
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Winnipeg 5
Tampa Bay 3 FINAL
Florida 4
Columbus 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Toronto 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Anaheim 3 FINAL
Dallas 1
St. Louis 2 2nd Prd 9:45
Vancouver 3
SMU 73 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Quinnipiac 65 FINAL
Manhattan 69
Fairfield 56 FINAL
Niagara 57
Marist 49 FINAL
Rider 59
Iona 60 FINAL
Saint Peters 68
Oregon State 56 FINAL
California 73
South Florida 55 FINAL
Houston 72
Marquette 66 FINAL
Providence 77
Michigan State 61 FINAL
Wisconsin 68
Siena 57 FINAL
Monmouth 63
Pittsburgh 66 FINAL
Wake Forest 69
Oregon 73 FINAL
Stanford 70
Purdue 61 FINAL
Ohio State 65
Arizona State 81 2nd Half 0:09
Colorado 85
Washington St 45 2nd Half 11:41
UCLA 46
Georgetown 66 FINAL
Providence 81
Binghamton 50 FINAL
UMBC 73
Elon 65 FINAL
Hofstra 58
Virginia Tech 47 FINAL
Boston College 49
(8) Louisville 59 FINAL
Virginia 75
Texas 69 FINAL
West Virginia 76
Creighton 53 FINAL
Villanova 61
Seton Hall 85 FINAL
Butler 76
UNC-Wilmington 76 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 65
(5) Maryland 69 FINAL
(25) Northwestern 48
Saint Josephs 67 FINAL
La Salle 55
Louisiana Tech 53 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 60
Rhode Island 70 FINAL
Massachusetts 78
Richmond 55 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 49
Davidson 46 FINAL
Fordham 54
St Bonaventure 43 FINAL
Duquesne 51
George Mason 45 FINAL
(22) George Washington 80
Indiana 60 FINAL
(20) Rutgers 71
(12) Texas A&M 63 FINAL
LSU 80
Ole Miss 47 FINAL
(11) Miss State 55
Clemson 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 61
Maine 47 FINAL
New Hampshire 61
Vermont 48 FINAL
Albany 76
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Monmouth 48
Saint Peters 47 FINAL
Siena 64
(4) Notre Dame 67 FINAL
NC State 60
Wisconsin 62 FINAL
Penn State 56
Stony Brook 49 FINAL
Hartford 56
Northeastern 47 FINAL
William & Mary 62
St Johns 61 FINAL
Xavier 74
James Madison 74 FINAL
Delaware 71
Towson 45 FINAL
Drexel 50
Illinois State 50 FINAL
Bradley 60
Southern Ill 74 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 70
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Wichita State 66
Minnesota 76 FINAL
(17) Iowa 92
(15) North Carolina 80 FINAL
(16) Duke 81
Alabama 73 FINAL
Auburn 80
(9) Florida State 69 FINAL
Miami-Florida 55
Arkansas 41 FINAL
Missouri 57
Georgia 52 FINAL
Florida 45
Dayton 95 FINAL
Saint Louis 68
Drake 57 FINAL
Missouri State 86
Colorado 46 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 59
(19) Stanford 55 FINAL
Oregon 62
Marquette 82 FINAL
DePaul 99
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 60
Vanderbilt 49 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 79
(2) South Carolina 56 FINAL
(13) Kentucky 67
Utah 41 FINAL
Arizona 64
Ohio State 78 FINAL
Nebraska 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is the best center on a Twin Cities sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close