Chip Scoggins: Kill has an ally in former coach Mason

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 16, 2011 - 11:35 AM

The two are on friendly terms, and both of them will be inside TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

hide

Former Gophers coach Glen Mason says he harbors no ill will towards the university that fired him.

Photo: Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

A letter arrived at Jerry Kill's office a few days after he was hired as Gophers football coach. It was a congratulatory note from someone who used to sit in the same chair in that same office.

"I dropped him a note wishing him luck," Glen Mason said.

Yep, the same guy who was fired following the 2006 season, exactly one year to the day after he signed a five-year contract extension. The same guy who posted a 64-57 record in 10 seasons with the Gophers but looks like Bear Bryant when compared to his successor, Tim Brewster.

Kill didn't know Mason personally, but he called him after getting the note and asked if they could meet. That led to a second, longer meeting at which Kill picked Mason's brain about a number of different things related to coaching the Gophers.

"I'm not too proud to ask for help," Kill said recently.

Kill reached out to other former Gophers coaches too, including Lou Holtz and even Brewster. He found an admirer and ally in Mason.

"We really had a nice visit and I liked the guy," Mason said.

Mason will make his first appearance at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday as an analyst for the Big Ten Network. He returned to the Gophers football complex for the first time this spring to visit Kill and watch one of his practices.

Mason, like Gophers fans everywhere, was stunned when he saw video of Kill suffering a seizure on the sideline last week but is relieved by the positive news of his recovery this week.

"It was awfully scary," Mason said, "but I think what [team doctor] Pat Smith said, it looks worse than it is."

Mason should feel some sense of pride as he walks into the stadium Saturday because he argued long and hard for it when he was in charge of the program. He had a standard answer anytime the stadium debate came up. "It's not a want, it's a need," he would say.

Mason, who remained in the Twin Cities after his firing, insists he harbors no ill will toward the university. He was disappointed with the decision and thought the school made a mistake, but he has moved on. Even so, I nearly fell out of my chair when he tweeted "Go Gophers!" a few weeks ago. (The fact he is on Twitter was shocking enough.)

"I live in this state, I pay taxes in this state," he said. "I was never bitter. Go back and check anything I said. I didn't agree with the decision, but they upheld their end of the bargain [with the buyout]."

Mason is just a fan now. He genuinely likes Kill, and vice versa.

"Coach Mason is a good football coach," Kill said. "He's had success here. I'll listen to anybody who I feel like can help us to maybe know about the history and what we need to do better."

Both coaches have reputations as program builders. They organize and run practices in similar fashion. They preach discipline and aren't afraid to speak their minds, even if it ruffles feathers. The only thing they sugarcoat is food.

Clearly it's easier to have an amiable relationship with the coach who replaced the coach who replaced you. But the respect feels authentic, to the point where I half-expect to see Mason standing on University Avenue holding a sign that reads, "In Kill We Trust!"

"You can tell with Jerry Kill that this is not his first rodeo," Mason said. "When you become a head coach for the first time, regardless of how long you've coached, it's your first rodeo."

Mason didn't mention anyone in particular, but it didn't take much effort to read between the lines. Brewster had never been a head coach or coordinator in college or the NFL when he replaced Mason, and we all know how that turned out.

Mason took over a downtrodden Gophers program in 1997 and made it respectable. He believes Kill is the right man for the current rebuilding job.

"I do because he's a coach," Mason said. "You're going to have to take kids and develop them into a team. Some people win because they just have superior talent. That's not going to happen here. Every once in a while you may get lucky and have a great recruiting class."

Chip Scoggins • ascoggins@startibune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 23 FINAL
Pittsburgh 30
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 98 FINAL
Cleveland 107
New Orleans 88 FINAL
Washington 84
Milwaukee 120 FINAL
New York 107
Philadelphia 88 FINAL
Brooklyn 99
Charlotte 114 FINAL
Atlanta 117
Sacramento 99 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Memphis 103 FINAL
Dallas 108
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Arkansas State 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close