Reusse: Legacy of a botched hiring

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 3, 2012 - 7:14 AM

Joel Maturi's selection of Tim Brewster further crushed the football program, while Wisconsin thrived.

Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi introduced new football coach Tim Brewster, left, in January of 2007. A 15-30 record followed.

Photo: Ann Heisenfelt, ASSOCIATED PRESS

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

There was a celebration at TCF Bank Stadium on Wednesday, with Gophers fans responding excitedly as Jerry Kill revealed a recruiting football class rated No. 8 in the 12-team Big Ten by ESPN, and No. 12 by and

The fans' enthusiasm was similar to four years earlier, when Tim Brewster unveiled a second recruiting class that ranked much higher than Kill's second group by analysts that work full time in assessing such things.

If you had asked the Gophers hard-cores on that February day in 2008, they would've been in agreement that athletic director Joel Maturi had belted a home run in bringing in Brewster, an aggressive salesman and recruiter, to replace Glen Mason a year earlier.

On Thursday, the day after Kill conducted his pep fest, there was another gathering at the football stadium: A news conference where university President Eric Kaler announced Maturi's contract as AD would be allowed to expire June 30.

Maturi bordered on tearful in his remarks. They could have been tears of joy, since Kaler made up a job for Maturi that allows him to collect his salary of $351,900 for an additional year.

The football crowd was celebratory over the news of Maturi's pending departure. Asked the source of their Maturi acrimony, many fans would have cited the AD's hiring of Brewster ... yeah, the same decision they were applauding on signing day four years earlier.

The difference between misguided fans and a misguided AD, of course, is fans are allowed to be naïve, while Maturi had to have the acumen to see Brewster for the shallow blowhard that he was, and if not, to watch his football program pay the consequences.

The Brewster hiring overshadows several other Maturi gaffes, the greatest of which was signing Mason to a five-year contract on Dec. 31, 2005, and agreeing with then-President Bob Bruininks to fire him exactly one year later.

That was a beautiful move, all right, but there is another complaint toward Maturi that has become a cliché of little substance:

Maturi has been devoted to non-revenue sports to a degree that has been detrimental to football and men's basketball.

You will hear the believers in this theory cite quotes from Maturi, such as that he cares as much about a Gophers tennis player as the star football player, or his frequent mentions of the Gophers' lofty ranking in the all-sports Directors' Cup standings.

You're not that obtuse, are you people?

In the politically correct world of public education, would you expect to find an AD willing to say he doesn't care equally about a woman playing No. 6 singles in tennis as he does MarQueis Gray?

As for the Directors' Cup standings, when confronted with lousy football, men's basketball and men's hockey teams as recently as 2011, Maturi had two choices for comment:

"You're right, Gophers athletics stink" or "We remain proud of the ranking for our overall program."

I'm guessing Maturi's not the only bureaucrat in college athletics who would reach for a positive spin, rather than admit to ineptitude.

The people wed to the idea that Minnesota should gouge the overall athletic program like to point to Wisconsin's decision to drop baseball two decades ago. Somehow, they relate the money saved on operating a baseball team to the Badgers' ability to build a consistently strong football program.

In actuality, the building of the Badgers can be traced to one source: the ability to identify and hire the right coach in Barry Alvarez.

In contrast, the Gophers have done that once in three decades. That coach, Lou Holtz, left after two seasons, while Alvarez (now the AD) stayed in Madison to build a legacy.

Maturi frequently says he oversees 25 sports, but that counts cross-country, indoor track and outdoor track for men and women as six, rather than two. The fact is Minnesota funds one more sport than does Wisconsin.

The Badgers don't have baseball, but they do have men's rowing and men's soccer. When you cancel out sports at the two schools, the extra sport at Minnesota is men's gymnastics.

If you think dropping men's gymnastics will make it easier for Jerry Kill to compete equally with Wisconsin in football, go for it.

Just know that it's not a question of resources for Kill; it's a question of whether the Gophers finally have found an Alvarez for the long-term.

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500ESPN.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
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
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
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 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
UCF 6:00 PM
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
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
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
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
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
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
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
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(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
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
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
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
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
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
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
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters


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 pm30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 am
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
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




question of the day

Poll: How will the Gophers do against Michigan?

Weekly Question