Jim Souhan: If we want a Big Ten AD, let's search, woo and pay

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 13, 2012 - 7:37 AM

There's no need to bring in anyone with local connections.


Joel Maturi

Photo: file, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

With Joel Maturi leaving the position of athletic director, Gophers fans are casting a butterfly net for his replacement.

Some want a former Gophers player to take the job. Some want a former Gophers coach, or at least a current or former Twin Cities resident. Some are willing to travel to the far reaches of the western suburbs in search of the perfect candidate.

For many fans and alumni, the process of finding someone to run a potentially lucrative Big Ten athletic department that must compete with Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Nebraska for prizes worth millions, a job that combines aggressive fundraising and visionary leadership, is a bit like the process by which you choose your seat at the Thanksgiving table.

Gophers fans seek familiarity. I've found the perfect candidate for them.

You know him. He's experienced. He wears maroon everywhere he goes. He's dedicated and hard-working. He cares deeply about the university. He's from Minnesota, and he would never leave us for another school.

Sound perfect?

His name is Joel Maturi.

If local roots are what you crave, Maturi should keep the job. If you want Minnesota to start acting like an ambitious Big Ten athletic department, you should ask university President Eric Kaler to cast a wide net, one that could snag Moby Dick and Shamu while the shrimp and mollusks slip through the seine.

This is no time to think small, or local. This is no time for provincialism, and yet the names you hear in connection with the athletic director job all seem to have connections to Minnesota, if not actual homes here.

Glen Mason? Well, you wouldn't have to pay moving expenses.

Tony Dungy? Just how deluded do you have to be to think that someone who hasn't worked here in 17 years, who loves living in Tampa, who attained his greatest professional achievement in Indianapolis, and who gets paid vast sums of money to work a few dozen days a year by NBC is dying to move back to the tundra to work 4,000 hours a year while taking a pay cut?

Jeff Diamond? The former Vikings executive is smart and competent, but so are a hundred other qualified candidates.

These words have never before appeared in modern America, but the key to success is imitating the Timberwolves.

When the Wolves needed a coach who could transform their franchise last year, they identified the best available candidate, then aggressively pursued and wooed him, and paid him big money. It was Wolves President David Kahn's finest hour.

Rick Adelman has no connection to Minnesota. His hiring was not the result of sentiment. Adelman was hired because he was the best candidate, and he's made the Wolves the most interesting and entertaining team in town.

If Kaler will enter this process with no preconceived notions and expand the candidate list beyond those who have moth-eaten Gophers letter jackets stuffed in their closets, he has a chance to transform the athletic department in the same way Adelman transformed the Wolves.

The right candidate might be running a midmajor in Indiana. He might be an assistant AD in the Southeastern Conference. He might be a CEO who knows how to run a business and can hire an assistant AD to help him navigate the sports world. Somewhere out there is a great candidate who just might daydream about a close personal relationship with Goldy Gopher.

Sentimentality is blinding. Big Ten history proves that.

Ohio State coach Woody Hayes and Michigan coach Bo Schembechler created the greatest rivalry in conference history.

Hayes played football at Denison University in Ohio and coached at Denison and Miami (Ohio) University. He was never affiliated with Ohio State until he was hired to become the Buckeyes' head football coach.

Schembechler would make Michigan football great, would create the now-popular notion that a "Michigan Man'' must run the program.

Schembechler, the seminal Michigan Man, played at Miami and coached under Hayes at Ohio State. Michigan Man was an Ohio guy, until he wasn't.

So think big, Minnesota. You might even want to consider paying moving expenses.

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon and weekdays at 2 p.m. on 1500-AM. His Twitter name is Souhanstrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Arrieta 2 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: D. Axelrod 7
NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 3
Colorado - LP: J. Lyles 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 4
Tampa Bay - LP: K. Yates 4 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 5
Atlanta - WP: M. Minor 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 1
Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Danks 2
Minnesota - WP: A. Swarzak 11 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: B. Chen 5
Texas - LP: R. Mendez 2 FINAL
Houston - WP: C. McHugh 4
Oakland - LP: R. Cook 3 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: F. Salas 4
Atlanta 24 FINAL
Jacksonville 14
Detroit 23 FINAL
Buffalo 0
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 35
Kansas City 14 FINAL
Green Bay 34
Philadelphia 37
St. Louis 13 FINAL
Miami 14
Carolina 10 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
New England 13 FINAL
NY Giants 16
Washington 24 FINAL
Tampa Bay 10
Baltimore 22 FINAL
New Orleans 13
Chicago 13 FINAL
Cleveland 33
Denver 27 FINAL
Dallas 3
Minnesota 19 FINAL
Tennessee 3
San Francisco 40 FINAL
Houston 13
Arizona 9 FINAL
San Diego 12
Seattle 31 FINAL
Oakland 41
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 6:00 PM
(6) Jacksonville St 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8:00 PM
Colorado State 8:00 PM
UNLV 9:30 PM
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ottawa 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
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 pm
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pm
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. TBA
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
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: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question