Reusse: Gophers hire and fire 'em, but keep trying to find the right guy

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 25, 2013 - 10:45 PM
hide

Gophers men's basketball coach Tubby Smith was fired Monday.

Photo: David J. Phillip, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Lou Holtz resigned as Minnesota’s football coach in late November 1985 to take the job at Notre Dame. Jim Dutcher resigned as Minnesota’s men’s basketball coach in late January 1986 when the administration decided to forfeit a game in the wake of rape allegations against three players who were later acquitted.

The four coaches that followed Holtz over the next quarter-century were John Gutekunst, Jim Wacker, Glen Mason and Tim Brewster. All were fired.

The three coaches that followed Dutcher were Clem Haskins, Dan Monson and Tubby Smith. All were fired.

This doesn’t include the interims: Jimmy Williams in 1986 and Jim Molinari in 2006-07 in basketball, and Jeff Horton in 2010 in football.

Haskins lasted 13 seasons and was successful by Minnesota standards, before being run off by accusations of academic mischief. Mason lasted 10 seasons and was above-average by Minnesota standards, before succumbing to an administration that wanted a salesman and recruiting ace in charge.

The others were fired for failing to win: Gutekunst, Wacker, Brewster (the alleged recruiting ace), Monson and now Smith.

What we have learned in the 27-plus years since Holtz and Dutcher left is that you didn’t come to Minnesota for one of these high-profile tasks and then either move to a better job or leave coaching at your volition.

You came to Minnesota, instead, to have your coaching career die on the vine.

The decisions to hire Gutekunst, Wacker and Brewster (especially him) didn’t make much sense from the start. That hasn’t been the case with the past three basketball coaches.

Haskins had a solid background when hired in 1986. Monson was the hot young coaching prospect after taking then-unheralded Gonzaga to the Elite Eight in 1999. And when Smith hired himself at Minnesota in 2007, fans here could not believe the good fortune.

“Tubby, Tubby, Tubby,’’ they chanted that afternoon at Williams Arena.

The fans had been similarly enthused at the public announcement of Brewster’s hiring three months earlier. Batting average for coaches hired in 2007: .000 (0-for-2).

What’s the alternative to this Hire ’em-to-Fire ’em style that has been adopted at Minnesota? Simple. You keep doing it until you get the right guy.

Wisconsin fired football coaches before it found Barry Alvarez, who begat the now-gone Bret Bielema to keep the program moving. Wisconsin fired basketball coaches before it found Dick Bennett, who begat Bo Ryan to send the program upward.

OK, we know all about the facilities that must be upgraded, but this will remain the truism: Minnesota will get to the first division of the Big Ten and stay there with some consistency when it hires the right coaches.

In football, the Gophers had that coach in Holtz, but that Music Man couldn’t wait to get out of River City, and they haven’t found Mr. Right since then.

In basketball, the sporting public had few complaints about Haskins’ sporadic success, until it was discovered Jan Gangelhoff’s essay on the menstrual cycle had been submitted by a few too many student athletes.

Monson should’ve worked. He didn’t. Tubby should’ve worked. He didn’t. So, you keep trying.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 23 3rd Qtr 11:40
Dallas 7
Seattle 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 7:00 PM
Nashville
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 55 2nd Half 13:40
Indiana State 30
Cal State Fullerton 9 1st Half 10:12
Wright State 19
Western Ky 2 1st Half 16:37
Saint Josephs 0
Michigan State 5:30 PM
Rider
UCLA 6:00 PM
North Carolina
Marquette 7:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Long Beach State 7:30 PM
Western Mich
Stephen F Austin 8:00 PM
Prairie View
UAB 8:30 PM
Florida
Rice 8:30 PM
Mercer
San Jose St 10:00 PM
Washington
Washington St 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Baylor 10:59 PM
Memphis
LSU 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 6:30 PM
Texas
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 37 1st Half 5:41
BYU-Hawaii 17
Charlotte 10 1st Half 10:06
Montana 16
Illinois 18 1st Half 7:59
(9) Kentucky 22
Central Michigan 7:00 PM
Richmond
Oklahoma 7:15 PM
South Florida
Princeton 7:30 PM
Wake Forest
(19) Oregon State 8:00 PM
Butler
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 amX28-24
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa 11 amX51-14
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State 11 amX31-24
Nov 22 - at Nebraska 11 amX28-24
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin 2:30 pm

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will the Gophers bring home The Axe?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close