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Continued: Lou Nanne Q&A: There's no reason U of M can't compete

  • Article by: DENNIS BRACKIN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 27, 2014 - 12:33 AM

Q: Where do you think Minnesota ranks in athletic facilities in the Big Ten?

A: [Big Ten Commissioner] Jim Delaney was just in town and met with my leadership council and he told us we’re last, which we knew. I’m not making it up. … I’m embarrassed by it, I’m embarrassed by the fact that we have so much going on in the state of Minnesota and we have great facilities for professional sports — which I love, I’m happy for that — but at the same time I see our students go and study in the hallways of Bierman, they don’t have enough room in the study hall, they’re eating on card tables and training tables, compared to the plush places these other schools have got. I see Northwestern raising $200 million for better facilities now. I see Texas A&M has [2012 Heisman Trophy winner] Johnny Manziel one year and they raise $550 million. I say, ‘What is this? We’re the state of Minnesota. This is our jewel.’

 

Q: So how did this happen? It didn’t happen overnight.

A: It was complacency. For too long, too often, we just took things as they are and no one really focused on the fact that we were falling behind. We just took things for granted and people don’t really realize when you’re successful in athletics, you raise more money for academics.

 

Q: There are going to be people that say Minnesota has competed well in many sports, especially the non-rev sports, and the key is the coach, not facilities. Why do we need it now?

A: First of all, non-rev sports are not going to drive the university. They’re not going to be able to exist if this continues. … We want to get to the position where we maintain what we’ve got in non-rev sports and continue to compete. … I’m a hockey guy but I’m not an idiot. I love hockey, but I know football is the most important athletic team at the University of Minnesota. The more successful they are, the more successful we are.

 

Q: What if you only get to $120 million? Then is it only just football, basketball, hockey facilities?

A: You know, if you have a goal and you don’t reach it, I don’t think you quit. You keep trying to get there. THERE’S AN OVERALL PLAN. One of the earliest things in this is the facilities to study and have training table, that’s for everybody.

 

Q: You and Teague must have some time frames in mind — where you’d like to be in a year, in two years.

A: No. I want to get it done tomorrow, can you help me? That’s it. … The faster we get something started and going, the more momentum we get, the more people we get on board, the more likely we are to succeed.

 

Q: You can break ground on some projects if, say, you get $50 million and then keep raising funds?

A: Right.

 

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