The temptation to use history as a means of forecasting the future has become, in my estimation, an increasingly futile effort. So much changes so quickly these days; circumstances that seem the same might actually be quite different.
So don’t take the following list as an indication of how you should expect or how I think Tracy Claeys will fare as the permanent Gophers football coach now that he has been promoted. This is just the history — nothing more — of four prominent coaches in Minnesota’s past who received similar promotions:
JOHN GUTENKUNST, GOPHERS FOOTBALL: He took over as interim head coach in 1985 before the Gophers bowl game, after Lou Holtz bolted for Notre Dame. This is the most obvious parallel temptation with Claeys since it’s the same team — albeit 30 years later under different circumstances. Gutekunst had four decent seasons and two dismal seasons as Gophers coach. In the four decent seasons, the Gophers had a combined Big Ten record of 17-15; in the other two years, they were 1-13-2. Long story short: Gutekunst wasn’t great, but he was not bad. In modern college football, he would have had the Gophers in a pretty decent bowl game a few times.
TOM KELLY, TWINS: Took over for the fired Ray Miller late in the 1986 season as an interim and was granted the permanent job heading into 1987. The rest, as they say, is history: the Twins won the World Series in Kelly’s first full season as manager and won another in 1991. Plenty of lean years followed, though lack of talent was a far greater culprit than Kelly.
MIKE TICE, VIKINGS: Took over as interim coach for fired Vikings coach Dennis Green late in the disastrous 2001 season and promoted to full-time coach prior to 2002. Tice had an interesting four years as full-time head coach in Minnesota, with some highs (beating the Packers at Lambeau in the playoffs following the 2004 season), plenty of lows and very few dull moments. He was fired after the 2005 season and replaced by Brad Childress.
LESLIE FRAZIER, VIKINGS: Took over as interim coach when Childress was fired in the middle of a disastrous 2010 season and promoted full-time coach for the 2011 season. Frazier had an odd tenure, with a 10-win playoff season in 2012 sandwiched between two very bad seasons. He was replaced by Mike Zimmer after three full-time seasons.