Now that Norwood Teague is out as Gophers athletic director, a one-year contract extension for football coach Jerry Kill can be finalized once one hurdle is cleared — a raise for his support staff that can be worked out with University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler.
Kill’s contract negotiations have been going on since January, when he thought school officials had agreed to raises for the support staff, then backed out of making that possible.
Kill’s current contract, which was extended in February 2014, called for the head coach to make $1.5 million per season through a base salary of $600,000 and supplemental compensation of $900,000 for his media appearances, fundraising, community involvement and endorsement deals. Kill also received retirement contributions of $600,000 for 2014, $700,000 for 2015, $800,000 for 2016, $900,000 for 2017, and $1 million for 2018.
In looking at it that way, his 2016 contract is worth about $2.3 million with the retirement contribution added in, and his contract for 2018 would be worth around $2.5 million. But the new contract definitely will extend one year to 2019.
Paul Chryst, in his first year at Wisconsin, will make $2.5 million, or $100,000 more than Kill will get in 2015 as the eighth-highest-paid coach in the Big Ten. In my opinion, Kill is the most underpaid coach in the conference, and his value to the university is worth a lot more than what he is paid.
Kill has been one of the university’s biggest fundraisers, if not the biggest. Kill’s last selling job was in connection with the $500,000 donated recently by Rochester developer Gus Chafoulias, a great Gophers booster.
Meanwhile, the big issue in the Bierman Building is who will be the new athletic director. The university should not make the same mistake it made in hiring Teague, as well as Tim Brewster as football coach. Brew- ster was fired in the middle of his fourth year in 2010 after posting a 15-30 record.
The second guess is always the best, but most likely Teague wouldn’t have been hired had Joel Maturi been allowed to serve as athletic director for one more year. Maturi, along with former university vice president Kathy Brown, hired Brewster, but my sources inform me Brown was more instrumental in that hiring.
It hasn’t been easy to hire well-known, top-ranked coaches and athletic directors at the University of Minnesota over the years. The school got lucky when it hired Kill after many top coaches turned down the job. Teague also was hired after other well-established AD candidates weren’t interested in the job. Teague was one of the final candidates who was interviewed.
Even though the Gophers are the only Division I school in the state, candidates look at their records in basketball, football and track, especially in men’s sports, and aren’t interested in the challenge of making them winners.
Who should replace Teague? My opinion is the university should hire one of three members of the Gophers athletics staff: interim athletic director Beth Goetz, baseball coach John Anderson or senior associate athletic director Dan O’Brien.
Of the three, O’Brien has the most experience as athletic director after serving in that capacity for four years at Concordia (St. Paul) and six years at Hamline. He was director of football operations for seven years with the Gophers but has handled many duties since being appointed associate athletic director in 2014.
The argument against promoting O’Brien by some Gophers boosters is that he is too close to Kill, and Kill would essentially have the same power as the athletic director. But I spend more time at Bierman than those critics, and there is no question that with O’Brien at the helm, the Gophers athletic department would create one of the strongest executive situations they’ve had in a long time.
The negative of bringing an outside candidate instead of from the athletic department staff would mean the fundraising would have to start all over. Anderson, a great salesman, and O’Brien know where to go to get the money.
Goetz has the personality to raise money but has been on the staff only since March 4, 2013, and isn’t as familiar with the local layout as Anderson and O’Brien.
• Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner on whether quarterback Teddy Bridgewater needs to play more in the preseason because he is only a second-year player: “I think everybody — I don’t care how long you’ve been playing, and the best players I’ve been around that have played a long time — wants to play and they want to get reps. If he doubles the number of snaps he got last week, that’d probably be good for him and we evaluate it each week and see how we’re going. I think to be sharp and be ready to go that first week at the quarterback position, you need some full-speed reps, some live reps. We did a great job in protecting him. Pittsburgh gave us some really unusual things, some things they’d never done before, not even last year, and our guys handled them extremely well, so that was pleasing.”
• There was a good story out of the Miami Sun Times about former Gophers and current Dolphins defensive back Cedric Thompson purchasing a meal for a homeless man he encountered at a local grocery store. Thompson also detailed the encounter on his website: cedricthompson.sportsblog.com. Meanwhile the South Florida Sun-Sentinel wrote up a report on Thompson’s play at training camp on Tuesday and said he was the No. 1 player on the field after grabbing an interception off quarterback Matt Moore.
• It appears former Gophers tight end Maxx Williams will start out on the second team for the Baltimore Ravens behind Crockett Gillmore in St. Louis Park native Marc Trestman’s offense.
• Byron Buxton is swinging a hot bat in his first few games at Class AAA Rochester, hitting 11-for-24 (.458), with a double, a triple, four RBI and six runs scored in six games. Buxton also has a stolen base. … Among all rookies with at least 100 at-bats, Twins designated hitter Miguel Sano leads the American League with a .409 on-base percentage and his 23 walks are third in the league, despite only playing 33 games. By comparison, Sano hit .274 in 66 games at Class AA Chattanooga and is hitting .295 for the Twins. He also had 15 homers at Class AA. He hit his sixth and seventh for the Twins on Wednesday, two upper-deck blasts against the Rangers, went 3-for-3 and tied a club rookie record with six RBI in an 11-1 victory.
Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. firstname.lastname@example.org