High-profile coaching gigs in major college sports offer little job security. If you want to keep your job, win and avoid scandal. Otherwise, be fired.
Gophers athletic director Mark Coyle fired football coach Tracy Claeys this week in the wake of scandal involving 10 football players.
The details leading to Claeys’ departure may be different, but he’s joining the growing pool of former coaches of major Minnesota programs that were also fired.
The change is intended to incite success, so how successful have the Gophers been when firing and then hiring the next leader they hope can restore their programs?
Glen Mason fired, Tim Brewster hired
Mason was fired in December 2006 after leading the program for a decade. The team played in seven bowl games, won three, but never finished higher than fourth place in the Big Ten while under Mason. Joel Maturi hired Tim Brewster has Mason’s replacement in January 2007. Brewster, who spent five seasons as an NFL assistant before coming to Minnesota, was 1-11 in his first season leading the program and was fired midway through his fourth season in 2010 after university president Robert Bruininks criticized the program for its lack of success. He finished with a 15-30 record.
Tim Brewster: Fail.
Tim Brewster fired, Jerry Kill hired
Maturi settled on a coach with 17 years of college head coaching experience when he hired Kill in December 2010. The veteran coach went 3-9 in his first season with the Gophers, but slowly began to turn the program around. The Gophers were back in a bowl game in Kill’s second season and won eight games in back-to-back seasons with a berth a New Year’s Day bowl after the 2014 season. He resigned midway through the 2015 season because of health reasons.
Jerry Kill: Success.
Tracy Claeys fired, P.J. Fleck hired
Claeys led the Gophers to a 9-4 record and Holiday Bowl victory, but was fired after his first full season leading the program in the aftermath of a Title IX investigation of alleged sexual assault that led to the suspension of 10 football players. Coyle hired Fleck, the 36-year-old former Western Michigan coach, just three days after firing Claeys. Fleck led the Broncos to a 13-1 record last season after going undefeated in the regular season and then losing to Wisconsin 24-16 in the Cotton Bowl. He was 30-22 in four seasons leading the program.
Clem Haskins fired/pushed out, Dan Monson hired
Haskins was forced out in June 1999 following the academic fraud scandal that rocked the program. Athletic director Mark Dienhart responded by hiring one of the most sought after coaches in college basketball. Monson was 52-17 with one Elite Eight appearance in two seasons at Gonzaga before taking over the Gophers. However, he only produced two winning records in Big Ten conference and one NCAA tournament berth in seven-plus seasons at Minnesota. Monson resigned in November 2006 after a 2-5 start to the season. Though Monson wasn’t successful on the court, he was credited for helping clean up the image of the program.
Dan Monson: Improvement.
Dan Monson fired/resigned, Tubby Smith hired
Gophers athletic director Joel Maturi made a blockbuster hire with veteran coach Tubby Smith in March 2007. Smith coached Kentucky to 10 consecutive NCAA tournament berths, two Sweet 16 and three Elite Eight appearances, and won one national championship. He immediately turned the Gophers into a 20-win team and in his second and third seasons they advanced to the NCAA tournament. However, new athletic director Norwood Teague wanted a fresh start for the basketball program and fired Smith after another NCAA tournament berth in his sixth season leading the program.
Tubby Smith: Improvement.
Tubby Smith fired, Richard Pitino hired
Teague hired a 30-year-old with one year of head-coaching experience and a familiar name to replace Smith. Pitino was labeled a rising star among college coaches and had experience as an assistant under legendary coach Rick Pitino, Richard’s father. The Gophers missed the NCAA tournament in Pitino’s first season, but won the NIT championship. He is 64-52 in three-plus seasons leading the program and off to his best start (13-2) this season.
Richard Pitino: TBD.
Gophers women’s basketball
Pam Borton fired, Marlene Stollings hired
Borton led to the Gophers to the Sweet 16, Final Four, and back to the Sweet 16 in her first three seasons, but missed the NCAA tournament five consecutive seasons before being fired in March 2014. Marlene Stollings, another young up-and-coming coach, was hired in April 2014 after a quick turnaround effort of two seasons at Virginia Commonwealth. She led the Gophers to back-to-back 20-plus win seasons and one NCAA tournament berth since coming to Minnesota.
Marlene Stollings: TBD
Gophers men’s hockey
Brad Buetow fired, Doug Woog hired
Buetow, who played for Herb Brooks, took over for the legendary coach on an interim basis in 1979-1980 and eventually assumed the full-time job. However, he struggled to create the same success the program experienced under Brooks and was fired after the 1984-1985 season. Woog was hired in 1985 and would lead the storied program for the next 14 seasons. He coached the Gophers to 12 NCAA tournament berths, three Frozen Four appearances, and one national runner-up finish.
Dough Woog: Success.
Doug Woog fired/resigned, Don Lucia hired
Woog missed the NCAA tournament in back-to-back seasons before being replaced with Lucia, a rising star in the coaching ranks. Lucia missed the NCAA tournament the first year leading the program, but won back-to-back national championships his third and fourth seasons. The program has earned 12 NCAA tournament berths in Lucia’s 17 seasons, appeared in five Frozen Fours, and won two national titles.
Don Lucia: Success.