Gophers football coach Tracy Claeys is scheduled to meet with athletic director Mark Coyle on Tuesday, preceding any announcement on Claeys’ future, three people familiar with the situation said this weekend.
All three sources said they remain unsure whether Claeys will be fired or retained for 2017. The team’s 9-4 finish this season has been clouded by the fallout from an alleged Sept. 2 sexual assault.
Coyle issued a statement Wednesday that said: “Now that our football team has completed its season following an exciting win in Tuesday night’s Holiday Bowl, Coach Claeys and I will take this opportunity to reflect on this past season before sitting down together to talk about the future and my expectations for our football program.”
After the 17-12 upset over Washington State in San Diego, Claeys headed to see family in Kansas, and Coyle headed to Idaho with his family. Monday is a university holiday, so Tuesday will be the first day Claeys, Coyle and other officials are back in the office.
Claeys, 48, is 11-8 as the Gophers head coach, including 2-0 in bowl games, since replacing Jerry Kill, who resigned for health reasons in October 2015.
The Gophers won nine games this season for the first time since they went 10-3 under Glen Mason in 2003. But on Dec. 13, Coyle suspended 10 players indefinitely in connection with the alleged sexual assault.
Hennepin County has twice reviewed the case and declined to press charges, but an internal investigation by the university’s office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) led to the suspensions.
The EOAA recommended expulsion for Ray Buford, KiAnte Hardin, Carlton Djam, Dior Johnson and Tamarion Johnson, one-year suspensions for Seth Green, Kobe McCrary, Mark Williams and Antoine Winfield Jr. and probation for Antonio Shenault.
Gophers players boycotted team activities for two days, protesting the administration’s handing of the suspensions. After they announced their boycott, Claeys tweeted his support for the players, which publicly aligned him against the administration.