Big Ten: Joel Maturi

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March, 7, 2013
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First half in the books, 21-0-3. Light the lamp.

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November, 30, 2012
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Enjoy your retirement, Burt Macklin (FBI).

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May, 25, 2012
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Hope everyone has a terrific Memorial Day weekend. I can already smell the grilled meats.

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May, 24, 2012
5/24/12
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Look, I know that you're concerned, but I'm designing T-shirts now. They're gonna be huge. Also medium and small.
Minnesota wisely chose to introduce Norwood Teague as its next athletic director Monday in the home locker room of TCF Bank Stadium. It was a reminder that football, more than any other varsity sport, drives an athletic program and must be supported and enhanced by the man leading the athletic department. Teague brings superb basketball credentials to the U, not least of which is his ability to both hire and retain Shaka Smart at VCU, where Teague has served as AD since 2006. He also has shown tremendous clout as a fundraiser. What he hasn't done is lead a department with an FBS football program, although he has worked in three departments that have them: North Carolina, Arizona State and Virginia.

Teague will start his new job July 1 if approved by the school's regents. He takes over for Joel Maturi, the Gophers' AD for the past decade.

[+] EnlargeNorwood Teague
AP Photo/Steve HelberNorwood Teague is expected to take over as Minnesota's athletic director on July 1.
"It's great to be back at a football school," Teague said at his introduction.

ESPN.com caught up with Minnesota's new AD on Monday to discuss the football-specific elements of his new job.

You mentioned your desire to be at a school with football. Why was it important for you?

Norwood Teague: I worked around football for 13 years, and I missed it. I love football and enjoyed my time at Virginia and Arizona State and North Carolina, and just wanted to get back into it. I'm excited for the opportunity.

What are some of the challenges that football presents when you're leading a department?

NT: It's just more demands. It's more demands on you financially, it's more demands as far as workload for a department. But that comes with it. Football, in so many ways, is the driver of college athletics. It's can be high-maintenance, but you love it, and you have to support it in the highest level, and that takes a lot of work, both from a funding standpoint and a headcount standpoint.

Minnesota has a big piece in place with the stadium. From your perspective, what's next for football? What needs to be done to further enhance that program?

NT: Well, the stadium certainly is a tremendous step in the right direction. Moving forward, I've got to evaluate the soft spots that we have with the football program. Coach [Jerry] Kill and I have had some dialogue, and I'll find out a whole lot more there. Marketing is always key. We've got a great marketing staff here, but I need to support them as best I can in order to fill seats and build the atmosphere in and around games. So, there's plenty to do. I've got a lot of evaluation in the next six months to get there, but I think the future's very bright.

What did you know about Coach Kill coming in, and what's your opinion of the head coach?

NT: Certainly the opinion with Gophers fans is very positive toward him. He is a relentless guy, and he is building a really solid program. Really I've heard nothing but great things about him here. I knew of him from a variety of different people who had worked with him in the past. I know the current athletic director [Jeff Compher] at Northern Illinois [where Kill worked previously] and I knew the previous one [Jim Phillips, who hired Kill at NIU]. So I've been thoroughly impressed. He's doing a great job, and he'll continue to do so here.

You mentioned in your news conference that [Big Ten commissioner] Jim Delany had a role in you going to VCU. What happened there?

NT: I called him, I think the day before I took the VCU job, because I was a little hesitant about going to a non-football job within college athletics. He was great in that he said, 'Your experience is vast in football over the last 13 years, so don't worry about that. I would go ahead and take that job, enjoy it, get great experience and you'll have the chance to take the next step soon.'

Did you have a chance to talk to him about this job?

NT: I have not. I looked forward to doing that. He is certainly arguably one of the more powerful guys in college athletics. I look forward to working with him, and he's really a visionary to say the least, someone who is very well respected.

You went up to Minnesota during Easter weekend before things really got going with the job. In talking to people, what was their feeling about the football program and what needs to happen to get it to the next level?

NT: I detected right away a very, very strong interest and passion in the program in wanting to win and wanting to compete at the highest level in the Big Ten and in the nation. I detected also that people believe that we can, and we should be. There's a strong, strong passionate following and a following that wants to succeed.

You did a lot of fundraising at VCU. How much easier was that process after a breakthrough like the Final Four last year? Does that need to happen at Minnesota before you make a lot of progress, or can you do so without a Big Ten title or a big-time bowl appearance?

NT: We had made some real progress before that and had a multimillion dollar expansion to our basketball arena, and 90 percent of the money was already committed before we went to the Final Four. Now when we went to the Final Four and had a shot in the arm like that, if anything, your expectations for yourself go up. I felt like as soon as that happened, we had to capitalize, so my sense of urgency was even greater. With that, there was a lot more work, and we were able to capitalize on it, but we had done so much good work beforehand and had so much in place, and I felt wonderful about that. The Final Four was more a sense of, 'Oh my gosh, we've got to capitalize on this.' We ran even harder and did a good job at capitalizing.

From talking to people there, do you get a sense of why it hasn't happened for Minnesota football? Great tradition going back decades and decades, but recently, they haven't had a breakthrough in football.

NT: There's probably a number of things I could venture to guess, but to be fair to the program, I've got to analyze that a little deeper. I'm sure playing in the Metrodome was not a help in the long run. Having an on-campus facility, that's just brilliant. I'm going to evaluate other areas to really get to that point, so it wouldn't be too fair for me to comment on that too much right now.

How familiar are you with the Big Ten, and what does it take to succeed in a conference where football really is the driving force?

NT: I'm very familiar. I have several good friends who are ADs in the league, and several that I've worked with. I know Mike Thomas very well at Illinois, Jimmy Phillips at Northwestern. I know Gene Smith at Ohio State very well. So I'm well aware of the league. I've never been in the league, but I know what it takes, and I'm excited to get rolling here.
As expected, Minnesota has hired Norwood Teague as its next athletic director and will introduce him at a news conference scheduled for 3:45 p.m. ET.

Teague, the only finalist for Minnesota's AD vacancy, has led VCU's athletic department since 2006. Under his leadership, VCU's annual fund has increased by 119 percent. He'll succeed Joel Maturi, who will retire from Minnesota on June 30 after 10 years as the school's athletic director.

The Big Ten Network and BTN2Go will broadcast the news conference live. We'll have a wrap-up later today on what Norwood says, particularly in relation to football. The news conference, by the way, will take place in Minnesota's mammoth home locker room at TCF Bank Stadium. Nice touch.
Minnesota on Sunday named VCU athletic director Norwood Teague as the lone finalist for its vacant athletic director position.

Teague, who has led VCU's athletic department since 2006, will visit Minnesota's campus Monday and interview with university president Eric Kaler and the search advisory committee, and meet with coaches, faculty members and others. Given these tributes, his visit seems like a formality as he's clearly Minnesota's choice for the position.

Minnesota is looking to replace Joel Maturi, who announced in February he will retire from his post June 30.

Minnesota says Teague is one of approximately 40 candidates to apply for the position. The pool included women, people of color and non-traditional candidates.

Teague is best known for both hiring and retaining Shaka Smart, considered the nation's top young college basketball coach. Smart guided VCU to its first-ever Final Four appearance in 2011. Smart received opportunities to leave VCU after the Final Four run and after this past season, but he chose to remain.

Teague also has held positions at North Carolina, Arizona State and Virginia, including director of basketball operations for Virginia. Here's his VCU bio.

He has extensive basketball experience, but he hasn't led an athletic department with a varsity football program. Minnesota is certainly looking for a boost on the gridiron, where it hasn't captured a Big Ten title since 1967.
Minnesota on Tuesday announced it will use a four-member search committee and the Parker Executive Search firm to identify Joel Maturi's successor as athletic director.

The search committee will conduct semifinalist interviews and report to university president Eric Kaler. Minnesota also has assembled a 21-member search advisory committee, which will identify the qualities sought for the next athletic director, finalize a job description and forward names to the search committee.

Minnesota wants to determine its finalists by late April and announce the new AD in early May. Kaler wants to have the new athletic director start July 1, the day after Maturi officially retires. Maturi has served as Minnesota's AD since July 12, 2002.

The search committee includes:
  • R. Timothy Mulcahy, vice president for research, University of Minnesota
  • Mary Jo Kane, director, Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, University of Minnesota
  • Amy Phenix, chief of staff, Office of the President, University of Minnesota
  • John E. Lindahl, managing general partner, Norwest Equity Partners

The search advisory committee includes faculty, staff, students, community leaders and alumni. Gophers quarterback MarQueis Gray is on the committee, along with men's hockey coach Don Lucia, football operations director Dan O'Brien and athletics compliance director JT Bruett.

One name Minnesota reportedly can scratch off its list is Iowa athletic director Gary Barta, a Minneapolis native. An Iowa spokesman told the (St. Paul) Pioneer Press that Barta is happy staying put.
Minnesota's search for a new athletic director might not be limited to sitting ADs.

What about a conference commissioner running the school's athletic department?

Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson told the (St. Paul) Pioneer Press' Marcus Fuller that he's "open" to discussing the athletic director vacancy at Minnesota, his alma mater. Thompson has deep roots at Minnesota, as his brother and several other family members attended or currently attend the U. He grew up about 115 miles West of Minneapolis in Redwood Falls, Minn.
"But there would be a million questions to learn more about the position," he told the Pioneer Press. "Is there a budget deficit? Is fundraising the issue? Is the focus on rebuilding the football program? Are there academic concerns? Is there a support system to graduate student-athletes? There would be a lot more to know about the needs and wants of the athletic department before you can even think about taking the next step."

Thompson has been a conference commissioner since 1987, leading the American South Conference for four years, the Sun Belt Conference for eight years, and the Mountain West since its inception in 1999. It might make sense for him to make a move now, as the Mountain West and Conference USA are discussing a merger. Also, Thompson helped build the Mountain West into the nation's best BCS non-automatic qualifying conference, only to see the league lose its top two teams (Boise State and TCU) in the latest round of realignment.

He hasn't worked for a university since 1980, when he worked in Kansas State's sports information department. But he's certainly an intriguing candidate if Minnesota chooses to go that route.

Other potential candidates, according to the Pioneer Press, include Stony Brook AD Jim Fiore, former NFL coach and Minnesota alum Tony Dungy, former Minnesota Vikings general manager Jeff Diamond and Iowa AD Gary Barta, who is from Minneapolis.

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February, 8, 2012
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Back from some basketball moonlighting:

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February, 7, 2012
2/07/12
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As Carlos Boozer would say when grabbing an uncontested rebound, "Gimme dat!"

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February, 3, 2012
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I love riddles!
There will be new leadership in Minnesota's athletic department at the start of the 2012-13 sports season as Joel Maturi announced Thursday he will retire June 30.

Maturi's retirement isn't a major surprise, as many projected the 67-year-old to step down in the next year or so. Minnesota president Eric Kaler said Thursday that Maturi will work with him on fundraising and special projects following his retirement. Kaler said he and Maturi reached a mutual decision that Maturi would step down at the end of June.

Kaler said Minnesota will look both nationally an internally for Maturi's replacement, which Kaler expects to have in place by July 1.

How should Maturi's tenure as Minnesota's AD be viewed? The athletic program had no major scandals under his watch, which hadn't been the case in previous decades. He also helped bring football back to campus with the construction of TCF Bank Stadium, one of the best new facilities in college football. Maturi also made a splash with the hiring of men's basketball coach Tubby Smith in 2007.

But if ADs are ultimately judged by the success of their high-profile programs, Maturi fell short. His hiring of football coach Tim Brewster turned out very badly, and the prolonged search for Brewster's successor last year didn't look good, either. Maturi made some candid, eyebrow-raising comments after firing Brewster and during the process of hiring Jerry Kill.

From the (St. Paul) Pioneer Press:
Last season, his football team, his men's and women's basketball teams, and his men's hockey team all failed to make a national postseason appearance. The last time all four teams did not make a bowl or NCAA tournament was the 1997-98 season. The last time there was no bowl, NCAA tournament or NIT or WNIT appearance was the 1983-84 season.

Maturi also was criticized for buyouts paid to fired coaches like Brewster, former football coach Glen Mason and former basketball coach Dan Monson.

He seemed to have respect throughout Big Ten circles, and he was always forthright in our interactions.

"I know the job," Maturi said Thursday. "Many base my success on wins and losses. I'm not worried about Joel Maturi's legacy. I leave ... feeling good."

Maturi's departure doesn't significantly impact Kill, because it always seemed likely Maturi would step down before any decision on Kill's future would be made. Kill took the job knowing he'd likely have a new boss in the near future.

Then again, new athletic directors usually like to have their guys in place, and Kill will have to prove himself to Maturi's successor. It'll be interesting to see where Minnesota goes with the hire.

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February, 2, 2012
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You want a prediction about the weather? You're asking the wrong Phil. I'll give you a winter prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be gray, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life.

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November, 9, 2011
11/09/11
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Once again, we'll split up the links between what's going on in State College and the rest of the Big Ten:

Penn State
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