Why Dungy, Not AD, Making Gopher Coach Hire

Tim Brewster, owner of a 15-30 record (6-21 Big 10) as head football coach at the University of Minnesota, was fired over the weekend by school athletic director Joel Maturi.

Tony Dungy at Minnesota

(Dungy was Mayor of Dinkytown in early ’70s)

Maturi, who authorized a $600,000 buyout to make Brewster go away, is the same guy who hired Brewster in 2007 and inexplicably propped up his guy with a generous contract extension before the 2009 season.

Immediately after Brewster’s hire in 2007, Bob Sansevere of the ST. PAUL PIONEER-PRESS wrote of Maturi’s hire:

University of Minnesota athletics director Joel Maturi went the riskier route. He chose Brewster to be the Gophers’ latest football coach. Maturi is gambling Brewster will succeed. He also is gambling his own reputation… as well as his job security. There is no bigger hire a major college athletics director can make than when he brings in a new football coach.

If Brewster doesn’t pan out, Maturi could be out — and should be out.

By listening to Maturi Sunday you’d have never known that Brewster, a virtual unknown hastily hired by the athletic director without normal school protocol despite never having been a head coach or coordinator in college or the NFL, was the same guy Maturi promised would return the downtrodden Gopher football program back to national prominence.

During his press conference to announce Brewster’s firing, Maturi said that before he hired the coach, “To be honest, I’d never heard of Tim Brewster.”

Then there was this flippant quip from Maturi about Brewster:

“You’re not following Vince Lombardi here.

“This is a situation where, you know what, somebody can come in and win some games and people are going to feel good about him and they win a few more games and they’re going to feel really good about him.

“And if we go to the Rose Bowl, we might even put a statue of them outside of TCF Bank Stadium.”

It’s too easy to take cheap shots at an outgoing coach, especially one you’ve hired and staked your reputation to. So let’s look back at what Maturi had to say about the same Coach Brewster earlier this year:

He’s grown into the job. I like the staff [Brewster] has assembled. I like the kids. I’m feeling really optimistic. We’ll evaluate everything at the end, as we always do, but he’s got four years [remaining] on his contract, and I fully expect he will be here for them.

If only Maturi was as good at hiring football coaches as he is at manipulating the school administration and media in order to save his own skin.

By leaking Tony Dungy as a possible candidate for the Gopher coaching job, Maturi forced the school’s most prominent football alum to take notice of the Gopher program.

Speaking on the condition of anonymonity, two current athletic directors at BCS schools and a prominent employee of a coaching search firm told me Monday that Maturi is using Dungy as cover from irate members of the Minnesota administration and prominent donors to the school. Read more…

Rex Ryan Dad To Tony Dungy: Pipe Down, Buddy

Longtime NFL coach Buddy Ryan was quizzed today on Philadelphia radio about criticism Tony Dungy leveled at Ryan’s son Rex about the Jets Coach’s penchant for f-bombs on HBO’s Hard Knocks.

Buddy and Rex Ryan

(Surprising tho, no calls for Dungy to get off Buddy’s lawn)

While needling Rex Ryan about his obscenity-laced presentation during the HBO program yesterday, Dungy also suggested that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell tell the Jets coach to tone down the expletives during the show.

Here’s the transcript of Buddy Ryan’s comments today about Dungy on Vai Sikahema and John Gonzalez‘ show on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philly: Read more…

Dungy Wouldn’t Hire Ryan Because Of Profanity?

Despite admitting that he hasn’t seen the show this year, today on the Dan Patrick Show former NFL Coach Tony Dungy criticized Rex Ryan about the Jets Coach’s profanity on HBO’s Hard Knocks.

Dan Patrick Tony Dungy and Rex Ryan Dan Patrick Show

(Transcript, audio of Dungy’s comments below)

Dungy to Patrick:

“I have not watched it, I’ve gotten the reports, I’m disappointed with all the profanity. I think Rex can make his points without all that. But he’s trying to endear himself to his team and he’s doing a great job of it.”

Read more…

Tony Dungy: Tim Tebow “Will Be A Great NFL QB”

Tim Tebow probably never wanted to see the day when he’d be lumped in with such damaged goods as LeGarrette Blount, Michael Vick, and - ugh - Jeff Fisher. But here it is and here we are, Tebow: Tony Dungy has come rushing to your aid. Yes, the St. Jude of sports, the patron saint of lost causes and dog killers. Dungy. Accept it.

Tony Dungy Tim Tebow

Dungy’s latest comments came to Dan Patrick this morning when talking about drafting a quarterback for a team with a Top 10 pick. Patrick threw out alternative choices like Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen, Colt McCoy, and Jake Locker. Nnnnnope. Because Tebow’s a winner, you see. Winners win games. Oh yeah.

Will Tim Tebow be a great NFL quarterback?

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Dungy Throws Fisher Under The Bus About Jersey

The day after his team lost to New England 59-0 two weeks ago, Jeff Fisher surprised a Tennessee audience by wearing a Colts jersey to a Tony Dungy charity event in Nashville. Fisher punctuated the appearance by saying, “I just wanted to feel like a winner.”

Tony Dungy throws Jeff Fisher under the bus on jersey flap

(If I was Dungy, I would’ve covered for Fisher. Bad form.)

Yea, it was probably a stupid move by Fisher, but at least he was raising money for charity. Right Tony?

If you were Dungy, would you have covered for Fisher?

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Jeff Fisher Wearing Colts Jersey: Problem With It?

The NASHVILLE TENNESSEAN has photos today of Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher wearing a Indianapolis Colts Peyton Manning jersey.

Jeff Fisher Wearing Colts Jersey

(Bad idea or comic relief?)

Fisher wore the jersey as a surprise in introducing Tony Dungy for a speech today in Nashville. Fisher added, “I just wanted to feel like a winner.

Okay, that’s a little strange. I don’t think it’s that big a deal, but at least one prominent Tennessee sports radio host, Chris Vernon of Fox Sports Radio 730 in Memphis, Tweeted that he thinks Fisher should be fired for the display: “i know he was doin it for Dungy– he should be fired- and i have defended him- but that is incomprehensible.

What would you do if you were Titans Owner Bud Adams?

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What would you do if you were Owner Bud Adams?

So Exactly How Much Has Dungy Helped Blount?

Got to thinking today about the Univ. of Oregon playing the Tony Dungy card in its case for the reinstatement of LeGarrette Blount’s playing career. (Along with the other prominent figures cited by UO Coach Chip Kelly as party to Blount’s image overhaul: Dr. Harry Edwards, Kermit Washington and Jon Gruden.)

LeGarrette Blount Tony Dungy

Considering that virtually every media account of Blount’s future reinstatement included a mention of Dungy visiting with the player, I set out today to find out just how much time Dungy has spent with Blount.

After an extensive online search resulted in virtually no details, I contacted prominent OREGONIAN columnist John Canzano and Univ. of Oregon Executive Assistant Athletic Director of Media Services (SID) David Williford to find out what they knew.

Williford emailed this response about the Dungy-Blount exchange: “I don’t have info regarding Blount’s contact with Coach Dungy, other than I know it was by phone. I don’t know how many times or how long.

Canzano’s responds after the jump. Read more…

Whicker, Blount: Brothers In Alarm Both Pardoned

Today Oregon announced it was going to probably rescind its season-long suspension of right-cross-impaired LeGarrette Blount.

LeGarrette Blount Mark Whicker Brothers In Alarm

Based on Blount’s questionable behavior before the Boise State game ever occurred, I didn’t have a problem with Ducks Coach Chip Kelly ’suspending’ Blount for the season. I also think it’s reasonable to rescind the suspension if Blount has shown he can get his act together. (As soon as we found out Tony Dungy was involved, it was a safe bet dude would soon be back in Oregon’s regrettable gear.)

One thing I haven’t seen talked about much, which was mentioned today by Steve Hartman on Fox Sports Radio, was that if Blount’s punch hadn’t landed squarely or the camera hadn’t been so perfectly trained on the jaw-drop moment, Blount most likely wouldn’t have gotten the harsh punishment he received. Of course, that doesn’t excuse what Blount did to Byron Hout, or his outrageous reaction to crowd taunts.

Another interesting observation on Blount’s situation came from respected OREGONIAN columnist John Canzano. Canzano claimed on ESPN-TV earlier today that perhaps Kelly was bringing Blount back because the Ducks had resurrected their season. And that the coach might’ve yielded to pressure from Oregon boosters.

Problem with that though is Oregon has played its best football without Blount, and it’s likely that even if he returns to the team, he probably won’t be the Ducks’ top running back anymore. LaMichael James is averaging six yards per carry since Blount was blown out by his outburst, and he’s likely to continue getting the bulk of the carries,

While there’s been an orgy of media coverage about Blount’s possible return, another sports figure who also got trucked in a colossal case of bad public judgement quietly slipped back into his highest profile gig this week. Read more…

Ruh Roh: Could Vick’s Reinstatement Be Today?

As Kay said in “Godfather II”: “I should have known that you were too clever for them, Michael.” The LOS ANGELES TIMES is reporting that Michael Vick may not have to wait until Week 6 to find out of he’s back in the NFL. He could be back today. To quote a great cartoon philosopher: “Zoinks!”

Michael Vick

Roger Goodell is reportedly preparing to huddle with the Philadelphia quarterback today, and could decide to set Vick free for the Eagles’ opener on Sept. 13 at Carolina. A dramatic turn of events from just, well, yesterday, when it was unclear if Goodell would let Vick play in any NFL Reindeer Games at all. Read more…

QB Michael Vick Conditionally Reinstated To NFL

How long does an indefinite suspension last? It sounds like some sort of sports-themed Zen riddle, but it was a question on the minds of many football fans regarding the suspension of noted animal lover and one-time NFL quarterback Michael Vick.

Since Vick was released from federal custody earlier this month, many sportswriters have speculated on the timeline for Vick’s return to the NFL. Whereas once it seemed like a long shot that an NFL team would even entertain the notion of employing Vick, now it seems like almost an inevitably that someone will give him a shot. This afternoon, Vick came one giant leap closer to an NFL roster after commissioner Roger Goodell finally decided Vick’s fate.

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