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…

Vince Lombardi Is Rooting For ‘Hawks over Pack

The SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER gleefully reports the news that Vince Lombardi is rooting for the Seahawks against the Packers in today’s playoff tilt.

Vince Lombardi Seattle Seahawks Fan

The P-I recently tracked down the Seattle attorney, who is the grandson of the Packer icon. Part of Lombardi III’s childhood was spent in Seattle, with his father a member of the Seahawks’ first-ever front office staff. After undergradding at Georgetown, he eventually returned to attend law school at UW - and has lived there ever since.

Lombardi as a Seahawks fan has the locals bemused, but not-so-much when he runs across Wisconsin natives: “If they are from Wisconsin they are a little disappointed (but) if the Seahawks lose, I’ll be rooting for them. I’m sure all of us will.