I've lived in Minnesota for nearly a quarter century now and I continue to be amazed at how poorly the revenue producing sports and the University of Minnesota have done. And now the U is starting over, yet again:
Mark Coyle’s first words Wednesday as the leader of the embattled Gophers athletics department weren’t hard-edge, like the ones University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler had just spoken about Gophers basketball.
Coyle, 47, a native of Waterloo, Iowa, had listened to Kaler’s introduction, which featured this assessment of his men’s basketball program: “I’m profoundly disappointed in the continuing episodes, poor judgment, alleged crimes, and it simply can’t continue.”
Sure it can. It's been happening. We're talking about a pedigree that goes back to Corky Taylor and Ron Behagen stomping an opponent on the court, through the various excesses of the Bill Musselman era, through the Gangelhoff cheating, up to today. And when the football program hasn't been awful, it's been mostly invisible. The Gophers haven't been to the Rose Bowl in my lifetime, and I'm getting old, frankly.
Can Mark Coyle change the culture? Will he be the Pat Richter of Dinkytown? It ought to be possible. The schools that should be the yardstick for the Gophers are our neighbors to the east and south. The Badgers and the Hawkeyes have been, in the main, making the Gophers look foolish for years.
Coyle has an excellent track record. He should have institutional support. Good luck to him.