Dennis Brackin has a lengthy piece on the Gophers coaching search. He lists 10 things fans should know about the coaching search, most of which we've already heard or seen before, but one point in particular stands out to me:
4 MINNESOTA TIES
Bruininks said finding a coach with Minnesota ties isn't a key part of the search. Good reason for that. There are very few qualified candidates with links to the university. Columbia coach Norries Wilson, New Mexico State coach DeWayne Walker and Montreal CFL coach Marc Trestman played at Minnesota. Sumlin is a former Gophers assistant.
Personally I'm very glad to hear this coming from President Bruininks, and I hope they stick to this in the search. I think this is THE most overrated aspect of hiring a coach, and is usually just used as an excuse to hire people they already know and like. Sumlin is the only coach that has been mentioned with "ties" to Minnesota that I'd be comfortable with as our next head coach, and only if a few of the bigger names say no first.
Another key part is Bruininks said while current head coaches will be considered, so will ex-head coaches, as well as coordinators. That too is good news. There's just SO many up-and-coming coordinators there's no point in listing them all, and it's why it's good we're using a search firm to investigate more into who would fit and who wouldn't.
Meanwhile, Phil Miller confirms my worst fears:
...Leach won't be getting the job. Probably a dozen different people with connections to the school have confirmed that, in addition to the controversy that got him fired a year ago, Leach offended people around the program when the Gophers played the Red Raiders in the Insight Bowl in 2006. Give it up, Gopher fans, the Pirate's not sailing this way.
Gee that's a great reason for not hiring a coach- because he might have offended a few people when he kicked your ass in a bowl game. Makes perfect sense. Great coach who wins games and graduates players at an impressive rate, but because he doesn't want to be everyone's best friend of an opposing school, he's not going to be considered. Wonderful. Good to know the U has their priorities straight when it comes to hiring a coach: likeable guy first, winning coach who graduates players second.
Over at Off Tackle Empire, some guy named JD Mill champions the cause for Leach, even if it looks to be too late.
Just in case you're one of the few people left who care much about the game being played Saturday in East Lansing, this week's podcast guest LVS has a preview of the Gophers vs. Spartans over at The Only Colors.
With Brad Childress still in charge of the Vikings, David Kahn-descending in charge of the Timberwolves, and Gopher hockey still not back to being Gopher hockey, Tubby Smith and Gopher hoops is the only hope of a winner Minnesotans might have this winter. They looked good in Wednesday nights' first official exhibition game of the season (I do believe the games in September up in Vancouver didn't count as official games) by throttling DII Northeastern State 109-59. The most encouraging numbers had to come from 6'8 junior forward Trevor Mbakwe, who totaled 13 points and 3 steals in just 13 minutes. The sooner he gets up to speed and in shape, the better the Gophers will be.
Myron Medcalf held his first Gopher hoops chat of the season on Wednesday. Feel free to read the replay here.
SB Nation Northwestern blog Sippin' on Purple has an indepth hoops preview of the Gophers, predicting a 6th place finish in the Big Ten and a lower seed in the NCAA tourney.
Speaking of the NCAA tourney, Blogging the Bracket has a self-proclaimed absurdly early bracketology. See if you agree where he has the Gophers seeded.
Gopher hockey forward Zach Budish won't discuss what happened with his moped accident, but did say he'll decide in the next few days whether he will have surgery on his injured knee. Head coach Don Lucia recommended surgery, but it's still unclear how long that would keep Budish out of the lineup. The only thing we know for sure is he won't be skating against Wisconsin this weekend.
Gopher Puck Live has more on the Budish injury, as well as a preview of the weekend series against the hated Badgers.
No names given, but the MNDaily reports that the U is close to naming the finalists to replace outgoing President Bruininks. The Board of Regents hopes to have a new president chosen by the end of December. Which begs the question...which will get chosen first: the U's new prez or Minnesota's new Governor?
Finally- and this isn't a joke- the U has a Quidditch league. Yes, the make-believe sport from the Harry Potter books where people fly around on brooms. It's...well just watch the video in the link.