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The Daily Gopher Fix 9.4.08

Like AD Joel Maturi? Hope so, because he isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Maturi signed a 2-year contract extension with the University of Minnesota Wednesday, meaning he is 20061231_maturi_2_mediumunder contract until at least 2012. Financial details follow from the Star Tribune:

Maturi, who came to Minnesota in 2002, will receive an annual salary of $345,000, an increase of $30,000 from the 2006 extension agreement.

Maturi will also receive annual supplemental retirement account payments that start at $75,000 after the current school year to $100,000 after the 2012 year. He received $250,000 in retirement money on June 30, 2007.

Maturi's annual salary is believed to rank in the middle of Big Ten athletic directors. Wisconsin's Barry Alvarez earns $600,000 a year.

Maturi has had his share of highlights and lowlights as the U's AD. He waited too long to fire Dan Monson. It can easily be argued his firing of Glen Mason was a rash decision made after an embarrassing bowl loss to Texas Tech. On the other hand, he maneuvered beautifully to land Tubby Smith. He helped build grassroots support to construct an on-campus football stadium.

Less celebrated perhaps has been the fact that Maturi oversaw the merger of the men's and women's athletic departments. When he came on board in 2002, the men's and women's athletic's departments were a combined $31 million in debt. A handful of years later, the athletics department is no longer hemhorraging money.

I'd be lying if I stated I agreed with everything Maturi has done. But it's a pretty tough standard if we force every public official to please us all of the time.

  • The Gophers men's basketball team survived Rodney Williams' cut. Charley Walters passes along rumors that Williams has trimmed his list down to Minnesota and Santa Clara. The Rivals 4-star wingman also had Connecticut, Memphis and Kansas on his list.
  • Speaking of potential 2009 recruits, the Gonzage diehards are calling this weekend "huge" for Gonzaga basketball. Why? Minnesota product Sam Dower is visiting.
  • If you weren't here yesterday, the 2008-09 men's basketball schedule was released. I predicted more than 20 wins. Too many?
  • Tubby Smith is apparently enjoying the Republican National Convention. He was spotted at a Maker's Mark party for GOP delegates.
  • Speaking of Tubby Smith, I'm continually impressed with his character. Per this report from UK blogger Jerry Tipton, the father of potential UK recruit Daniel Orton phoned Minnesota's coach to get his take on the the WIldcats and Billy Gillispie. This, my maroon and gold friends, is class:

    "He was telling me they really, really love the players," said Larry Orton, who originally got acquainted with Smith when Smith coached at Tulsa. " . . . And he really liked Billy Gillispie."

    Smith told Larry Orton that Gillispie "was a very good coach, a very good up-and-coming coach," Larry Orton said.

    Larry Orton took Smith at his word. "I thought he told me the truth," the elder Orton said before adding, "I kind of can tell."