I saw more than a few Minnesota fans upset over the weekend about the news that Mike Sherels has not been retained on Coach Fleck’s staff.
P.J. Fleck has informed Mike Sherels that he won't be on his coaching staff. Sherels is hopeful that he can stay if NCAA adds 10th assistant— chipscoggins (@chipscoggins) January 14, 2017
In many ways the frustration I saw was completely understandable. Mike has gone (and continues to go through) so much in his health battles. On top of that he’s a U alum, a great coach, and by all accounts a wonderful guy. Mike is the sort of person Minnesota fans want coaching their favorite team.
As we as a TDG staff discussed staffing choices following Fleck’s hire there were two Sherels related thoughts that were unanimously shared:
- Mike should be on staff.
- There was no way it would happen until the NCAA's Football Oversight Committee approved a 10th assistant coach.
What 10th assistant coach?
What exactly am I talking about? Right now college teams are limited to 9 assistant coaches who can recruit and 4 graduate assistants who can provide teaching/coaching. Last October, the NCAA's Football Oversight Committee issued a proposal to allow the addition of a 10th assistant coach to NCAA Football staffs. This proposal was discussed and unanimously approved at the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) meetings last week.
In general, proposals announced as possibilities by the NCAA Football Oversight Committe in October which are then unanimously supported by the AFCA end up being officially adopted. While we don’t know that for a fact, it’s a pretty safe assumption at this point. The Oversight Committee meets this week and we should know soon whether that assumption is valid.
Why would waiting to hire Sherels make sense?
Mike is still going through a lot right now, but thankfully the news everyone is hearing is good!
Sherels is currently at Mayo Clinic recovering from major surgery to reconnect his intestines to stomach. He's hopeful to begin eating again— chipscoggins (@chipscoggins) January 14, 2017
While this is excellent news (having had a family member go through a similar scenario as Mike I can’t stress enough how wonderful his recovery is) it actually presents a reasonable reason for waiting until the 10th assistant spot is a reality to keep Sherels on. Honestly, it allows the business side of things and the personal side of things to work themselves out in harmony and on a fairly quick timeframe. And as far as we at TDG (or folks like Chip) can see, Fleck hasn’t hired a LB coach.
Gophers have not officially announced Fleck's staff but based on reports they don't have LB coach among the 9. 10th spot could be Sherels— chipscoggins (@chipscoggins) January 14, 2017
How is Sherels responding to Fleck’s decision?
It’ll come as no surprise that Mike is handling this like the stand up guy everyone knows him to be. Not only does he only have positive things to say about Coach Fleck, one of his first concerns when meeting with P.J. was to make sure Fleck knew what the PROGRAM needed.
Sherels sat down with Fleck last week and gave him a long list of reasons why Gophers football hasn't won consistently. Fleck took notes. ..— chipscoggins (@chipscoggins) January 14, 2017
Said Sherels on that meeting and sharing his insight: "Those [issues] to me were a lot more important than trying to get my job saved."— chipscoggins (@chipscoggins) January 14, 2017
Sherels on Fleck: "He’s been nothing but great to me. I don’t have a bad word to say about him. I really don’t."— chipscoggins (@chipscoggins) January 14, 2017
Mike is a class act all around.
Is Mike as the 10th coach for sure?
We’re not clairvoyent and we don’t have #sources on this. When I say the TDG staff is convinced Mike will be hired on as the 10th assistant it is nothing more than conjecture that we’d like to think is logical. We could definitely be wrong on this point.
We certainly hope we’re not. On a personal level I will consider it a mistake if Fleck doesn’t bring Sherels back once the 10th assistant proposal is officially ratified. In the meantime, I look forward to a (nearby) future when Mike continues his amazing recovery and is officially a member of the coaching staff once again.