The news was announced earlier this year, but the University of Minnesota will officially rename the Sports Pavilion after former Athletics Director Joel Maturi on September 2nd. The building will be officially known as the Joel Maturi University Sports Pavilion.
The official announcement will come before the Gopher Volleyball team takes on the Tennessee Volunteers on September 2nd. There will be a brief public ceremony at 5:00 before the 7:00 volleyball match. Signs above the west and south entrances of the facility will have the name “Maturi Pavilion” on them.
The renaming of the building comes not after any large donation by Maturi, but after a decision by the University of Minnesota Senate. The Senate All-University Honors Committee nominated Maturi for the recognition last fall and the Board of Regents voted to approve that request in its December meeting.
Maturi became the first-ever director of athletics for both the men’s and women’s programs on July 12, 2002 after their joining from two separate departments into one. While many Gopher fans have had issues with how Maturi handled the Big two teams of football and men’s basketball during his tenure, he did have successes in the department. Graduation rates reached what were all-time highs at that time; the budget was balanced; football returned to a new, on-campus stadium; and fundraising for facilities and scholarships increased. Minnesota won five national titles during Maturi’s reign winning the 2003 men’s hockey, the 2004, 2005 and 2012 women’s hockey and 2007 wrestling championships. The Golden Gophers also won 45 Big Ten or WCHA championships during his time leading the department. But it is true that the Maturi legacy will forever be tarnished by two words—Tim Brewster.
Additionally it is interesting that the University will rename one building after a former athletics director while monetizing the name of another arena across the street. One can only conclude that while the Pav hosts the most sporting events on campus with volleyball, wrestling, and men’s and women’s gymnastics calling the building home, they just don’t bring the eyes and TV attention that Mariucci or Williams will bring, thus the financial windfall for the renaming of one building and not for the other.