UPDATE: The University sent out a press release Monday morning confirming Norwood Teague is the next athletics director. President Eric Kaler will introduce Teague at a press conference in TCF Bank Stadium Monday at 2:45 p.m. Check back to mndaily.com for updates.
President Eric Kaler announced Sunday the lone finalist to become the University of Minnesota’s next athletics director: Norwood Teague, the current AD at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Teague was one of about 40 candidates who applied to take over for Joel Maturi, who will retire when his contract expires June 30. Teague will visit campus Monday to interview with Kaler and the search advisory committee and will also meet with coaches, faculty and senior leaders, according to a press release.
Of the many search committees Mary Jo Kane has chaired at the University, including the committee that selected Maturi 10 years ago, she said Teague was the most prepared candidate she has interviewed.
Kane, who co-chaired the search, said she and the three other committee members were impressed by Teague’s integrity, his commitment to student-athletes’ on- and off-court success and his ability to recruit big-name coaches.
The committee unanimously recommended Teague to Kaler, she said.
“He’s clearly committed to making sure that we win at a higher level, particularly in the revenue sports, but that we do so in a way that honors the University … and the state of Minnesota,” Kane said.
Teague has been AD at Virginia Commonwealth since 2006.
With a budget nearly four times the size and with nine more sports in the fold, the jump to the University’s athletics department will be a big one.
Notably absent from Teague’s résumé is direct experience overseeing a football program — VCU doesn’t have a team.
Kane said that was a concern for the committee but pointed to his other experiences at athletics departments with football programs, especially his five years as an associate AD at the University of North Carolina.
She said every person who weighed in on whether Teague was ready for the job said the same thing: “He can handle this. He can handle the leap to the Big Ten. He can certainly handle football.”
Plus, Kane said, Teague won’t need to worry about building a football stadium or hiring a coach — TCF Bank Stadium is the newest collegiate football stadium in the Big Ten, and Jerry Kill is locked up for at least six more seasons.
“We feel that we have all the building blocks in place for him to oversee football,” Kane said.
Dave Mona, a member of a 23-member committee that advised the search, said Teague’s lack of direct experience with a football program struck him at first.
But Mona said he looks at the recent success of the VCU men’s basketball team as a good sign. The Rams have played in the NCAA tournament four of the last six years, including a trip to the Final Four in 2011.
“I think you have to judge on the basis of major sports and not any sport in particular,” he said.
According to VCU’s online biography of Teague, he led efforts last fall to construct a $10 million practice facility for men’s and women’s basketball. Gophers men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith has been lobbying for a similar facility at Minnesota for years.
Mona said he’s excited to meet Teague on Monday morning.
“It looks like — formality would be a little bit strong — but it looks like he is the candidate.”
—Derek Wetmore contributed to this report.
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