Gophers fans may need to Google Norwood Teague’s name.
He was a stranger to many before his name surfaced Sunday as the lone candidate to replace Joel Maturi as the University of Minnesota’s athletics director.
It might be a while before Teague becomes a household name with students on campus, but the pressure to win will permeate the moment he takes over July 1.
“Gophers fans are starting to get a little antsy,” junior Kelly Miller said. “It didn’t help that we had [former football coach] Tim Brewster telling everyone we were going to go to Pasadena a few years ago, but there is a definite pressure to win now.”
Teague will join Minnesota after a six-year stint as AD at Virginia Commonwealth, where he helped erect a successful basketball program. He was known for his fundraising prowess, heading a campaign to build a $10 million practice facility for men’s and women’s basketball and other sports.
Teague will now assume the role as the head of 25 sports at Minnesota — nine more than he oversaw at VCU.
“There is now a lot more responsibility in a larger scope than what he handled [at VCU],” freshman Alladdin Makawi said. “I think the responsibility [as an athletics director] is pretty much the same.”
Despite Teague’s success with VCU’s men’s basketball program, he did not oversee a varsity football program while at the mid-major school.
Miller said she thinks Teague will be able to overcome his inexperience with college football.
“When a guy is as successful as he has been … it carries over to other sports,” Miller said.
It’s no secret that Minnesota’s football program has struggled — nearly a decade has passed since the Gophers have sniffed national relevance.
In the 10-year tenure of outgoing athletics director Joel Maturi, the football team finished with a record below .500 five times. Maturi was committed to the smaller sports at Minnesota, and he has often been criticized for not prioritizing the school’s three revenue sports: football, men’s basketball and men’s hockey.
Freshman Don Mattia said the recent struggles of Gophers revenue sports should actually help Teague’s transition.
“If I was [Teague], it would be the best spot to come in because there are not high expectations coming from the Maturi era,” Mattia said.
Miller, a member of the marching band, said she understands the importance of supporting the smaller sports but is ready to see the Gophers contend in the major sports.
“I love the sports, win or lose, but it is frustrating to kind of have to expect losses,” she said. “It is important for Teague to be respectful of the smaller sports, but ultimately winning in the major sports will amp up the athletic department.”
Junior Ben Gonsior said Teague’s experience at VCU will translate to success at Minnesota.
“He worked his school at VCU from the ground up,” Gonsior said. “I believe he has shown what it takes to be a successful AD, and he is the man for the job.”
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