Norwood Teague

Recent Articles

Pam Borton discusses her coaching past, her Team Women present, her undetermined future

Except for last year, Pam Borton and I have always had an “exit” interview at season’s end. We resumed our tradition last week, but at a local eatery this time and not in her coaches’ office. “I had 12 great years [as Gopher women’s basketball coach]. Lots of memories. I met a lot of great people, a lot of great staff members and players,” said Borton, who was fired in March after a dozen seasons. Continue Reading →

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Gophers AD dodges the diversity question

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I never attend an introductory press conference without my sixth sense, third eye and third ear. Without it, this columnist could not decipher such adjectives as “best” and “right fit” that always are used when a non-Black coach is introduced. The “White” adjectives flowed like maple sap April 8, when Minnesota Athletic Director Norwood Teague introduced new Gopher Women’s Basketball Coach Marlene Stollings at Williams Arena. He proudly told the assembled media,

including the MSR, that Stollings’ hiring is the result of tapping “a very deep and diverse talent pool.”

However, during the Q&A session, when the MSR asked Teague if his “pool” also included Black candidates, it looked like he was mentally scratching his head in search of the right response: “Charles, I don’t want to go too deep into where and who we interviewed,” disclosed Teague. “I’m not sure I can tell you right now. Continue Reading →

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Greater diversity unlikely in post-Borton Gopher women’s basketball

 

 

Thus far, Gopher AD Norwood Teague is two-for-two in firing coaches in consecutive years. He fired Pam Borton as the school’s women’s basketball coach, seemingly less than 24 hours after her last game last week. She got the ziggy in less time than Tubby Smith got axed around this same time nearly a year ago. Borton was my fifth coach I covered as the longest tenured Gopher women hoops beat writer, She had her faults — no coach is perfect, and for whatever reason, she couldn’t convince too many local Black females to play for her.  

Former Gopher Leah Cotton, who played for Borton (2010-13), recently spoke to the MSR while in town for the team’s Senior Night March 2. Continue Reading →

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Inclusive candidates for Borton’s replacement

 

 

The news wasn’t even an hour old before a local daily newspaper posted on their website a list of possible candidates to succeed Pam Borton as Minnesota women’s basketball coach. Not one, however, of the eight current head coaches and six assistant coaches suggested for the position was of color. The Gophers probably hadn’t gotten back in town after last Thursday’s loss at South Dakota State before Minnesota AD Norwood Teague simply inserted the final date on Borton’s “Dear Jane” dismissal letter — the same type letter that former coach Tubby Smith received last year. Every time I saw Teague at a Gopher game during the season, he looked like he was just counting days, hours and minutes before he could zap her out. The former coach had been on shaky ground since last season. Continue Reading →

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Richard Pitino’s Gophers are struggling!

University of Minnesota this year has assistant basketball coaches now making $175,000. Last year under Tubby Smith, not one of his coaches was paid over $125,000. Remember, Jimmy Williams was not permitted to be an assistant coach for Tubby Smith for some frivolous violation. And the university battled in court paying big money to keep Williams off the staff. Athletic Director Norwood Teague fired Smith a year ago because Smith suggested the program needed a practice facility. Continue Reading →

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‘Scheme of dreams’ unveiled post-Tubby

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Former University of Minnesota AD Joel Maturi once likened the rise in upgrading college athletic facilities to “an arms race.” However, it might be better termed as keeping up with the Joneses. Current U of M AD Norwood Teague pledged in July that he would be “aggressive and committed” to building a new on-campus athletic facility. “We need this,” he said of the $190 million proposed football, basketball and training facility. The “Taj Ma-Norwood” is much grander in scale than the promised practice facility that never came to former Gopher men’s basketball coach Tubby Smith while he was here. But somehow, just a few months after firing Smith, Teague can now unveil his privately-funded “Scheme of dreams.”

Somehow such dollars are finding their way to Gopherville now that a White coach is on the sidelines? Continue Reading →

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U of M loses ground in athletics racial hiring — Already near the bottom, under Teague it’s getting worse

 

 

Diversity in the University of Minnesota’s athletics administration is still a four-letter word: None. After Richard Lapchick’s annual “College Sport Racial and Gender Report Card” came out in July, we asked Gopher AD Norwood Teague to grade his department’s diversity, since Lapchick overall gave college sport a B. Teague couldn’t bring himself to do so. You really can’t blame him, though, especially since after he took over last July he hasn’t hired any Blacks in any key decision-making roles. Lapchick pointed out that college sport has a lower racial hiring grade than pro sports. “The greatest number of career prospects are in college sport rather than professional sport because of the number of jobs available,” he said. Continue Reading →

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Congratulations, Tubby!

 

 
 Texas Tech hires Tubby Smith while U of M keeps looking

There is no mystery about the well-designed plan to oust six-year U of M Gopher men’s basketball Head Coach Tubby Smith. Well designed, but ill-advised and poorly executed, as seen in various Star Tribune headlines Monday, March 25 through Monday, April 1. 25th: “Firing Smith would be big mistake by Gophers” (Sid Hartman)

26th: “Tubby out, U search in high gear” (Dennis Brackin)

26th: “U: time for a change”

26th: “Tubby’s best not enough”

27th: “Mn in position like sleeping giant”

28th: “Search moves on; Smart to stay at VCU”

29th: “U leaders mold coaching network”

30th: “Stop fretting, Flip [Saunders] is the right fit”

31st: “Flip says no to U”

1st: “Tubby Smith to Texas Tech; Minnesota search continues”

1st: “Minnesota basketball coaching job: Who wants it?”

Have you wondered, as I have, as to why, even when the Gophers were 15-1, the Star Tribune’s little lady from North Carolina [by way of short stints — after graduating from college — at the Boston Globe and the Detroit Free Press] was so hostile in her sports coverage of U basketball? Sources within the U as well as Minneapolis sports scene movers and shakers enable us to connect the dots. The announcement that Tubby found a new job April 1 at Texas Tech was no April Fool’s joke. Continue Reading →

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Another View Extra — Coaching Gopher basketball a career killer

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

 

Only two coaches in Minnesota men’s basketball history have ever led teams to a national championship: Clem Haskins won two NIT crowns in the 1990s, and Tubby Smith won the 1998 NCAA title at Kentucky. Both Black men have the most 20-win seasons: seven for Haskins and five for Smith. However, both men also have the dubious honor to have been fired at Minnesota. Despite a 511-226 career record in 22 seasons, Smith unfortunately is a victim of college sports’ “What have you done for me lately?” philosophy. “When you let a guy go with the character and the skill of Tubby Smith, you better have an idea of somebody who can turn things around, and I don’t know of any of the elite coaches [seeking the Gophers job],” says Washington, D.C. radio host Mark Gray.  “I don’t know what direction they are going, but you are trading a sense of value when you disrespect a guy who’s a Hall of Fame-caliber coach.”

Minnesota AD Norwood Teague thinks that the next coach will have an easier time than Smith did selling the idea to blue-chippers that playing in a “classic” Williams Arena, a place that only looks good when it’s full of people, is an urban hoopster’s dream. Continue Reading →

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