University of Minnesota

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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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Gopher fans’ website doesn’t play fair

 

Some all-sports websites and fan “chat rooms” are as fair and balanced as Fox News. MSR Columnist Ron Edwards recently was double-roasted by readers on GopherHole.com, a pro-Minnesota college sports website. Edwards is regularly featured on the editorial page. His column on former Minnesota coaches Clem Haskins’ and Tubby Smith’s treatment as Gopher coaches (“Was it Tubby Smith’s fault?” March 27) got reposted on the site and drew seismic-like comments, some of which crossed the line of fairness. It’s unfortunate that many readers on that site totally missed Edwards’ main points: Black coaches, whether in Minnesota or elsewhere, are unfairly held to double standards unlike their White counterparts, and many U of M Black players left the school with bad tastes in their mouths. 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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Children’s book written to help ‘tear down the walls of prejudice’ against mental illness

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

 

Mental health has always been, at the least, a touchy subject among African Americans. As powerfully as it can impact lives, it doesn’t help to ignore or, still worse, pass judgment on people who suffer mental problems. Accordingly, Linda and Nneka Onyilofor with illustrator Aaron Gilmore have created a remarkable children’s book, My Brother Adam: A journey with schizophrenia (Radiant Heart Press) that can help adults as well as kids gain a constructive outlook on the subject. For the authors, this professional undertaking is one of personal significance. They are moved to inform readers as a public service by family circumstance. Linda Onyilofor states, “So many people are not taught about schizophrenia, and the disease is misunderstood. Continue Reading →

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Fostering the ‘female warrior’ in sports

Athletics experts on nurturing strength in women and girls
 
I have seen over the years some athletes so mentally tough they would run through a wall when asked, get up, dust themselves off and repeat the feat. I’ve also seen some athletes who virtually were wuzzes — couldn’t handle the least bit of pain or saw adversity as higher than the highest mountain to overcome. Here’s the Carly Simon question — I bet you thought the former was a male, and a female the latter (buzzer sounds) — you’re wrong. Unfortunately the perception still exists that female athletes can’t be tough, resilient or competitive, and sometimes that perception is carried by females as well as their male counterparts. The University of Minnesota’s Tucker Center last month co-hosted a day-long Women’s Coaches Symposium February 7 at the school’s football stadium as part of the Women’s and Girls in Sport Week. 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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Women in sport films festival features legendary college hoops coaches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Besides Black History Month, February also honors the accomplishments of women and girls in sport. The University of Minnesota’s Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport for the past three years has held women’s film screenings at the Gopher football stadium to mark the occasion. Two films from last year’s ESPN’s “Nine for IX” series were featured at the 2014 Tucker Center Film Festival Feb. 6. Coach chronicles Rutgers Coach C. Vivian Stringer, women’s basketball’s winningest active coach with 900+ wins. Continue Reading →

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A long way from her Swedish family, Gopher center makes herself right at home

Spotlight on the Gophers 100

 

 

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

There are approximately 100 African American and other student-athletes of color this school year at the University of Minnesota. In an occasional series throughout the 2013-14 school and sports year, the MSR will highlight these players. This week: Freshman center Amanda Zahui B.

 

After sitting out last season after arriving at the University of Minnesota, one might think homesickness could be a common reoccurrence for Swedish-born Amanda Zahui B. But she says it’s not so: “I’ve been by myself since I was 15. I’m used to being away from my family,” the 6’-5” redshirt freshman center tells us. Despite her Patti Labelle declaration of being on her own, Zahui still misses her family. Continue Reading →

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Ever wonder how much college sports cost? Here are more numbers.

 

 

All 23 University of Minnesota sports teams generate revenue, but only football, men’s basketball and men’s hockey in the last two years have been profitable, according to reports supplied by the school. Each sport’s total operating revenue includes but is not limited to: ticket sales, state or other governmental support, NCAA/conference distributions, broadcast rights, program ad concessions sales, parking, licensing and advertisements, and endowment and investment income.  

 

After expenses, football ($32 million) in 2012 and 2013 made nearly twice what men’s hoops earned ($18.6 million) and thrice what men’s puck ($9.5 million) made.  The other Gopher programs, however, spent at least twice as much as they reportedly made:

Women’s hockey — $1.6 million in revenues; expenses — $2.4 million

Women’s basketball — $1.2 million in revenues; expenses — $5.1 million

Rowing — $874,000 revenues; expenses — $2.2 million

Women’s track/cross-country — $837,000 revenues; expenses — $2.4 million

Baseball — $767,000 revenues; expenses — $2.2 million

Women’s swimming & diving — $648,000 revenues; expenses — $1.7 million

Women’s gymnastics — $418,000 revenues; expenses — $1.3 million

Wrestling — $550,000 revenues; expenses — $1.8 million

Volleyball — $404,000 revenues; expenses — $2.3 million

Softball — $359,000 revenues; expenses — $1.7 million

Women’s tennis — $307,000 revenues; expenses — $975,000

Men’s swimming & diving — $294,000 revenues; expenses — $1.5 million

Men’s golf — $252,000 revenues; expenses — $1 million

Women’s golf — $232,000 revenues; expenses — $885,000

Soccer — $308,000 revenues; expenses — $1.5 million

Men’s gymnastics — $182,000 revenues; expenses — $1 million

Men’s tennis — $162,000 revenues; expenses — $896,000

Men’s track and field/cross-country — $377,000 revenues; expenses — $2.2 million

 

To those opponents who profess college sports spend too much and bring in little to show for it, these numbers support their argument. But for those who argue that women’s non-revenue sports (all but basketball and volleyball) fall in this category as loss leaders, their male non-revenue counterparts are just as much ‘losers.’

Finally, in the final analysis, running a Division I sports program is expensive. Based on the aforementioned figures, we now know just how much. Continue Reading →

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