Thursday, February 2, 2012

Joel Maturi: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and the Unknown

By Jason Rossow of

Joel Maturi came to the "U" in the summer of 2002, and leaves the Gopher athletic department 10 years later with mixed results.

The Good

  • Gophers won four national titles under his watch: two in women's hockey, one in men's hockey and one in wrestling
  • Gopher football was brought back to campus entirely on his watch, and has the finest stadium in the nation
  • No major academic scandals 
  • Merged the men's and women's athletic programs under one umbrella 
  • Always was accessible and would answer every e-mail ever sent
The Bad

  • Emphasizing non-revenue sports over football/basketball/hockey (best rowing house in America)
  • Not getting a basketball practice facility built
  • Not getting Siebert Field upgraded quickly enough
  • The handling of Trevor Mbakwe's and Royce White's legal situations
  • Allowing Pam Borton to run the women's basketball team into the ground
  • Marketing: not a word I believe was in Joel's vocabulary
  • Extending Dan Monson and firing him in the same year
  • Extending Glen Mason and firing him in the same year
  • Extending Tim Brewster and firing him in the same year
  • Jimmy Williams being paid $1M and never stepping foot on campus
The Ugly

  • Glen Mason, who was a legitimate middle-of-the-road coach, was fired with no idea how he would be replaced. Maturi went against the "U," and stuck his neck out with the hiring of a tight end coach who had no head coaching or coordinator experience (Tim Brewster). He swung and missed badly. In his fourth season at the "U," Brewster's team lost a home game to a team that was only a couple of years removed from D2. He was completely ill-equipped to coach at this level, and it is 100% on Joel Maturi that the program went from mediocre and relevant to an embarrassment.
The Unknown

  • Maturi's legacy is not done yet. The Tubby Smith hire is looking worse and worse every year, but Tubby's legacy is still being written. Jerry Kill's success or failure will also leave a lasting reflection on Joel Maturi. 


  1. It should be mentioned, that the Men's Hockey title and the Wrestling title was in basically his first year....his impact on those titles=zero. The Women's hockey program had a significant advantage over every program in the nation and we won titles early on, again not much of his doing. The Men's and Women's hockey programs are no where near where they were 7 years ago.

    If you know J Robinson at all, you know that Maturi has had zero impact on wrestling program....the one consistent top program we have. J Robinson should be considered for the AD position. Then they can hire Marty Morgan to come back and run the Wrestling program.

  2. The men's golf team won a national championship in 2002, I believe under his watch. Either way, he had nothing to do with that and the team only exists today thanks to their championship and donors endowing scholarships.

    As for J.Robinson, he is now on his first year of his first multi-year contract, ever. Not a positive for Maturi to leave a top coach hanging each off-season, even if it is almost a sure thing that he was returning each year.

  3. Right, I don't think Jay would give Maturi an ounce of credit for the 07 title. Golf title is May, Joel came in June or July I believe.

    John Anderson & the baseball program are another solid team year in and year out for the Gophers, but John Anderson & Jay Robinson have been around far longer than Badger Joel.