Coaching Changes says source they trust: Muss already sending 3rd party inquiries to Minnesota and ASU as well as several less realistic spots

TwistingMyMelon

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I've skipped over most of this so might be repeating some of this.

Muss isn't coming here. I would LOVE the hire but it's not happening. First off, we are seemingly too cheap to pay CBJ buyout, imagine that and then having to pay him $5m+. Second, the U has always been a huge stickler in sports for any minor issue. Muss hasn't been in trouble, but he's very outspoken and loud. The administration won't like that. Lastly, I think Coyle tries to hire lifers. Motzko, Whalen, CBJ, Ritter are just a few examples. He does not appear to be a guy who chases a shorter term mercenary.

Not saying I agree with all those "issues" but I think they are real enough to make that hire essentially impossible unfortunately.

So many astute observations in that post. Well done!

I never thought about whether Coyle had an inclination to hire "lifers" but I think you're probably right. That's why I always chuckled when some around here would say that a new AD wanted to fire an existing coach and hire "his guy." I'm confident that the last thing most ADs like to do is fire an existing coach and hire a new one.

I think you're likely right about the "outspoken" part. If you're talking about "outspoken" in a way that could be construed as critical of the administration, well, we saw what happened to Claeys when he tried that.

The "cheapness" part, at least when it comes to basketball, also is apparent. I think people forget that only 11 P6 schools in basketball also compete in D1 men's hockey (only 7 of those also field a women's D1 team). Most power conference schools don't have to worry about funding that competing sport. Given the cultural significance of hockey to this state, its participation rate among school aged children, and the fact that the sport provides unique and significant in-state intercollegiate rivalries, I don't see that ending anytime.
 
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Dave H

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He gets the chance to develop a class, ya stooge.

That isn't an answer.

But lets go with it anyways. So he gets not only next year but the year after then? I assume "develop a class" means he gets to see his first class, assuming they stay, to graduation? Is this true no matter the record? What if we are at the bottom next year does he still get that last year?

Again, I am not saying he should be fired or not (won't say that until the season is over) but let's not be vague here. There has to be tangible benchmarks to hit or what is the point? There will always be an excuse to some people to not fire a coach. The people now saying "he should be able to develop his first real class" will shift that to "but look at his current class they have all this potential!" even if the wins never come.

So while apparently it makes me a stooge to ask questions, I will continue to do so because I am genuinely curious about what the "Keep Ben" crowd is looking for. Is there a point where they will have seen enough? What is their benchmark for success each year he comes back? I have given mine for this year (make a serious run at an NIT berth) and I would just like the same. I don't mean anything by it, it is an honest question.
 


Dave H

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We haven't had a successful coach since Clem. So no, there is no reference from this century.

(I meant references besides us I am 43 years old I am well aware how things have gone)

Fine...give me an example from our extensive list of mediocre coaches how much it benefited us giving coaches more time when it was pretty obvious what their weaknesses and strengths were. Which group of fans (in the long run) were able to say "see I told you that guy was better than his record!"? Sure Tubby or Monson or Pitino were able to scrape a good year out of extended time then they all reverted back to the mean. That is part of the problem.

Hey I hope you are right! I want them to win enough that there is no doubt he earned another year. Won't take much more in my eyes! I get no glee from coaching changes and I much prefer my cynicism be wrong than right. (and I never had an issue with the hire in the first place) I am not asking for much, no ridiculous expectations...I am mostly asking for the same thing Clem gave us most of his time here. In a 4 year run there should be an NIT berth and a shot at an NCAA bid. I don't even need them to make the NCAAs just be good enough to be in the conversation. Now lets be fair, with the schedule the Gophers have and the down year the Big Ten is having the NIT berth should definitely be in the cards for this year. And to his credit we are on pace and as I said I think we can get there. So great...but then next year it has to be the next level not incremental. There are plenty of coaches out there that could put together a team to meet those expectations...of course we probably wouldn't hire them so yeah.
 

Dave H

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On the actual topic though I doubt Musselman has any interest in coming here...it just wreaks of a contract ploy.
 


forever a gopher

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The "cheapness" part, at least when it comes to basketball, l also is apparent. I think people forget that only 11 P6 schools in basketball also compete in D1 men's hockey (only 7 of those also field a women's D1 team). Most power conference schools don't have to worry about funding that competing sport. Given the cultural significance of hockey to this state, its participation rate among school aged children, and the fact that the sport provides unique and significant in-state intercollegiate rivalries, I don't see that ending anytime.
The hockey team makes money. The women's team is not a revenue positive team. But as a whole, the hockey program adds to the bottom line of the athletics department, it doesn't detract from it.
 

TwistingMyMelon

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The hockey team makes money. The women's team is not a revenue positive team. But as a whole, the hockey program adds to the bottom line of the athletics department, it doesn't detract from it.

The majority of schools in power conferences do not sponsor hockey teams so fans from those schools who want to attend a college game in the winter do not have that choice between the two. Don't you think that would tend to raise attendance at basketball games simply by default? When it comes to student attendees, not all students attending games are all that interested in the sport. Many do it primarily for social reasons. I know a young woman who attended the U of M and says she regularly attended the football games as a student. She has no interest in Gopher football (not much interest in sports period) and I'm sure she couldn't name a single player on the football team at least in recent years.
 

forever a gopher

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The majority of schools in power conferences do not sponsor hockey teams so fans from those schools who want to attend a college game in the winter do not have that choice between the two. Don't you think that would tend to raise attendance at basketball games simply by default? When it comes to student attendees, not all students attending games are all that interested in the sport. Many do it primarily for social reasons. I know a young woman who attended the U of M and says she regularly attended the football games as a student. She has no interest in Gopher football (not much interest in sports period) and I'm sure she couldn't name a single player on the football team at least in recent years.
Possibly. I would argue that's a bit of a stretch. Hockey contributes to the bottom line of the athletics department, giving them more resources, not less to attract a more expensive basketball coach. As with most things, winning cures all. If the basketball team was winning, the place would be packed. The hockey team(s) wouldn't have an impact on that, IMO.
 

bc2211

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(I meant references besides us I am 43 years old I am well aware how things have gone)

Fine...give me an example from our extensive list of mediocre coaches how much it benefited us giving coaches more time when it was pretty obvious what their weaknesses and strengths were. Which group of fans (in the long run) were able to say "see I told you that guy was better than his record!"? Sure Tubby or Monson or Pitino were able to scrape a good year out of extended time then they all reverted back to the mean. That is part of the problem.

Hey I hope you are right! I want them to win enough that there is no doubt he earned another year. Won't take much more in my eyes! I get no glee from coaching changes and I much prefer my cynicism be wrong than right. (and I never had an issue with the hire in the first place) I am not asking for much, no ridiculous expectations...I am mostly asking for the same thing Clem gave us most of his time here. In a 4 year run there should be an NIT berth and a shot at an NCAA bid. I don't even need them to make the NCAAs just be good enough to be in the conversation. Now lets be fair, with the schedule the Gophers have and the down year the Big Ten is having the NIT berth should definitely be in the cards for this year. And to his credit we are on pace and as I said I think we can get there. So great...but then next year it has to be the next level not incremental. There are plenty of coaches out there that could put together a team to meet those expectations...of course we probably wouldn't hire them so yeah.
Is that your checklist for every four year window, or at the start of a coach’s tenure?
 



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For the lurkers like me who hop on here for a laugh every once in awhile, we have people wishing we would have hung onto a coach with a .360 winning percentage in the conference that finished his 8th season in charge 6-14. A conference that year that had just one team make it to the second weekend of the tournament. These people longing for the days of inefficient shooting, 20-30 point blowouts and running the team’s guards into the ground to the point they’d be running on E down the stretch and into March (which he’s still doing at New Mexico). With checks notes, Treyton Thompson committed who’s now coming off the bench for the mighty Stetson Hatters and Kenny Pohto who’s an inefficient post for a mediocre Wichita State team.

Johnson will likely pass Pitino’s year 8 conference record in year 3 leaning heavily into a group of underclassmen. Pretty much everyone of real value on this team will be returning and they’ll add a top 10 high school guard to the mix. A team with an assist/turnover rate comparable to Purdue, no, take me back to the days of hero ball. Something is off about a coach that doesn’t have multiple players that have had run ins with the police and post explicit videos on social media.

A first time head coach particularly starting at this level with the cupboard as bare as it was would naturally have growing pains but in year 3 has a team that is showing promise. How many fan bases would be so desperate to run an alum off in that position? How much of the angst is about basketball and how much of it is political conspiracies that have absorbed some posters lives?
sorry if this is mentioned later, I just don't have time to read all of it right now, but Gopher Illustrated had this nugget today in a good article about all of the Gopher transfers

"Sam Freeman (Cal State San Bernardino). Sam is playing eight minutes a game off the bench of a D2 program out in California. Averaging 2.3 points and 2.2 rebounds a night."
 

Bob_Loblaw

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That's a risky strategy for a coach. See Steve Alford and Pierre Pierce. I'd guess that the cultural tolerance for that sort of thing is worse now than it was then.
Yep, I realize culturally it would put me under the gun. However, if I had reason to believe he was innocent, it’s the right thing to do.
 


MplsGopher

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A pure clickbait tweet from an account with 27k followers.

Generates 162 posts (before this one) on GH.

Good grief.

Bleed has you guys wrapped around his finger :ROFLMAO:
 




TwistingMyMelon

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"Sam Freeman (Cal State San Bernardino). Sam is playing eight minutes a game off the bench of a D2 program out in California. Averaging 2.3 points and 2.2 rebounds a night."

So, essentially, he may be mediocre but he has been remarkably consistent in that mediocrity across the levels of the intercollegiate sport (P6, mid-major, and DII).
 
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howeda7

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If Musselman is struggling at Arkansas, he won't do any better at Minnesota.

signed: a Minnesotan living in Arkansas
Who's asking him to do better? We'll all gladly except a struggling year like this in exchange for multiple Sweet 16's/Elite 8 seasons. Or even just one. Come on.
 

EasyThere Pilgrim

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In this day and age, the good coaches and program builders are able to right ships fast. I'd expect someone like Sprinkle--or Musselman--to do something similar here. The idea that a rebuild needs to take several years and include the worst two years in program history is so absurd and idiotic.

The other idiotic thing is this notion about "compliance." Musselman has done it cleanly by all accounts. Tennessee's your compliance problem in that conference.
Haskins' won-loss record was just as bad in his first 2 years. So no, this is not something so historic happening now.

You speak of "absurd and idiotic". But to me, absurd and idiotic is to care so much about the first 2 years to point of obsession. To me, it's the exact opposite. I COULDN'T CARE LESS ABOUT THE FIRST 2 YEARS. Fleck would have been fired by us and by Central Michigan if they were obsessed with the first 2 years.

You're going to keep screaming "Times have changed, times have changed !!!" But I guarantee you & most fans were screaming the same way about Haskins and everyone. And even though times have changed...that doesn't mean you don't build up a team over 3 years if you inherited a dumpster fire.
 
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Dave H

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Is that your checklist for every four year window, or at the start of a coach’s tenure?

Actually that is a really great question I guess I havent thought about it in the macro sense. For sure it is the expectations in the beginning when you are talking about a team that bottomed out like we did. A nice, steady progression back to relevancy.

After that it sort of will depend on other factors. If we are consistently in the conversation for the NCAAs and don't have a lot of drama and meltdowns and players getting in trouble I will probably be cool with it. I would think every class should have 1 good potential run in them though even if they flame out.

I dont expect us to be a top of the Big Ten squad...but we should definitely be in that second group more years than not if we are trending right. It takes time to get there and right now I just want the team to be back on the radar.
 

Dave H

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Yep, I realize culturally it would put me under the gun. However, if I had reason to believe he was innocent, it’s the right thing to do.
If you are wrong you lose all credibility, and likely end up out of a job. So the innocence should probably be more than just a feeling ya know?

I am just glad I never have to make decisions like that because as I said before either way you are screwed with a large segment of your fans.
 

Dave H

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Haskins' won-loss record was just as bad in his first 2 years. So no, this is not something so historic happening now.

You speak of "absurd and idiotic". But to me, absurd and idiotic is to care so much about the first 2 years to point of obsession. To me, it's the exact opposite. I COULDN'T CARE LESS ABOUT THE FIRST 2 YEARS. Fleck would have been fired by us and by Central Michigan if this was they were obsessed with the first 2 years.

You're going to keep screaming "Times have changed, times have changed !!!" But I guarantee you & most fans were screaming the same way about Haskins and everyone. And even though times have changed...that doesn't mean you don't build up a team over 3 years if you inherited a dumpster fire.

First of all, Fleck coached at Western.

Second, rebuilding in football (prior to the portal era) is not nearly as easy as rebuilding in basketball.

Third, Haskins didn't have the transfer portal.

You keep bringing up Haskins but you are conveniently leaving certain things out...first of all Clem had been a head coach prior to taking the job here. He was not some project coach hired in hopes of catching lightning in a bottle he was head coach from 1980-1986. He had a track record. He made the NCAAs twice, won the conference twice (though Gene Keady gets some credit there as he won the conference the year before Clem took over) and finished 2nd the year before we hired him. (made the 2nd round of the NCAAs that season) While I am sure there were some calling for his head early on (that is the nature of fandom many turn on a coach after a missed shot or errant pass) the truth is a fan could justify having patience with him because he showed he can in fact coach and recruit if given time. Ben has no such track record. He was not a successful assistant like Clem was under Keady and he was not a head coach before getting the job. Clem was exponentially more qualified than Ben is.

And again if you are going to use Clem as your marker Ben is still lightyears behind. Clem in year 3 went .500 in conference and finished 5th...when the 4 teams ahead of them all finished in the Top 15. They beat #5 Iowa that year, #1 Illinois, and #17 Ohio State. They made the NCAAs and of course upset K-State en route to going to the Sweet Sixteen after beating Siena. Ben on the other hand is nowhere near any of that. This team is mostly likely not even in the bubble conversation. Their marquee wins are what Nebraska and Maryland? Ben will have to go on quite a run to make your Clem comparison hold water.

You have a valid point, patience is a virtue. But stubbornness is a vice. Sometimes it can be way more beneficial to cut bait early then hold out hope for a miracle. I am not saying we are there, I still think he is going to win enough to stick. But if he doesn't, and they fire him, very few will look at what Ben has done and think it was a fool's errand to fire him or that we will regret it. We are likely the only team in D-1 that would even consider hiring him.
 



MonikerSchmoniker45

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That isn't an answer.

But lets go with it anyways. So he gets not only next year but the year after then? I assume "develop a class" means he gets to see his first class, assuming they stay, to graduation? Is this true no matter the record? What if we are at the bottom next year does he still get that last year?

Again, I am not saying he should be fired or not (won't say that until the season is over) but let's not be vague here. There has to be tangible benchmarks to hit or what is the point? There will always be an excuse to some people to not fire a coach. The people now saying "he should be able to develop his first real class" will shift that to "but look at his current class they have all this potential!" even if the wins never come.

So while apparently it makes me a stooge to ask questions, I will continue to do so because I am genuinely curious about what the "Keep Ben" crowd is looking for. Is there a point where they will have seen enough? What is their benchmark for success each year he comes back? I have given mine for this year (make a serious run at an NIT berth) and I would just like the same. I don't mean anything by it, it is an honest question.
You're a stooge for saying people, "don't have the balls" to answer a question that there is no answer for. The AD will fire Ben when he sees fit, but they knew what they were getting into and you have to let him develop players for at least until junior year, imo. I think it's more an eye test for the people in charge than a number to hit.

And they're playing better, albeit inconsistent, and he's recruiting good players. Why are we so worried about something out of our control when we should be sending positive energy towards the team?
 

Spaulding!No!

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You're a stooge for saying people, "don't have the balls" to answer a question that there is no answer for. The AD will fire Ben when he sees fit, but they knew what they were getting into and you have to let him develop players for at least until junior year, imo. I think it's more an eye test for the people in charge than a number to hit.

And they're playing better, albeit inconsistent, and he's recruiting good players. Why are we so worried about something out of our control when we should be sending positive energy towards the team?
Ben guaranteed MN wouldnt finish last. It kinda sounds like Ben didn’t know what he was in for. Just sayin…
 


Holy Man

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sorry if this is mentioned later, I just don't have time to read all of it right now, but Gopher Illustrated had this nugget today in a good article about all of the Gopher transfers

"Sam Freeman (Cal State San Bernardino). Sam is playing eight minutes a game off the bench of a D2 program out in California. Averaging 2.3 points and 2.2 rebounds a night."
Diamond in the rough
 


WorkingMyTailOff

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Am I the only one who is kind of bugged by Muss’style? I am hoping this young team with a pretty good point guard can finish strong and Ben can build this. He did inherit a depleted roster and I would also say the offense and designed plays are better than Pitino’s offense.
 

EasyThere Pilgrim

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First of all, Fleck coached at Western.

Second, rebuilding in football (prior to the portal era) is not nearly as easy as rebuilding in basketball.

Third, Haskins didn't have the transfer portal.

You keep bringing up Haskins but you are conveniently leaving certain things out...first of all Clem had been a head coach prior to taking the job here. He was not some project coach hired in hopes of catching lightning in a bottle he was head coach from 1980-1986. He had a track record. He made the NCAAs twice, won the conference twice (though Gene Keady gets some credit there as he won the conference the year before Clem took over) and finished 2nd the year before we hired him. (made the 2nd round of the NCAAs that season) While I am sure there were some calling for his head early on (that is the nature of fandom many turn on a coach after a missed shot or errant pass) the truth is a fan could justify having patience with him because he showed he can in fact coach and recruit if given time. Ben has no such track record. He was not a successful assistant like Clem was under Keady and he was not a head coach before getting the job. Clem was exponentially more qualified than Ben is.

And again if you are going to use Clem as your marker Ben is still lightyears behind. Clem in year 3 went .500 in conference and finished 5th...when the 4 teams ahead of them all finished in the Top 15. They beat #5 Iowa that year, #1 Illinois, and #17 Ohio State. They made the NCAAs and of course upset K-State en route to going to the Sweet Sixteen after beating Siena. Ben on the other hand is nowhere near any of that. This team is mostly likely not even in the bubble conversation. Their marquee wins are what Nebraska and Maryland? Ben will have to go on quite a run to make your Clem comparison hold water.

You have a valid point, patience is a virtue. But stubbornness is a vice. Sometimes it can be way more beneficial to cut bait early then hold out hope for a miracle. I am not saying we are there, I still think he is going to win enough to stick. But if he doesn't, and they fire him, very few will look at what Ben has done and think it was a fool's errand to fire him or that we will regret it. We are likely the only team in D-1 that would even consider hiring him.
I still don't understand the obsessing over the first 2 years. The expectation of instant winning from a first-time young coach who inherited a dumpster-fire. It makes no sense whatsoever to me.

We need a complete team. We need Ben's first recruits to become juniors. That's when good transfers might complete a team.

But this notion that the transfer portal should mean instant winning in years 1 & 2...even when inheriting an empty roster...is absurd to me.
 

EasyThere Pilgrim

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And in the Sweet 16 in Year 3 and a missed Lynch three from the Final Four in Year 4. If you think Ben Johnson is within multiple time zones of doing that you’re way past due for your reality check.
Well everyone on the the team is eligible to return next year. And Ben has shown he is capable of bringing good transfers (Battle, Cooper, Garcia, Hawkins).

Next year is the first time we could have a complete team. With Ben's first recruits finally as juniors.
 




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