Gopher Softball 2020

MplsGopher

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And .... Northern Lights isn't even a top 10 club program in the nation. Yes, they have produced some elite players. I never questioned that.

Fine, I'm talking about recently. Maybe they were higher ranked in the earlier 2010's and 2000's.

There are lots of different national teams and rosters. I'm talking about the main, "varsity" team, if you want to call it that. Tori Dixon is usually on it, I don't remember is she's a starting middle, but definitely plays.
 

MRJ

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And .... Northern Lights isn't even a top 10 club program in the nation. Yes, they have produced some elite players. I never questioned that.

Fine, I'm talking about recently. Maybe they were higher ranked in the earlier 2010's and 2000's.

There are lots of different national teams and rosters. I'm talking about the main, "varsity" team, if you want to call it that. Tori Dixon is usually on it, I don't remember is she's a starting middle, but definitely plays.

The national team roster rotates based on matchups and availability. That's why the roster is mostly a pool of players and changes on a regular basis.

And you're right about the recent downturn. Seems like the past few years the overall level of talent has dipped somewhat.

With that said, Minnesota has long been a hot-bed of volleyball prospects, even with the recent downturn.

Even with that said, the state still regularly produces extremely high level talent that does well at every level of the sport (NCAA Divisions I, II and III and professionally).

Ask coach McCutcheon or any other college coach at any level and they'll tell you the same thing.
 

MplsGopher

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The national team roster rotates based on matchups and availability. That's why the roster is mostly a pool of players and changes on a regular basis.

And you're right about the recent downturn. Seems like the past few years the overall level of talent has dipped somewhat.

With that said, Minnesota has long been a hot-bed of volleyball prospects, even with the recent downturn.

Even with that said, the state still regularly produces extremely high level talent that does well at every level of the sport (NCAA Divisions I, II and III and professionally).

Ask coach McCutcheon or any other college coach at any level and they'll tell you the same thing.
I still think you're over selling it.

If you asked McCutcheon "does Minnesota producea few high level players every year", the answer would be yes. But that's not what you're making it out to be, in my reading of your opinions. To me, it reads like you're saying Minnesota players are starting on every top 15 roster in the nation. Which isn't anywhere close to true.

Even look at our own roster. Our starting eight (including DS) will likely only have two Minnesota players, in McGraw and Kilkelly.

The setter on Wisconsin is a great player. None on Penn St, none on Nebraska. Florida, Texas, or top PAC teams. I probably missed one or two, but it's not a plethora.
 

MRJ

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I still think you're over selling it.

If you asked McCutcheon "does Minnesota producea few high level players every year", the answer would be yes. But that's not what you're making it out to be, in my reading of your opinions. To me, it reads like you're saying Minnesota players are starting on every top 15 roster in the nation. Which isn't anywhere close to true.

Even look at our own roster. Our starting eight (including DS) will likely only have two Minnesota players, in McGraw and Kilkelly.

The setter on Wisconsin is a great player. None on Penn St, none on Nebraska. Florida, Texas, or top PAC teams. I probably missed one or two, but it's not a plethora.

Now you're moving the goalposts. And I agree with you that there has been a recent downturn in the talent produced by the state. Whether that remains the case has yet to be determined.

However, this entire conversation started because you made the assertion that Minnesota wasn't a particularly good volleyball state.

I'll invite you to go back and look at the 2015 and 2016 Gopher Final Four teams, which were absolutely loaded with Minnesota players. In fact, the bulk of those rosters and key players were almost exclusively Minnesota players. Same for Hebert's teams in 2003, 2004 and 2009.

One of the very reasons McCutcheon came here to coach was because of the strong volleyball culture and talent the state produces. And he smartly built up his program using Minnesota players. The rosters prove it.

It's only in the past few years McCutcheon has recruited heavily outside of Minnesota, so trust me, he fully understands the level of talent Minnesota has regularly produced.

Do they recruit Minnesota exclusively? No, but no coach is going to stick all their eggs in one basket, that's why the schools you mention typically also recruit nationally.

Are there five star recruits flying out of the woodwork? No, but to suggest Minnesota has been and is somehow devoid of talent is just flat wrong.

Do Texas and California produce more? Obviously. California has a population of 40 million people and Texas has a population of 29 million. Simple numbers tell you there is going to be more talent there.

Minnesota has a population of about 5.6 million and still produces players who become All-Americans, head to Final Fours and regularly make the national team pool. Those are just facts.
 

MplsGopher

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Now you're moving the goalposts. And I agree with you that there has been a recent downturn in the talent produced by the state. Whether that remains the case has yet to be determined.

However, this entire conversation started because you made the assertion that Minnesota wasn't a particularly good volleyball state.

That's not what I said. Certainly is not what I meant to imply.

What I meant was: it's a good volleyball state, but not any kind of national feeder level of state, like California or Texas.

I'll invite you to go back and look at the 2015 and 2016 Gopher Final Four teams, which were absolutely loaded with Minnesota players. In fact, the bulk of those rosters and key players were almost exclusively Minnesota players. Same for Hebert's teams in 2003, 2004 and 2009.

One of the very reasons McCutcheon came here to coach was because of the strong volleyball culture and talent the state produces. And he smartly built up his program using Minnesota players. The rosters prove it.

It's only in the past few years McCutcheon has recruited heavily outside of Minnesota, so trust me, he fully understands the level of talent Minnesota has regularly produced.

Do they recruit Minnesota exclusively? No, but no coach is going to stick all their eggs in one basket, that's why the schools you mention typically also recruit nationally.

Are there five star recruits flying out of the woodwork? No, but to suggest Minnesota has been and is somehow devoid of talent is just flat wrong.

Do Texas and California produce more? Obviously. California has a population of 40 million people and Texas has a population of 29 million. Simple numbers tell you there is going to be more talent there.

Minnesota has a population of about 5.6 million and still produces players who become All-Americans, head to Final Fours and regularly make the national team pool. Those are just facts.
I don't think there's much more point in me arguing this with you.

Nothing you state above is incorrect. Though unless you can find me a direct quote from McCutcheon, I somewhat doubt he came here because of the ability to recruit Minnesota players specifically. I think he came here because we wanted a national contender, we have a tremendous fanbase, and were willing to pay him and provide for him like a national contender.

At the same time, I'm correct - at the very least in the last few years - which you don't disagree with.
 


MRJ

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That's not what I said. Certainly is not what I meant to imply.

What I meant was: it's a good volleyball state, but not any kind of national feeder level of state, like California or Texas.


I don't think there's much more point in me arguing this with you.

Nothing you state above is incorrect. Though unless you can find me a direct quote from McCutcheon, I somewhat doubt he came here because of the ability to recruit Minnesota players specifically. I think he came here because we wanted a national contender, we have a tremendous fanbase, and were willing to pay him and provide for him like a national contender.

At the same time, I'm correct - at the very least in the last few years - which you don't disagree with.

McCutcheon didn't come here simply because of any one reason. Like all coaches, he came here for a number of reasons.

One big one was that his wife is a Minnesota native (and was an NCAA Volleyball All-American at UCLA). All the other factors you mention also played a role, but Minnesota is an attractive job for a number of reasons, including the quality of players it typically has produced, the commitment of the fanbase, the commitment of the university and its history of challenging for top billing in the nation's best conference.

All of those make it a great job, one which has led McCutcheon to pass on other job openings, including Stanford which opened up a few years back.

Not that any of that matters to the point of this thread, which is that Minnesota is a better volleyball state than softball state. In that regard, there is no argument.

The Minnesota softball job is a much more challenging gig for a number of reasons, many of which both of us fully realize. Tough weather, being on the road for extended periods, not as many top-flight recruits and so on.

Thankfully, the program has built itself up, has a great home field advantage and a rabid (if not small) fan base. They've also won a bunch of conference titles and have gone to Super Regionals and a WCWS to boot.

Gotta find somebody that can keep that momentum rolling while also being able to understand the difficulties of the job.
 

4EverAGopher

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Others not previously mentioned Minnesota Volleyball players are Jordan Thompson at the U of Cincinnati (USA player) and the Orr Setters at Iowa and Nebraska. Also, the two setters Sidney Hilley and Izzy Ashburn at Wisconsin. Yes Minnesota has and will continue to produce outstanding Volleyball athletes.

Anyway, if Brandner and Partain are not coming back we are missing two of the Gophers best hitters over the past years. Not trying to take away from those returning, but how we easily forget the struggles we had at the plate. Just saying, some of the Seniors were not producing last couple seasons like we would have hoped for. Sure it is nice they decided to return and got the opportunity, but we need a lot of help with the bats.

Question for me is.....in any sport, have there been many Head Coaches that have transferred and NOT RECEIVED BETTER PAY with their new position? It is a safe bet IMO that money certainly plays some type of role if not a major role in all of these final decisions. It does not just happen in college softball but "all sports". Take a look at professional players salaries. Now that is a JOKE!!!!
 

MplsGopher

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Not that any of that matters to the point of this thread, which is that Minnesota is a better volleyball state than softball state. In that regard, there is no argument.

The Minnesota softball job is a much more challenging gig for a number of reasons, many of which both of us fully realize. Tough weather, being on the road for extended periods, not as many top-flight recruits and so on.

Thankfully, the program has built itself up, has a great home field advantage and a rabid (if not small) fan base. They've also won a bunch of conference titles and have gone to Super Regionals and a WCWS to boot.

Gotta find somebody that can keep that momentum rolling while also being able to understand the difficulties of the job.
Right, let's bring it back to softball.

The bolded was the point of why I said it in the first place. I don't think McCutcheon has any need or even desire to fill up the Gophers with Minnesota players. The rosters the last few years certainly don't reflect that. I think he wants to recruit nationally, go after top ranked classes, and compete for national titles, which will require he continue to grab players from California, Texas, and the great lakes areas.

I don't see why it can't be the same in softball.

The main weakness, as you noted, would be the amount of playing on the home field and the crowds. I don't know what softball attendance looks like nationally, but guessing only a handful of programs in the nation routinely attract over 1000 fans per game.

So if girls could come here to compete for national titles, regardless of the weather or travel, I think they would consider it.


This is all I'm getting at.
 

MplsGopher

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and the Orr Setters at Iowa and Nebraska. Also, the two setters Sidney Hilley and Izzy Ashburn at Wisconsin.
I did specifically mention Hilley for Wisconsin.

I thought I have read rumors of some dislake/fued between the Orr family and Minnesota volleyball (or perhaps McCutcheon specifically?). For a different thread or PM.

Anyway ...
 



ClassOf98Gopher

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Nobody bit on commenting on my Lindaman theory from this morning (see above). Probably smart. It would only stir bad feelings.

I am going to try to pivot to the future and focus on the 2021 team and message board going forward.
 

4EverAGopher

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Hate to say it, but I feel you need a HIGHLY NOTABLE/LIKEABLE coach willing to come here and take over this program. They have to be "recognized" and successful, able to recruit (sell the program), and know how to and be willing to "build" a program. Be able to "live and breathe" the Minnesota Softball Program no matter the challenges that come before them.

We have proven Minnesotan's can play softball at a very high level no matter our weather. However, WE NEED TWO or more starting pitchers. That is no hidden secret with those programs that have much success. Glad Pease transferred in and hope she stays here. Fiser and her are both much needed next season.

Would Lindeman be coming back to Minnesota? Wow that would be some great news. Is it possible and wishful thinking on my part? Probably....

Yes, look where the Volleyball program is? Do you think the hiring of Hugh McCutheons's has anything to do with that? YOU BETCHA!!! Granted his wife's family is from here and if not we more than likely would not have seen him hired and the present success of this program.

I can argue another program at the University that is going backwards after much success. The right Head Coach is not in place and therefore the recruiting IMO has suffered. This program has been down for over 4 years. Sad to be one of the top 5 in the NCAA and lucky to break the top 10 now.

Proven/Likeable Coaches breathe sucessful programs. Am I wrong in my thinking? I believe it can happen here.
 
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Holy Man

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I slept on it.

What about this theory? Losing Lindaman was the one unforgivable sin that Coyle could not get over. It wasn’t a firing sin. The WCWS, the record GPA, the development of under-recruited players - especially DenHartog but others as well, the hiring of Reitcovich, the stop-loss of an Allister exodus in Summer/Fall 2017, the 2018 Big Ten Tourney championship, the general continued competitiveness of the team were all fine, but the Lindaman transfer was so bad that Coyle would never make a stretch, not any little stretch at all, for Trachsel.

So she asked for a little to compete with another offer and he said “ya better take that other offer.”

I am not adjudicating which one of the two (Coyle v Trachsel) is more right in that scenario. To me it’s close. That Lindaman loss was so terrible. But I am a touch more forgiving than some on that issue because it’s not like she went to Michigan. I mean Florida could not be more different. Anyway, just a theory.

Nice theory after a good night's rest, but I'm not buying it. Very hard for me to imagine a pro-con list like that generating a fire/no rehire for one player's decision, no matter how good she is. Hard to believe anyone who has worked with young adults would allow the decision of one person to torpedo a career. The transfer was brutal but there has to be more to it than that. The fog around her based on this board is she struggled with some of the people skills necessary in that world. A head coach at that level is a PR person whether she likes it or not. Coaching is hard work and requires a set of skills way beyond just knowing the sport.

Pretty clear Coyle didn't want her back. Pretty clear she was blowing sunshine proclaiming her dream job, and by all accounts escaping town without talking to her players. Really bush league. If it's your dream job, you suck it up in a pandemic and financial disaster for the U. If she is your coach, you give her more than a one year extension. A pox on both of their houses. Coyle needs to own the decision and get an outstanding coach, but I don't have much sympathy for Jamie either.
 



MRJ

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Right, let's bring it back to softball.

The bolded was the point of why I said it in the first place. I don't think McCutcheon has any need or even desire to fill up the Gophers with Minnesota players. The rosters the last few years certainly don't reflect that. I think he wants to recruit nationally, go after top ranked classes, and compete for national titles, which will require he continue to grab players from California, Texas, and the great lakes areas.

I don't see why it can't be the same in softball.

The main weakness, as you noted, would be the amount of playing on the home field and the crowds. I don't know what softball attendance looks like nationally, but guessing only a handful of programs in the nation routinely attract over 1000 fans per game.

So if girls could come here to compete for national titles, regardless of the weather or travel, I think they would consider it.


This is all I'm getting at.

I actually think that both Allister and Trachsel have emphasized recruiting nationally (and internationally with respect to Sara G and Kianna Jones) in their times here.

Obviously, its good to get as many really good local players as possible and the program has had quite a few native Minnesotans that have contributed big-time to the program both now and in the recent past.

Sara Moulton, Sam Macken, Maddie Houlihan just to start along with others like Taylor LeMay, Dani Wagner, Paige Palkovich, Syd Fabian and so on all the way to the current group of Katie Kemmetmueller, Carlie Brandt and Nat DenHartog.

On top of that, the U has gotten some really good players from Iowa (Fiser and Lindaman) along with a few contributors from other nearby states (Wisconsin, South Dakota) as well.

Obviously, it comes down to who not only fits Minnesota's profile, but can also continue the trend of getting some good local players while adding others from around the country. I realize that's actually not much of a revelation since basically every coach in every state around the country has the same philosophy.

The bottom line is that the program has become much more of a national brand, so we've got that going for us.

Also, Coyle has demonstrated a decisive edge when it comes to hiring coaches. He seems to excel in that area based on early returns (Fleck, Trachsel and Motzko were quick, decisive hires unlike previous ADs who always seemed to be chasing the hiring process).

I'm anxious to see who Coyle decides on.
 

MRJ

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Another layer to the story with Trachsel.

After her supporters claimed she didn't receive the chance at a contract extension, it's apparently possible she did receive those and simply turned them down. See the link below

Obviously, this could be Coyle protecting his backside in this back-and-forth argument between him and Trachsel. But at least we now have two sides to this story instead of one.

Trachsel rejected two multi-year contract extensions
 


MplsGopher

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Would be curious to know the average softball head coach salaries in the P5 confs.
 

Hrothgar

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To me, there are 2 Gopher softball team puzzles. 1) Who will be the next HC? 2) What happened to Hope Brandner? (From being arguably the best non-pitching player on the team in 2019, she seems, from a MN sports perspective, to have disappeared off the face of the earth.)
 

dlw4gophers

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Would be curious to know the average softball head coach salaries in the P5 confs.
Looked up Hutchins on a Michigan search and it says she is getting $539,000.
Wisconsin $126,250. Those are the only two I looked up
 

newtogopherland

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Jamie had compliance issues starting her first year on campus. Her toxic personality and coaching style ran off the hitting coach from NM State after one year and then the All-American catcher. I am betting the AD had player & parent complaints piling up .... generally when a coach is sent packing it’s because they have become a liability.
 

rugger14

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Nobody bit on commenting on my Lindaman theory from this morning (see above). Probably smart. It would only stir bad feelings.

I am going to try to pivot to the future and focus on the 2021 team and message board going forward.

Because it is not accurate. Others have posted that there was a near mutiny after Jamie's first season and Coyle mediated a team meeting. To prevent multiple transfers, Jamie was supposed to change how she treated the players. She failed to do so basically flipping the bird to her boss...
 

MRJ

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Jamie had compliance issues starting her first year on campus. Her toxic personality and coaching style ran off the hitting coach from NM State after one year and then the All-American catcher. I am betting the AD had player & parent complaints piling up .... generally when a coach is sent packing it’s because they have become a liability.

Can't confirm any of this since I'm hardly an insider, but I can state with certainty that the Facebook thread regarding Trachsel's departure has comments from both current player parents and former player parents and their comments are, ahem, not complimentary.

In other words, it would seem she had plenty of issues behind the scenes...Have a feeling there is a lot more to this story.
 

newtogopherland

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I am not a huge fan of Jamie's, but I think that is a bit unfair. Her contract was up in May. She was offered a 1 (one!) year extension. Can you imagine Fleck's contract about to expire and we only offer him an additional year? She has the right to seek more than a one year deal for her own financial security. With her record at MN I am sure she expected a long term deal. A one year offer is pretty insulting and is tantamount to forcing her out the door.
According to this article she was offered a multi-year extension TWICE and decline TWICE. Don’t buy into the “poor Jamie” story at all ...
 

Holy Man

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Because it is not accurate. Others have posted that there was a near mutiny after Jamie's first season and Coyle mediated a team meeting. To prevent multiple transfers, Jamie was supposed to change how she treated the players. She failed to do so basically flipping the bird to her boss...

Is this the softball version of "we cooled on her"? :)
 


Holy Man

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Her salary at Ole Miss is 245K for 4 years. I don't think there is a way Coyle could match that.

A lot of money for a toxic personality. But the SEC schools have more revenue from the sport and a boatload from football. They have more they can pay. Jamie did a nice job of parlaying one WCWS appearance with a previous coach's players into a nice long term deal somewhere else, especially with the baggage she must travel with.

Odd thing I don't get is that if she is a bad people person, plenty of us are, why would she not surround herself and give responsibility to staff who are? Leadership 101 is surround yourself with people who can do the things you can't.
 

MplsGopher

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Mississippi State has baseball history and a really nice stadium. Got to be one of the nicest in college baseball.

Don't know how they rank in softball, comparatively. But I assume they're pretty good there too.

But point is, I'm sure that U of Miss wants to try to beat State in as many sports as they can. So doesn't surprise me that they'd throw relatively gobs of money at someone in a "obscure" sport.
 

MNsoftballfan

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According to this article she was offered a multi-year extension TWICE and decline TWICE. Don’t buy into the “poor Jamie” story at all ...

That certainly makes more sense. And the more I read the more I am happy about the change. Hoping Ritter gets the job.
 

rowdaboat

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Ole Miss isn't too bad, Kaitlin Lee was great for her time there. Pitching coach at Samford now, would be a good hire if Jamie brings her back
 





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