Scoggins: Glen Mason’s vision fundamentally changed look of Gophers football 25 years later

BleedGopher

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Per Chip:

I invited Mason to lunch to catch up with this being the 25th anniversary of his first fall camp as Gophers coach in 1997. And because a realization hit me the other day as I watched the Gophers practice inside their beautiful new practice facility: Mason and P.J. Fleck coached the same college football program in name only.

The program Mason inherited bears little resemblance to Fleck's current program, other than Goldy the mascot and "The Rouser" fight song.

Mason provided good coaching and a necessary kick in the pants for the school to understand that college football is serious business that requires deep institutional commitment.

"You don't take quality out of a program overnight and you don't put it in overnight," Mason said. "But once you have it, you've got to constantly fight to keep it."

Mason took over a program coming off six consecutive losing seasons with three Big Ten wins combined in three seasons before his arrival from Kansas.


Go Gophers!!
 

MNVCGUY

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Per Chip:

I invited Mason to lunch to catch up with this being the 25th anniversary of his first fall camp as Gophers coach in 1997. And because a realization hit me the other day as I watched the Gophers practice inside their beautiful new practice facility: Mason and P.J. Fleck coached the same college football program in name only.

The program Mason inherited bears little resemblance to Fleck's current program, other than Goldy the mascot and "The Rouser" fight song.

Mason provided good coaching and a necessary kick in the pants for the school to understand that college football is serious business that requires deep institutional commitment.

"You don't take quality out of a program overnight and you don't put it in overnight," Mason said. "But once you have it, you've got to constantly fight to keep it."

Mason took over a program coming off six consecutive losing seasons with three Big Ten wins combined in three seasons before his arrival from Kansas.


Go Gophers!!
Good stuff from Scoggins as usual. Mason absolutely should be seen as a savior of Gopher Football because he took a program that was a complete joke and brought it back to respectability. He 100% laid the foundation for where the program has gotten to and where it may get to in the future.
 

BilldGopher

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Coach Mason is why the Billds are Gophers.

His hiring was the first signal that the U's Administration was shifting their thinking to a positive attitude about revenue sports. Thanks to both Mark Yudof and Glen for turning the ship.

Good article. Worthy of many clicks.
 

Iceland12

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Wishing him the best.

"Glen Mason took a bite of pot pie at lunch last week and smiled.

"I had a hell of a spring," he said.

The former Gophers football coach is on the mend and feeling better after a couple of medical scares in March. He slipped on an icy sidewalk retrieving the morning paper and landed on his back.

"I'm in my boxer shorts and a bathrobe with my dog and I can't get up," he said.

Unable to stand and walk, he crawled to the front door and into his house, where he called 911. The damage: seven broken ribs, a fractured vertebra and internal bleeding that required surgery.

Mason experienced symptoms of a heart attack in that same week that prompted a battery of tests. No blockage or heart disease was detected, but doctors inserted an implantable cardioverter defibrillator as a precaution. He has had no symptoms since.."
 

Some guy

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Good stuff from Scoggins as usual. Mason absolutely should be seen as a savior of Gopher Football because he took a program that was a complete joke and brought it back to respectability. He 100% laid the foundation for where the program has gotten to and where it may get to in the future.
Agree. He built such a good foundation that even the guy who is possibly the worst coach in gopher history (Brewster) managed to make 2 bowls in 4 seasons

People like the credit kill for building from nothing. But mason actually built from nothing and I would personally put 1999 and 2003 above 2014 and 2016 in my list of best seasons.
 


MNVCGUY

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Agree. He built such a good foundation that even the guy who is possibly the worst coach in gopher history (Brewster) managed to make 2 bowls in 4 seasons

People like the credit kill for building from nothing. But mason actually built from nothing and I would personally put 1999 and 2003 above 2014 and 2016 in my list of best seasons.
Yeah, Mason took a program that was a laughingstock of college football and hadn't been relevant since the 60s. He took that program and made them respectable again even if he never could get quite over the hump.

Kill inherited a mess and had to bring it back to Mason levels but he wasn't starting from the very bottom in the way that Mason was when he took the job.

Both did good things but both had a ceiling they couldn't quite bust through to bring the program from also ran to contender. Fleck seems to be on the verge of finally making that happen.
 

Some guy

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Yeah, Mason took a program that was a laughingstock of college football and hadn't been relevant since the 60s. He took that program and made them respectable again even if he never could get quite over the hump.

Kill inherited a mess and had to bring it back to Mason levels but he wasn't starting from the very bottom in the way that Mason was when he took the job.

Both did good things but both had a ceiling they couldn't quite bust through to bring the program from also ran to contender. Fleck seems to be on the verge of finally making that happen.
Mason was so good that he took over a program that has been over .500 just 6 times since the 70s and was fired for losing a bowl game.

He raised expectations so high that he got himself fired (and IMO it was the right time to move on). And then when he left he has been a great ambassador and supporter of the program.
 

upnorthkid

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Mason was so good that he took over a program that has been over .500 just 6 times since the 70s and was fired for losing a bowl game.

He raised expectations so high that he got himself fired (and IMO it was the right time to move on). And then when he left he has been a great ambassador and supporter of the program.
this is the part about him i'll always respect too. never has seemed bitter outwardly, shows the program praise when it deserves it. his teams are why i grew up a gopher fan
 

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this is the part about him i'll always respect too. never has seemed bitter outwardly, shows the program praise when it deserves it. his teams are why i grew up a gopher fan
Imagine a fired coach not being publicly bitter about his previous team? Mason and Brewster both took the high road.
 



MNVCGUY

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Imagine a fired coach not being publicly bitter about his previous team? Mason and Brewster both took the high road.
So did Claeys for the most part. The only guy who hasn’t taken the high road is the one who wasn’t even fired but decided to “retire”.
 

Schnauzer

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Mason is a classic example of taking the high road. He had a vision and he executed pretty well on that vision.

He did shoot himself in the foot a bit here and there (seemed to be at war with the students at times, openly flirted with other jobs which undoubtedly hurt recruiting, and worst of all built a reputation of stealing defeat from the jaws of victory).

But as others have mentioned, the balance sheet leans heavily on the side of positivity with Mason. It would have been interesting to see what he could have done with the new stadium and practice facility.
 


MNVCGUY

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Good article. I have always liked Mason. I still think he did not deserve to get fired and he is the father of the new stadium.
It was time for Mason to go when he was fired. I will always split Mason's time at MN into two distinct periods, pre Ohio State job opening and post Ohio State Job opening.

Mase had things rolling and I truly believe he thought he was going to get the Ohio State job when it came open after the 2000 season. When he was passed over for Tressell he lost his fire for coaching and things started to progress downhill until he was eventually fired after the 2006 season.

There was never any secret that Ohio State was his dream job and once he knew that he was almost certainly never going to get the opportunity to be the head coach there it was the beginning of the end for him as a coach.

Shame really. He might have been able to take things to another level but we will never know how it all would have played out if the Ohio State thing hadn't happened when it did.
 



Goldmember

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When he was passed over for Tressell he lost his fire for coaching and things started to progress downhill until he was eventually fired after the 2006 season.
Mason’s Gophers beat Oregon, Arkansas, and Alabama in bowl games after all that. All programs that had LAUGHABLY more resources at the time.
 

Some guy

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Mason’s Gophers beat Oregon, Arkansas, and Alabama in bowl games after all that. All programs that had LAUGHABLY more resources at the time.
Yeah. I think the end of mason’s tenure with the gophers was just simply a case of 10 years being a long time.

How many coaches in big ten history have gotten 10 years without ever finishing top 3 in the conference. And I know MN is in a different place than other programs….but 10 years with a ceiling of above average simply makes it hard to continue on at some point.
Just time to move on.
If we had kept mason I dont doubt he would’ve retired in 2012 (after he got one TCF stadium recruiting class all the way through). He never really was mentioned as even a finalist for another job after the gophers.

A play away from a shared conference title twice (99 loss to Wisconsin, 03 loss to Michigan). Closer than Kill, Claeys, and Fleck have been (as once the conference title game becomes a thing it is much harder to win a conference title IMO due to no shared title chances)
 




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