Gopher Nation has been delcared and now it is time for Gopher Fans to join!
I am convinced that we will look back on 2007 as the year the gopher bandwagon took off for the U of M's revenue sports. Non-revenue sports have been very strong for years, but the high profile sports have struggled to say the very least (hockey being the lone exception). Things have been bleak for Football since the late 60s and ugly for Basketball since the 80s (remember 1996-97 doesn't count).
But things are looking up!
Football has a LOT to be excited about. The affable and jovial Glen Mason was fired despite his stellar record of getting the Gophers to bowl after bowl. And by that last sentence I mean the stoic, boring and confrontational Glen Mason was fired because of mediocrity and consistent inconsistency. Glen honestly did a good job of moving the football program from laughable to respectable but he was clearly incapable of taking it to the next level.
- Enter Tim Brewster. Never been a head coach but has a proven record of a dynamic recruiter, and energetic guy who is currently saying all the right things and meeting with the right people. It is WAY early in his "career" but I have been impressed and I think he is capable of moving the program forward. Personally I LOVE how he is not afraid to talk about Pasadena. His first meeting with the team he had them chanting "Rose Bowl", he has a small splot of actual grass from the Rose Bowl that he's keeping alive and on display for his players and he's brining in big names to talk to his club and restore a sense of pride in the history of our program. Under previous regime if someone would have said Rose Bowl out loud in practice I imagine the entire Bierman building stopping, in complete silence as everyone looks at the crazy man who uttered the words. Not anymore Gopher Nation, say it loud and say it proud!
- Enter new stadium! Ground breaking should begin soon on a new outdoor, ON CAMPUS stadium. This can only help to sell tickets and attract recruits with a game day atmosphere unlike that of the HHH Metrodome.
- Enter new coach! Who will that be, who knows? But I like the excitement and anticipation of the process. My next post will be my list of candidates. But this program already has a foundation that should allow for success sooner rather than later.
- No seniors on this year's team. Some may look at that as a negative and some may see it as a positive. This is not a Sweet 16 caliber roster, but I also don't think it is nearly as bad as we saw this year. Best case scenario for this club is still only an above average Big 10 finish and possibly one of the last at large berths in the NCAA Tourney. Of course things have to fall their way a little bit but I do think this roster has enough talent on it to be respectable.
- The Barn is one of the most unique college basketball facilities in the country. It is a forgotten venue but that can quickly be restored with some success and a return to home court dominance.
- The Twin Cities has a quality pool of basketball talent. The next Gopher coach (much like his FB counterpart) will have to be able to keep in state kids. MN kids will not produce a Final Four run on their own, but there is talent here to supplement a few kids from other parts of the country. Recruiting services show 4 top 100 from the state of MN. The Gophers were able to sign just 1. The other 3 going to Kansas, Wisconsin and Marquette. Those are big time programs stealing our players. Stop that bleeding and things will start to turn for this program.