Nov 18, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers and Goldy huddle prior to the game against the Richmond Spiders at Williams Arena. The Gophers defeated the Spiders 72-57. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
This is the only time in recent memory Gopher fans emulate the world’s billion Catholics, waiting for the white smoke to billow out of Williams Arena’s chimney.
The Pope has been chosen, but Minnesotans await their next leader on the basketball court.
Once first-year athletics director Norwood Teague makes his announcement of a hire, which can come at any moment given the opaqueness of the search, we’ll know one thing.
Teague isn’t blowing smoke.
The Gophers have remained mum after word leaked of former coach Tubby Smith’s firing a week ago and officials are making sure the department is watertight.
However, Twitter and social media sites like it have given the average fan a voice – whether good or bad – and the majority of opinions claim the failure to get candidates like Shaka Smart, Fred Hoiberg and Flip Saunders is “embarrassing.”
Teague’s administration is busy on the ground floor, trying desperately to secure Gophers basketball’s foundation for the future. Do you really think, between offers and discreet conversations with coaches and agents across the country, that Teague has the time – or wants to use his time – to answer the fickle fans who can’t wait more than a week for a new coach?
Instead of understanding the tireless work that goes into this process, fans explode – creating a “Fire Norwood” account and claiming that firing Smith was already a bad idea just because the veteran, well-connected coach has an apparent offer in the works from Texas Tech.
Teague won’t stoop to the level of answering doubters when he’s busy trying to find the next big thing in college basketball.
If none of this has convinced you – understand that Teague’s job is to direct 25 programs at Minnesota, but college basketball is the second-most important one on that list (meaning it is the second-highest revenue generating sport at the University).
Finding the right coach means securing Teague’s own legacy as a Big Ten athletics director. This is the biggest hire he’ll make in his life – he cares about getting it right more than you do.