Norwood Teague Q & A: The long, winding road of a coaching search

  • Article by: Amelia Rayno , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 12, 2013 - 12:21 AM

Gophers AD Norwood Teague on the plans and discussions that led to hiring Richard Pitino.

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cav1234Apr. 11, 13 9:14 PM

Unfortunately, whenever someone in a position like Teague's starts an answer with, "I've got to be real honest," it's pretty much assured whatever comes out next isn't honest.

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corkytApr. 11, 1310:14 PM

How anyone can think NT isn't an upgrade from Joel MIACturi is beyond me. The last interview question was great as well.

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SeaSharkApr. 12, 13 3:22 AM

NORWOOD TEAGUE'S diplomatic answer to the women's basketball question--"We are constantly evaluating our programs and trying to help improve them every day"--suggests there is still the possibility he has the good sense to fire head coach Pam Borton. Joel Maturi's decision last year to reward Borton's failure to take Minnesota to the NCAA Tournament for three (now four) consecutive years with a 2-year contract extension was irresponsible and inexcusable. Maturi should have fired Borton when five players left the program in 2006. Instead, he hired a "people skills" consultant to reportedly help Borton treat players and athletic department personnel with basic common courtesy, and the rest is history: the team struggles to win half its games, no recent NCAA tourney appearances, and home attendance has fallen from nearly 11,000 per game to 3,000. The program has been in free fall decline since 2010 under Borton's tenure and Teague must fire her immediately to prevent the women's basketball program from hitting rock bottom. The Gophers women need and deserve a coach who has the vitality, communication savvy, recruiting and teaching skills, and decisive game management instincts to make Minnesota a consistent Top 20 program and legitimate national championship contender. Borton may sincerely believe that she meets all the criteria, but the team's four year regression provides justification for Teague to conclude that she doesn't and fire her. A recent Star Tribune editorial discussing Tubby Smith's departure observes: "By letting Smith go at this juncture, the U has established a demanding definition of success for Gopher basketball, one brimming with energy and determination to compete with the best." The U's refreshed standard of basketball excellence has brought the men's team a dynamic new head coach, and Teague should provide the same renewal ingredient for the women's team.

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kindaliberalApr. 12, 13 7:41 AM

I think the U and Teague are just bidding their time until Lindsey Whalen hangs up her sneakers. If they aren't thinking that they are crazy. Whalen locks up most if not all MN players and the fans will come back in droves.

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tbdbitl7881Apr. 12, 13 7:58 AM

Fascinating how many "non-answers" were in that Q&A. I like Teague, but he can wiggle out of answers with the best of them. Notice that he never answered whether he offered Flip, and that he would "rarely" put such restrictions on a hire. In any case, I think he got a great hire in Pitino however it shook out, and the future is starting to brighten for men's roundball at the U.

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m092157Apr. 12, 1312:01 PM

Whether or not Teague like, this is his hire, and Pitino better produce positive results both in recruiting and winning right away. He gambled big time when he hired this young man based not so much proven coaching record, but his father's body of work. But he forgot one thing, Big Ten is not a conference for unproven young coaches to build up their resumes and gain experience like Virginia and Shaka whatever--it's the REAL DEAL; the premier conference of college mens' BB, and we no gonna cut him or his young coach any slack at all, as we expect bigger and better things from a get go!

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sophschoiceApr. 12, 1312:22 PM

You hit the nail on the head SeaShark! Now is the time to start fresh for the women's basketball program. If Teague does not dismiss Borton this year, I would like to hear a statement from him as to why he is retaining her. Borton pretty much said all is good with her and Teague in a Pioneer Press article last week, but there was no quote from Teague regarding her job security. On WCCO yesterday, Teague listed the 3 criteria he is looking for in new coach Pitino and Borton does not pass the test on any of them. C'mon Mr. Teague, hold the women's standard up like you do the men's. Give us all something to cheer about!

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oldmannickelApr. 12, 1312:36 PM

He has really been tip-toeing around some of these questions and has been giving the company lines, which is fine, but some real genuine honesty at some point would be nice. I don't need it now, but maybe 4-5 years from now after Pitino has won his 3rd or 4th national championship!

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acecatApr. 12, 13 4:15 PM

Thought it would be interesting (and telling) to compare Pam Borton’s performance to that of the fired Tubby Smith over the last six years. I cannot for the life of me understand why she remains the Gopher coach and is rewarded with extension. She deserves to be fired just like Tubby was. Here’s the numbers, with Tubby’s listed and followed by Borton’s in brackets. Overall record: 124-81 (102-90). Big Ten record: 46-62 (45-57). Big Ten tourney record: 7-6 (1-6). NCAA appearances: 3 (2). Average Big Ten finish: 7th (7th). Teague put a lot of emphasis on success on the conference level. If you look at Borton, her last four teams have placed 11th, 9th, 8th and 8th on the Big Ten standings and no NCAA tourneys. The only team to lose more games that Minnesota over that four-year span is Indiana. Attendance and media interest have plummeted. Talk to high school coaches and they don’t have respect or confidence in Borton. Her alumni don’t support her. Yet, she stays and stays and the program sinks down and down. So sad. The women and girls of Minnesota deserve better. Why did Teague dodge the question?

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