MAGIC Blog: Gophers Update (9/22/14)

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MAGIC Blog: Gopher Videos in the Community

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Although it was the summer months, Gopher Athletics was still busy volunteering in the local community. Take a look at these videos as the Gophers volunteered with KidStop, at Evergreen Park and kicked off 2014 with the HopeDay Festival

Gopher Invitational a Success

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Our Big Ten title defense is underway! We have had our first team meeting, first compliance meeting, first practice, first practice round, etc...With four newcomers to the program, there are going to be many firsts this year individually and as a team. But only four days into the start of the spring semester, we had to be ready to tee it up against one of the best 14-team fields in collegiate golf at Windsong Farm GC for the Gopher Invitational.

The Gopher Invitational has had a long history, compared to many tournaments at the Division I level, dating back to Dellwood Hills CC, Hazeltine National GC and Spring Hill GC. The expense of hosting a tournament, memberships giving the golf course up for weekend and volunteer participation are all factors that make hosting a golf tournament a unique experience in college athletic departments. That is why it is paramount to have increased support from our fans and tournament sponsors in our state to make this a memorable experience for college golfers, coaches and spectators. We will all look back at the 2014 Gopher Invitational as the year the event was transformed into a "can't miss" college event for all teams in the NCAA, primarily thanks to the involvement of Keith Rachey, the new co-tournament director of the Gopher Invitational.

Volunteer participation tripled from the previous year to 121 volunteers over two days of competition.  Eight top-50 teams competed in the event, as well as five of the top 50 amateur golfers in the world. On Sunday, one featured group of three players, including defending Big Ten Champion Jose Mendez, had 300-500 spectators walking down the fairway with them.  Not only did we have more than 1,000 spectators throughout the day (free admission always), but there were plenty of notable members of our great golf state in attendance such as Patrick Hunt (2016 Ryder Cup chairman for Hazeltine National GC), Tim Herron (four-time PGA Tour winner and current PGA Tour member), Norwood Teague (Gopher Athletics AD), Reed Mackenzie (former president of the USGA) and many of our generous donors that show so much passion for Gopher Golf!  I want to publicly thank all the volunteers, fans, Windsong Farm staff and owners, Gopher Athletics department, coaches, players and my family for carrying out my vision for the event.

The golf was at a high level...a very high level!  Multiple rounds of 67-70 were shot during the three rounds in very difficult, windy conditions on the par-71, 7,200-yard layout designed by Lehman and Fought. On Day 1, our Gopher golf team chipped and putted the ball very solidly throughout both rounds only to have a few wayward tee shots result in a few scores higher than bogey. Our sophomore All-American and defending Big Ten Champion, Jose Mendez, once again led the way with an opening day 144 (+2), which had him in eighth place. Also playing well on Day 1 were two veterans in the program, Tyler Lowenstein and Jon DuToit.  Tyler, having played in more than 20 collegiate events over three years, started strong with a two-round total of 147 (+5) and Jon was able to score slightly better coming in at 3-over, 145. Our first team was firmly supplanted in third place heading into Day 2. Our team's home event is unique as we have the option of playing as many players as we would like as a coaching staff. I took full advantage of this, playing a second team that would also compete in the team and individual competitions. Runar Arnorsson, Riley Johnson, William Leaf, Daniel Luftspring and Charlie Duensing all competed in one of their first major college events at the 2014 Gopher.

I arrived on Monday at the course to overcast and windy conditions, already knowing that we moved some of the tees and pins around in pre-tournament course preparation to provide a challenge to all teams in the final round. It was going to be a battle and, rest assured, my teams are always prepared for all weather conditions and the grind. Chipping and putting would take center stage on Day 2 as the greens were more firm and the 15-20 MPH winds would make hitting greens and fairways even more difficult.  

I was so excited to look at the leaderboard after nine holes to see four of our players posting nine-hole scores of 33-36.  The teams at the top of leaderboard were all playing well so the back nine would be filled with drama for all teams. Baylor, California, Charlotte, New Mexico, Kent State and UAB all were in the hunt for top-five finishes, along with our team. We have come a long way in four years to be mentioned in the same sentence with perennial top-30 teams. While I covet the fact we have made huge progress in recruiting and player development, I have always held this program to high expectations knowing the strong tradition of alumni and former coaches associated with Gopher golf. 

Jose Mendez (fifth) and Tyler Lowenstein (tied for ninth) played great all day to notch top-10 finishes.  This marks the eighth top-10 finish in 14 collegiate starts for Jose Mendez. Matt Rachey played hard in the final round and birdied the 18th to post a 3-over-par score of 74. Jon DuToit and Grady Meyer both shot 77 in the final round helping our team finish fourth place out of the 15 teams competing. Our second team was led in the final round by two-time North Dakota State Class A Champion Riley Johnson.  He shot 70 in the final round conditions, which proved to be the low score by any Gopher in the 2014 Gopher Invitational. Rounding out the scoring on this squad were Runar Arnorsson and Riley Johnson (228), William Leaf (233), Daniel Luftspring (241) and Charlie Duensing (246). The second team finished 14th in the event, beating St. John's (Minn.), but more importantly they were all able to experience a golf course setup and feel the nerves of competing at the highest level in amateur golf. This experience will undoubtedly help in the preparation through repetition leading into the Windon Classic at Evanston GC, hosted by Northwestern University, played on Sept. 21-22.

I also have a few very important program announcements. First, after the Gopher Invitational, Jose Mendez boarded a flight to Japan to compete for his home country, Costa Rica, in the Eisenhower Trophy.  The Eisenhower Trophy has been tabbed as the "Olympics of Amateur Golf" and it showcases 67 countries with each country sending its three top players. Jose tied for 60th and Costa Rica finished 44th. What an honor for Jose, his family, his country and our program to be invited to compete. Also, I have named my new assistant coach. Justin Smith will be my second assistant coach in four years as Coach Tyler Stith was recently named the head coach at the University of Iowa. It is great to see our coaching tree grow and I am also excited to welcome Justin and his wife, Trish, back into the Gopher golf program. As a three-time All American and member of the 2002 National Championship team for the Gophers, Justin will be a valuable asset for many years to come. Read more about him here.

Lastly, thanks to all who came to the Second Annual Gopher Men's Golf/Gopher Women's Hockey Outing at North Oaks GC on Monday!

Fairways, Fairways, Fairways!

John Carlson

Paul Holmgren to Receive Lester Patrick Trophy

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Go Gophers!Paul Holmgren
Go Gophers!

MINNEAPOLIS ( -Philadelphia Flyers president and Gopher Hockey alum Paul Holmgren has been tabbed as one of two recipients along with Bill Daly for the 2014 Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States. 

"The award, one of the most prestigious in hockey, was presented to the National Hockey League by the New York Rangers in 1966. It honors the memory of Lester Patrick, who spent 50 years in hockey as a player, coach and general manager and was a pioneer in the sport's development.

The recipients will be honored as part of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Dinner on Thursday, December 4, in Minneapolis. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased at

Paul Holmgren, president of the Philadelphia Flyers, played 10 seasons for the Flyers and the Minnesota North Stars. Drafted 108th overall in 1975 by the Flyers, his achievements as a player were highlighted by scoring three goals in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final in 1980 - the first time a U.S.-born player scored a hat trick in a Cup Final game. He was also a 1981 NHL All-Star. He went on to serve as assistant coach, head coach, assistant general manager, and general manger of the Flyers before assuming his current position this summer.

Holmgren has been widely involved in furthering the sport throughout his career in various roles for USA Hockey. He has served on the U.S. Men's National Team Advisory Group since 2009 and was the assistant general manager of the 2006 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team. In addition, he served as the general manager of the 2006 U.S. Men's National Team and was an assistant coach for Team USA at the 1998 Olympic Winter Game and the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. As a player, Holmgren competed for the U.S. at the 1974 IIHF World Junior Championship and was invited to play on Team USA for the 1981 Canada Cup, but could not due to injury."

Holmgren played at the University of Minnesota during the 1974-75 campaign and helped the Maroon & Gold sweep the Western Conference Hockey Association season, winning both regular-season and playoff titles. The Gophers earned their second of three-straight NCAA Frozen Four berths that season and eventually fell in the national championship game.  A forward, he tallied 31 points (10 goals, 21 assists) in 37 games.  

-Pride On Ice-

As we get ready to embark upon another Big Ten season, we can't help but reflect on where we started and how far we've come through preseason and our non-conference slate.  We knew going into this season that it would be a challenge.  We have a tough schedule, both in and out of the conference, much of it on the road and we have a pretty young team overall.  Our players came in fit and ready to go as we went through 3 different preseason blocks: defending, possession out of the back and into the middle third and finally the attacking third of the field.  Each of these pieces has looked really good at times but there is a lot of work still to be done and we are taking everything a day at a time.  We know we have to continue to work defensively as we have given up too many goals in big games.  While we have scored in every game, which is great, we want to continue to create and finish a multiple opportunities in every game. Thirteen players have contributed at least one point already this season, 22 players have seen game action and 18 of those players have seen minutes in at least 4 of our 6 games.  We are growing and all 26 players on our roster #GiveEverything to help propel the program forward.  We are proud of what we are building but we are not satisfied by any means and are excited to jump into Big Ten play this weekend.

The Big Ten is one of the top women's soccer conferences in the country and it is a grind every single game.  No matter who has had what kind of season, on any given day, any team can beat any other team which is why we play the games.  As a whole, the conference has gotten off to a solid start in the non-conference portion of the season with some ups and downs as teams are developing their identity as we hit conference play.  We are excited to travel to Michigan for opening weekend.  Tonight, we take on Michigan, who lost a lot of talent from last year's team and has started 6 underclassmen (FR/SO)...we also start 7 underclassmen, so this should be a youthful battle and it is a match up that is always fun.  Michigan State is off to a tremendous start as they are undefeated in the non-conference portion of the season and they are scoring goals.  We will get to test our grit, our defensive battle and our ability to continue to score goals on the road in the Big Ten.  We are ready to #Give Everything in the Big Ten.

I think the strength of our team is our team.  As I previously mentioned, 13 players have contributed at least one point already this season, 22 players have seen game action and 18 of those players have seen minutes in at least 4 of our 6 games.  We are growing and all 26 players on our roster #GiveEverything to help propel the program forward.  Simone has had some big moments and is contributing a lot to our attack. Squires has been scoring goals as a freshman. Stainbrook doesn't have the numbers but is extremely consistent and helps us get dangerous in the attack as we connect through her. Thyken's presence and heart is a staple to our program. Josee is a smooth player in an attacking center mid role. Rachel is great in the air and connects well to help us settle a game down. Rashida's pace is an awesome asset for our backline. Becca is one of the most composed players I have had the privilege to coach. Haley and Ashley can battle defensively as well as attack and make an impact from the back, Tarah is a beast in goal and everyone who steps onto our field, whether it is a game or in training, will #GiveEverything to positively impact the program.  This is an awesome group of young women who have the potential to do very well in Big Ten play.

We are excited to get back home for most of October after spending 4 of our 6 non-conference games and 4 of our first 5 Big Ten games on the road.  We have some GREAT battles coming to ELR in October, including: Penn State, Ohio State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Maryland, & Rutgers. Pack the Robbie and show these opponents some Minnesota Nice while our women #GiveEverything in Big Ten play!

It's always a GREAT day to be a Gopher!

Coach Golan

Pitino Blog: Week 2

Good morning Gopher fans,

Barely two weeks have passed since our players came back to campus for the school year.  We have had a total of six individual instruction workouts with our guys. Along with working our players out on campus, our staff has hit the road recruiting.

Go Gophers! TopTen
Go Gophers!
Freshman Bakary Konate is one of Coach Pitino's early standouts.

  • I have been impressed with several players.  As for the newcomers, Bakary Konate has stood out the most.  This year will be perfect for him to learn under Elliott and Mo.  He is a legit 6-11, plays with a high motor, and is very skilled.  He also is a phenomenal kid and a quick learner.  We are very excited!  Andre and Deandre continue to progress on the court as well as in the weight room.  They should prove to be a very strong backcourt. 

  • Next week we will start team practice for a total of two hours a week.  We will bring them along slowly starting with the basic fundamentals on defense.  The look of this year's team will be different.  We will certainly miss our veterans and they will be tough to replace.  All of our newcomers are eager to learn and will have to impact this team immediately.  It will be fun to see who separates themselves.

  • September 9th marked the beginning of the recruiting period.  The first three days I was in Minnesota, Kansas, and several different locations in Florida.  Last year's NIT championship and 25 wins has certainly helped in recruiting.  We hope to deliver a very strong recruiting class that tailors to our system.  We will try to get quicker and more athletic.  We constantly talk about our tremendous fan base and our second-to-none basketball conference.  Expectations will be higher this season.  They should be!  We will embrace the challenge.

  • Hoops season is just around the corner and we need to be ready.  Not too many programs open up their season vs. a top-five team on national TV.  Gopher fans, I must warn you.  Ignore anything and everything that comes out of my father's mouth leading up to this game. He does it on the golf course all the time and will start playing mind games with all of us soon enough!  Pay no attention to him.  He will say they are young and inexperienced.  They are talented, athletic and obviously well-coached.  He will tell everyone we are the overwhelming favorite.  Prepare yourselves.  He tried to coach my team last year during the NIT championship.  I am looking forward to watching him try to coach both teams at once on November 14th!  Haha.

  • Thanks to Land O' Lakes for their generous donation.  Our basketball program is extremely grateful. 

  • The immediate upgrades to Bierman and to our Williams Arena locker room are first-class.  The barber shop was also a nice touch.  I have said it before and I'll say it again, we have one of the best athletic directors in the country.  Norwood Teague will continue to move this athletic department forward. 

Good luck to the football team on Saturday.  Should be a fun one!

Go Gophers!

Richard Pitino

Windon Memorial Qualifying

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The Golden Gophers' next tournament will be the Windon Memorial Classic in Evanston, Ill. (Sept. 21-22). Team qualifying determined the final three spots on the travel roster.

Seven Gophers competed for two automatic spots and one coach's pick. (Tyler Lowenstein and Jose Mendez are exempt from qualifying, and Charlie Duensing did not compete due to a mandatory academic trip.)

Matt Rachey and Runar Arnorsson finished first and second in qualifying to secure a trip to Evanston. Daniel Luftspring was the coaches' pick. Those three will join Mendez and Lowenstein. Full qualifying results are below.

Friday, Sept. 12 - Troy Burne GC (Par 71 - 7,100 yards)
Tuesday, Sept. 16 - Les Bolstad GC (Par 71 - 6,570 yards)
Wednesday, Sept. 17 - Minneapolis GC (Par 72 - 7,050 yards)
Final Standings
Matt Rachey 74-69-72--215 (+1)
Runar Arnorsson 76-71-72--219 (+5)
Daniel Luftspring 76-71-73--220 (+6)
Grady Meyer 76-76-71--223 (+9)
William Leaf 81-71-72--224 (+10)
Riley Johnson 79-74-75--225 (+11)
Jon DuToit 81-78-75--234 (+20)

HopeDay Through Social Media

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Condon Signs with Lake Erie Monsters

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Nate Condon

MINNEAPOLIS ( -Gopher Hockey alum and former team captain Nate Condon has signed a one-year deal with the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League (AHL) and will also participate in the Colorado Avalanche's upcoming training camp. 

A native of Wausau, Wis., Condon certainly left his mark his mark on the Gophers program over his four years with the team including leading the team to the national championship game as a senior.

After missing the NCAA tournament in 2011 as a freshman, Condon helped the Gophers reach the national tournament in each of the next three years including Frozen Four appearances in 2012 and 2014. Condon's class was also the first in program history to win three regular-season conference championships while the inaugural Big Ten regular-season championship in 2014 marked the first time in program history that the Gophers have won three-straight titles.

Voted team captain as a senior, Condon proved to be Minnesota's most durable skater during his tenure with the Maroon & Gold. The forward played in 159 career games and including 158-straight games to end his career. In four years with the team, Condon only missed one contest - the second game of his freshman season.
The senior tallied his 100th career point in Minnesota's 7-3 win over Robert Morris in this year's NCAA tournament opener, becoming the 81st Gopher in program history to reach the 100-point plateau. Condon finished his career with 103 points, 40 goals and 63 assists as a Gopher.

A 2014 graduate of the prestigious Carlson School of Management, Condon doubled majored in finance and accounting at Minnesota. He was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a two-time recipient of Minnesota's John Mayasich Outstanding Student-Athlete Award. Additionally, Condon was named the team's Elwin "Doc" Romnes Leasdership & Sportsmanship Award honoree as well as the University of Minnesota's male representative for the Big Ten Outstanding Sportsmanship Award as a senior. 

Colorado selected Condon 200th overall (seventh round) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

-Pride On Ice-

Gopher Alum Begins Head Coaching Tenure

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Go Gophers! Kelly RoyslandGo Gophers!
As student-athletes at the University of Minnesota gear up for the first day of classes today on campus, former Gopher basketball player Kelly Roysland will also kick off her first day of school as the head coach of the women's basketball program at Macalester College in St. Paul. Roysland, who starred for the Maroon and Gold from 2004-07, was named the new head coach of the Scots on Aug. 18 and started in her new role on Aug. 29

"I am thrilled and honored to be the next women's basketball coach at Macalester College," Roysland said in a release announcing her hiring. "It is a great school, in a competitive conference and I am looking forward to leading the women's basketball program."

Roysland finished her basketball career at Minnesota ranked 12th (currently 16th) on Minnesota's all-time scoring list with 1,074 career points. She averaged 8.5 points per game over 126 contests for the Gophers, including a team-high 13.2 points per game during her senior season in 2006-07.

As a senior, Roysland was named Minnesota's Most Valuable Player, while earning All-Big Ten third team accolades from the conference's media members and honorable mention honors from the league's coaches. She also fared well in the classroom, earning Academic All-Big Ten acclaim her final three seasons with the Gophers, and was a two-time recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award in 2007 and 2008.

During her Gopher career, Minnesota made three trips to the NCAA Tournament and one appearance in the WNIT. Roysland played in nine NCAA Tournament games, which included reserve roles on the Golden Gophers' 2004 Final Four team and 2005 Sweet Sixteen squad, while averaging 6.6 points per game in those nine contests.

Roysland earned her bachelor's degree in sport management, graduating from Minnesota in 2007 with a 3.365 grade point average. She then compiled a 3.860 GPA to receive a master's degree in exercise science from Minnesota in 2009. She received the University of Minnesota's Presidential Leadership Award in 2007. She is one of three former Gopher players - Carol Ann Shudlick and Lindsay Whalen being the others -- with an endowed scholarship in her name.

Roysland also served as an assistant coach at Minnesota for four seasons (2010-14), where she worked with the Gophers' guards, as well as having responsibilities with scouting and recruiting. She aided Minnesota in securing the 17th-ranked recruiting class in 2011 and the 34th-ranked recruiting class in 2010 nationally. She also helped guide the team's guards to numerous accolades, including six All-Big Ten honors, WBCA All-Region 6 and WBCA Honorable Mention All-America honors.

Her father, Mike Roysland, is the head women's basketball coach at Division II member UM Crookston.