A week after being picked fifth in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine College Hockey Preseason Poll, the University of Minnesota men's hockey program added another fifth-place preseason ranking today in the USCHO.com Division I Men's Preseason Poll.
The Gophers totaled 660 total points in the preseason poll including one first-place vote. UMass-Lowell, Miami, Wisconsin and Boston College round out the top five in first through fourth, respectively.
Coming off the program's 34th NCAA tournament appearance in 2012-13 as well as Minnesota's second-straight WCHA MacNaughton Cup win (fourth in the last eight years), the Gophers embark on the team's first campaign in the new Big Ten Conference in 2013-14. Minnesota hosts an exhibition game against Lethbridge on Oct. 5 at Mariucci Arena before kicking off the regular season on Oct. 11-12 with the Ice Breaker Tournament on home ice.
Earlier today, Minnesota sophomore goaltender Adam Wilcox was listed by USCHO.com as one of 10 goalies to watch for the 2013-14. The South St. Paul, Minn., native was named to the Big Ten Conference's Preseason Players to Watch list earlier this month after one of the best rookie seasons in Gopher Hockey history.
In 2012-13, Wilcox set a new single-season program record with a 1.88 GAA and also tied Kellen Briggs for the Minnesota rookie wins record. As a freshman, the netminder was named Third Team All-Big Ten and helped Minnesota to a share of its second-straight WCHA MacNaughton Cup (fourth in eight years) as well as the program's 34th NCAA tournament appearance. Wilcox ranked second in the nation in wins and third in the NCAA in minutes played at 2,331.
Heading into his sophomore season, Wilcox stands poised to be the top goaltender in the fledgling Big Ten. In 39 games as a freshman, Wilcox posted 25 wins, three shutouts and a 1.88 goals against average.
He also posted winning streaks of six and five games over the course of the season. The five-game streak carried into the WCHA playoffs.
Wilcox has been named as a player to watch by Big Ten coaches.
"Obviously, he's a good goaltender," one opposing coach said. "Wilcox just had a calming effect on their team. I think he's very competitive, but at the same time, very calm."
Floyd of Rosedale is on the line this Saturday when the Gophers take on Iowa at TCF Bank Stadium. Minnesota looks to reclaim the beloved bronze pig it won in both 2010 and 2011 before the Hawkeyes took him back last year. Get ready to #BringFloydHome by catching up on some of this week's coverage.
Writing this on the flight from Minneapolis to Albuquerque, N.M., makes me stop for a second and reflect on how truly fortunate I am to have a job that allows me to travel around the world while helping to shape the lives of our outstanding group of young men in a few of the most impressionable years of their lives. Following EVERY tournament, I receive e-mails regarding our team and how we are always the most respectful and thankful team to the volunteers at the events. I do not take this for granted. I am proud of each and every one of our Gopher golfers knowing they are growing up to be fine young men. These fine young men have started the year off exactly where we left off at the end of the spring with our second-place finish at the Big Ten Championship.
The Gopher Invitational--what an event! From the outpouring of volunteers to one of the finest collegiate fields of the year, we hosted another extremely successful event at a new venue, Windsong Farm GC, this year. The golf course played firm and fast from 7,200 yards and showed that "Old Man Par" was still a very good score. The University of New Mexico, the No. 9-ranked team in the country, came away with the win. Our Gopher team started strong and finished the tournament in a tie for fifth place in a field of 12 teams after 54 holes. Leading the way was Tyler Lowenstein, a junior from Wayzata, Minn., with a tie for 10th place finish after rounds of 72-72-70 for a 1-over total. His solid play came only weeks after taking the top amateur prize at the North Dakota State Open at Fargo CC. Other players who had solid weeks for our team were: Jon DuToit, Jon Trasamar, Grady Meyer, Charlie Braniff and Jose Mendez. We are lucky to have great sponsors of our event and hope to see even larger crowds at Windsong Farm next year when the tournament will be played September 7-8, 2014.
Jose Mendez is off to an impressive start.
Finally we actually got to have our first practice. Golf practice in college can consist of anything from on-course instruction/game planning, wedge distance work, bunker game instruction, putting drills, full swing video analysis, launch monitor work to team meetings and individual analysis of the event just played. This is exactly why the NCAA only lets us practice for four hours per day because as most golfers know, we could be out there all day and still not address certain facets of the game. Our practices have been intensified this year with the addition of our freshman class. This class is talented and shares a detailed approach to the game. Daniel Luftspring (Toronto, Ontario), Grady Meyer (Fargo Shanley, N.D.), Matt Rachey (Waconia, Minn.) and Jose Mendez (San Jose, Costa Rica) have brought a light-hearted sense of humor, yet an intense focus on getting better each day to practice. Our upperclassmen have been making certain they do all the drills correctly and will serve as great role models to each of these four players.
Practice doesn't always make perfect, but it is the process we focus on at Gopher Golf to improve our scores from tournament to tournament. This showed in our play at our second tournament in the first three weeks of school at Wolf Run Golf Club in Zionsville, Ind. The University of Indiana served as the host of the event and invited a solid field of 14 teams to take on one of the top 25 modern golf courses in the United States ranked by Golf Digest. Fescue, deep bunkers, tight fairways and wind greeted all the teams upon arrival in Indiana. Who said college golf was easy? The weekend was owned by the Fighting Illini. Their 8-under par score was a tournament record and topped second-place Auburn University by 33 shots! We finished fourth just ahead of tournament host Indiana University. This was the coming out party for our highly touted freshman, Jose Mendez! As one coach said, "He is as good as advertised!" Finishing ninth individually in the event wasn't the most impressive thing though. Jose didn't have his best stuff around the greens and has only spent about three weeks playing off bent grass, which has caused a few errant distances on approach shots. He will be one of the top freshmen in the Big Ten this year and will contend for an individual title each time out. Alex Gaugert, Jon DuToit, Tyler Lowenstein and Jon Trasamar all had flashes of good play in Indiana but are even hungrier for their next start in Albuquerque.
Delta takes us almost everywhere and being able to fly nonstop on every trip throughout the year is certainly something all recruits' parents should consider when making a college decision. Getting to class on time the next day with a good night's rest and not having the fatigue from spending extra time in airports is a huge sell about playing for the Gophers! I will be reporting back in my next blog about the Tucker Invitational at the University of New Mexico Championship Course. I have two very interesting facts to leave you with regarding Albuquerque....First, James McLean won the Minnesota Gophers' last individual NCAA Championship at this course. Second, El Pinto may be the best Mexican restaurant in the world. Any restaurant that has fresh green and red chilies hanging from the ceiling goes right to the top of my list!
Follow us on Golfstat.com for live scoring, Twitter and Facebook for instant updates on the team or on Gophersports.com where Justine Buerkle does a great job of keeping Gopher Golf nation informed.
The Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) held its first meeting of the 2013 academic year on Monday, Sept. 23rd. The committee is comprised of 60 student-athlete representatives from each of the 25 University of Minnesota athletic teams. The mission of the committee is to serve as a liaison between the student-athlete population, athletic department, Big Ten Conference and the National Collegiate Athletic Association on issues facing the overall welfare of the collegiate student-athlete. SAAC strives to encourage the involvement of all programs within the athletic department and campus environment, through empowering and education student-athletes at the University of Minnesota.
After dinner was provided for the SAAC members in the Hall of Traditions at the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex, the group headed out to the Bierman Track. Upon their arrival, the committee met with Captain Andrew Schroers of the United States Marine Corps. Captain Schroers introduced the members of the Marine Corps as they demonstrated a condensed version of their fitness test. It also symbolized the valued traits instilled by the USMC and the use of team building and commitment. Each member paired up with another member in similar size and weight. In order to complete the test, each person had to complete their course as well as carry their teammate to the finish line.
The SAAC meets on the first Monday of each month, however prior to these larger meetings the Executive Committee meets. These smaller meetings serve as an opportunity for dialogue regarding pertinent issues facing Gopher student-athletes, along with a time to prepare the larger agenda for SAAC. The next SAAC meeting will be held on Monday, October 7, 2013 in the M Club Room at TCF Bank Stadium, to begin at 6:30 p.m. with dinner followed by the meeting from 7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. Feel free to stop in for an opportunity to learn more about what your SAAC can do for you.
2013 SAAC Meeting
So proud of the work our SAAC group and the Marines did last night. Physically tough but forever rewarding. #buildingleaders#SAAC
Members of the University of Minnesota women's basketball program, as well as its booster organization the Fast Break Club, were on hand at the third annual Women Run the Cities event at Minnehaha Park on Sunday.
Members of the team, as well as Goldy Gopher, helped line the course and provided loud cheers for the combined total of 3,000 competitors in the three races -- the Girls 1-mile Fun Run, the Women's 10-mile Run, and the Women's 5K Run/Walk.
Assistant coach Kelly Roysland and women's basketball office director Deborah Edwards both competed in the 5K event. Roysland finished 33rd among 115 competitors in her age group, while Edwards was 52nd out of 164 competing in her age group.
The event was organized by the Minnesota Commercial Real Estate Women (MNCREW), with proceeds benefitting the Ann Bancroft Foundation and the CREW Network Foundation.
Minnesota will enter the 2013-14 season -- the program's first in the Big Ten Conference -- ranked fifth in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine College Hockey Poll, according to a release this afternoon from USA Hockey.
Coming off the program's 34th NCAA tournament appearance last season, the Gophers garnered 347 points in the preseason poll, placing Minnesota second among Big Ten school's behind only Wisconsin (third, 364 points). UMass-Lowell ranks first in the nation, according to today's poll, with 484 points followed by Miami in second at 444. Boston College rounds out the top five in fourth at 359 points.
The USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine College Hockey Poll is conducted each week in conjunction with the American Hockey Coaches Association. The poll includes input from coaches and journalists representing each of the NCAA Division I ice hockey conferences, as well as composite votes from officers of the AHCA and USA Hockey.
Minnesota hosts an exhibition game against Lethbridge on Oct. 5 at Mariucci Arena before kicking off the regular season on Oct. 11-12 with the Ice Breaker Tournament on home ice.
is one of three freshmen on this year's roster. A 5-foot-10 guard from Dallas,
Texas (Skyline HS), McDaniel is a nationally-ranked recruit who received a
three-star ranking from ESPN.com, and was ranked No. 56 nationally at her
position. She talks about her decision to leave the Lone Star State and play
for the Gophers, as well as how summer training and her college life are going
How is the adjustment to college life going for you? Is it
pretty much what you expected it'd be like, or have there been some surprises? College is going great so far! I knew it
would different from high school, and I'm adjusting very well
with my classes, teammates, and amazing coaches.
Did you feel as though you were prepared for summer training
with the team? What might you do differently next year now that you know what
to expect? I don't know if anyone can be well prepared for what to
expect for summer training as a freshman. You just have to get
yourself mentally prepared before workouts and grind it out. For next year, since
I already know some things, I would just workout on my own and work on
areas that I want to get better at.
What do you enjoy most about being part of the program at
Minnesota? I just enjoy being around my team. It's good for us to
be close, both on and off the court.
Being from Dallas, how long had Minnesota been on your radar as
a possible college choice? What were the biggest influences on your decision to
attend the U of M? Minnesota was one of my top picks since the end of my
junior year. I finally committed the beginning of my senior year after my
visit. My dad was the biggest influence on helping me make my decision to come
to the U of M. He is always someone I go to when I need to make big decisions.
I just wanted to be someplace where it felt like a second home to me, and
Minnesota was the right place to be.
What is something that hardly anyone knows about you? Most people don't know that, as a kid, track used to be my main
sport, not basketball. I really wanted to get a scholarship for track until eighth
grade, when I started to love basketball more, and eventually gave up track to
When you're away from basketball and your teammates, what do you
enjoy doing most? When I'm by myself, I usually just listen to music and watch a
movie on Netflix. It keeps me entertained when I want to take a break from
Do you have any routines or superstitions that you have to do
before a game? Before and after my games, I always pray to clear my head
to get focused. I also always put on my right sock before my left. I
think, if I don't do that routine, I will have bad luck.
What are some artists or songs that are on your gameday
playlist? To get me pumped on gameday, I have to listen to Jay Z, Kendrick
Lamar, Wale, and J Cole.
How old were you when you started playing basketball, and what's
your favorite basketball-related memory to this point? My dad put me in basketball at age four. I played on a
little YMCA team for a little bit, until I got older. My favorite
basketball memory has to be my very last home game in high school.
It was our Senior Night, my team did very well and it had
finally hit me that I would be going off to college in a couple of months.
Who has been the biggest influence on your basketball career?
And who is the player you admire most? My biggest influence is my dad. Without him, I wouldn't
have made it this far with his words of wisdom to keep me going. He has always
been there for me, and I just want to make him proud. My two favorite players
that I admire the most are Candace Parker and Maya Moore. I admire how much
poise and love of the game they have for basketball, and they are team players.
Volleyball is preparing to kick off its Big Ten season, this week and
what better time to do it then Minnesota's Homecoming week. Here's some
of the upcoming promotional events for the Indiana (Sept. 25) and Purdue (Sept. 29)
matches. All promotions must be purchased prior to the day of the
event. For more information, contact the Gopher Marketing Office (email@example.com) or
check out MyGopherSports.com for tickets.
Indiana Match (Big Ten Network) * Wild Wednesdays (General Admission Tickets are just $4) * Staff and faculty members get four General Admission tickets: Use your special promo code to claim your tickets at: www.mygophersports.com/online/faculty-staff
Purdue match will honor some of our Gopher alums. Minnesota volleyball
will honor the 20th anniversary of the 1993 Regional Semifinal team as
well as the 10th anniversary of the 2003 Final Four team.
Purdue Match (BTN.com) * U of M Faculty/Staff Appreciation Night * Student Section Promo-It's Dress Like a Pirate Day. Students who wear the best pirate costume gets a chance to win a set of Beats headphones (See Karlie Hauer, Lindsey Lawmaster and Daly Santana demonstrate above).
* Staff and faculty members get four General Admission tickets: Use your special promo code to claim your tickets at: www.mygophersports.com/online/faculty-staff
* Girl Scout Day $10 Ticket Package (contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information). Click here to order tickets:
Link for ordering tickets (Direct link located here)
* Gopher Football Special
Free General Admission Ticket with Football Ticket Stub from the Iowa game
* Gopher Alumni Special
Free General Admission Tickets for all VB Alumni (limit to four tickets):
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Today's game between Minnesota and San Jose State was a battle of differing offensive styles, as the Gophers' powerful running game went head-to-head with the Spartans' potent passing attack.
At the half, Spartans senior QB David Fales, a highly-regarded NFL prospect, had thrown for 294 yards and Minnesota held a slim 20-17 lead.
But, in the end, redshirt freshman quarterback Mitch Leidner and Minnesota (4-0) had run over the visiting Mountain West Conference opponent by amassing 353 rushing yards on 67 carries during the Gophers' 43-24 victory at TCF Bank Stadium.
Leidner rushed for 151 yards on Saturday.
Leidner tied a Minnesota school record for a QB by running for four touchdowns, becoming the first quarterback to accomplish that feat since Curtis Wilson had four scores in a 33-9 win versus Indiana on Nov. 18, 1967. Leidner also finished with 151 net rushing yards, the seventh-best effort by a QB in the program's history.
Junior running back David Cobb added two more rushing TDs, as Minnesota dominated the time of possession by controlling the ball for more than 41 minutes.
"The thing is, we took what they gave us. We tried play-action passes, but their safeties were playing about 12 to 14 yards deep in the soft corner," Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill said. "So with that, it is hard to play a play-action, but we hit them a couple times. If you don't get that extra guy down there in the run then you better be able to run the ball. And then the quarterback is the extra guy that can run it."
Both Leidner and Cobb wound up with 100-yard performances, as Cobb finished with 25 carries for 125 net yards. With Leidner's rushing total, it marks the first time in program history that Minnesota has had a pair of QB's with 100-yard rushing games in a season, as sophomore Philip Nelson ran for 122 yards at New Mexico State.
"Running the action game and mixing up the power game it was a good formula, no question about that," Kill said. "I am proud of the kids. Mitch (Leidner) is a tough kid. He will be a little sore tomorrow. It's good that we have the depth that we have. I appreciate the kid's efforts."
Fales wound up completing 22-of-35 passes for 439 yards and three TDs, but the Gophers intercepted a pair of his pass attempts and did much better controlling SJSU's signal-caller in the second half. Fales was 10-of-19 for just 145 yards and the two INTs after the break. In the third quarter, he was limited to 1-of-6 for just nine yards.
During its non-conference schedule, Minnesota ran the ball 197 times for 1,129 net yards, an average of 5.7 yards per carry. With the six rushing TDs in today's victory against the Spartans, the Gophers have scored 16 rushing touchdowns already this season. Last year, the Gophers scored 14 rushing TDs in 13 games.
Today's game marked the first career start and first full game for Leidner, who has now rushed the ball 46 times for 251 yards (5.5 yards per rush) and five TDs this season. Cobb, who was not listed on the season-opening depth chart, has 53 carries for 332 yards (6.3 yards per rush) and five TDs. Additionally, sophomore RB Rodrick Williams Jr. has 45 attempts for 267 yards (5.9 yards per rush) and three TDs.
"The start of the game was a little tough, but the offensive line did a great job pushing," Cobb said. "The coaches kept telling us to be patient and make the right decisions, so that the big plays can happen. And Mitch [Leidner] did a great job today."
The 43 points scored by the Gophers marked the third time in four games this season that Minnesota has surpassed the 40-point barrier. It's the first time since 2006 that Minnesota has had at least three games with 40 or more points, and the Gophers head into next week's Big Ten home opener versus Iowa with an average of 41.8 points per game.
Fales opened some eyes and proved his value as a pro-style passer who might be the best QB the Gophers face this season. But Minnesota's ability to control the football for more than two-thirds of the game made it difficult for Fales and the Spartans to stay in the game.
What's impressive about the Gophers' rushing attack is that they have been able to continue to be dominant despite the absence of two key starters. Junior running back Donnell Kirkwood has been out of the lineup since injuring his ankle in the season-opening 51-23 win against UNLV on Aug. 29, and Nelson missed his first start at QB this week after suffering a hamstring injury in last week's 29-12 win versus Western Illinois.
Next week, Minnesota faces its first conference test of the season, as the Hawkeyes (3-1) come to town to battle the Gophers for the Floyd of Rosedale Trophy. If the Gophers are able to reclaim the pig from their rivals to the south, this Minnesota rushing game figures to play a key role.
Head coach Don Lucia, Nate Condon and Kyle Rau represented the Minnesota men's hockey program at the first-ever B1G Hockey Media Day on Thursday morning at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.
"It's exciting to be here," Lucia said, kicking off the event with an early morning press conference. "It almost seems like in many ways, it's a new job. It's so fresh this year with entering a new conference, the Big Ten, even though we've played many of the teams over the years, this is the first time we'll be playing each of the Big Ten members four times. I think it's going to be an exciting year, not only for us, but certainly our fans."
The Gopher trio arrived early on Thursday morning, sitting down for 1-on-1 interviews with the media as well as spots with television partners ESPN, Big Ten Network and FOX Sports North. To open the day, the Big Ten Conference announced its preseason coaches poll and preseason players to watch list with Kyle Rau being the conference's only unanimous player to watch. The Gophers were selected to finish second in the inaugural season of Big Ten hockey behind Wisconsin with Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State filling out the rankings. Gophers sophomores Mike Reilly and Adam Wilcox were also featured as players to watch this season.
Rau even sat down with GopherSports' Devin Pacheco for a social media Q&A session with fans on Twitter. Here are a few of the top questions/answers for the Gopher captain:
.@TBbartmanMN "Real pumped! It'll be awesome. We're hoping all of Minnesota can pack into TCF for the game" -KR
Minnesota opens the 2013-14 season with an exhibition contest on Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. CT against Lethbridge. The Gophers kick off the regular-season on Oct. 11-12 with the Ice Breaker Tournament at Mariucci Arena.
Joanna Hedstrom is
one of three freshmen on the University of Minnesota's 2013-14 roster. A 6-foot-1 guard from Minnetonka High School,
Hedstrom is a nationally-ranked recruit who received a four-star ranking from
ESPN.com, and she holds Minnetonka's school records for career points scored
and assists. She talks about staying close to home to play for the Gophers, the
team she's watched since she was a kid, as well as her biggest basketball influence and something few people know about her.
How is the adjustment to college life going for you? Is it
pretty much what you expected it'd be like, or have there been some surprises? My adjustment to the college life is going well! I enjoy my
classes, living in an apartment, and meeting new people. There haven't been too
many surprises, but my very busy schedule has taken a little getting used to.
Did you feel as though you were prepared for summer training
with the team? What might you do differently next year now that you know what
to expect? I think I was mentally prepared for this summer, and ready to
work hard and get something out of each workout. But, next year, I will definitely
benefit from being physically stronger going into the summer and having one
more year of experience.
What do you enjoy most about being part of the program at
Minnesota? What I enjoy most about being part of the Minnesota program
are the people! I love my teammates, coaches and all the support that we receive
as student-athletes to be successful. I'm excited for my career as a Gopher.
Being from Minnetonka, had you always wanted to play for the
Golden Gophers? What were the biggest influences on your decision to stay close
to home? Yes, I have always wanted to play for the Gophers. I have
been going to the Gopher camps since I was little, and going to the games with
my mom and little sister for years. I was even a "Ball Girl" at one
point, too! Because of this, I could always imagine myself at the U.
Ultimately, I chose to stay close to home and attend the University of
Minnesota because of the great coaching staff and the visions those coaches
have for the basketball program and the opportunity of a great education
through the Carlson School of Management and Honors Program.
What is something that hardly anyone knows about you? I can dribble the basketball with my knees.
When you're away from basketball and your teammates, what do
you enjoy doing most? Other than basketball, I love spending time with my friends
and family, reading, listening to music, and waterskiing at my cabin in the
Do you have any routines or superstitions that you have to do
before a game? Before games I listen to music, get pumped with my teammates,
and sometimes eat an apple or other light snack.
What are some artists or songs that are on your gameday
playlist? There is no one song that I listen to before games, but some
artists that are on my gameday playlist include Drake, Macklemore, and Jay-Z.
How old were you when you started playing basketball, and
what's your favorite basketball-related memory to this point? I was in third grade when I first played on a team, but I
remember dribbling a basketball in my driveway when I was even younger than
that. My favorite basketball memory to-date is not a specific memory -- it's
the ten years that I played AAU basketball. I played with Mikayla Bailey for
nine years and Shayne Mullaney for one year, and in general, most of my best
basketball memories are from AAU. I especially loved the competition,
teammates, and traveling.
Who has been the biggest influence on your basketball career?
And who is the player you admire most? My parents have had the biggest impact on my basketball
career. My dad developed me as a player by being an amazing coach and always
rebounding for me, and my mom helped me with my basketball IQ and always taking
me up to the gym to get better. The player I admire most is Courtney
Vandersloot from the Chicago Sky. I love her passing ability and basketball IQ,
as well as the way she is a leader on the floor.
Do you have a nickname? I was named after my Grandma Jo, so everyone who knows me
well calls me Jo. Also, Amanda Zahui B. started calling me "Mojo"
this summer. People from my high school team have called me "Nanners," and "Jojo"
is another common one, too.
The Golden Gopher men's golf team held a qualifying tournament to see who will travel to this weekend's Wolf Run Intercollegiate in Zionsville, Ind. Following are the scores after the final round was played at Troy Burne today. Members of the travel squad are in bold.
Senior captain Nate Condon will be among the players at Big Ten Media Day.
Park Ridge, Ill. - Big Ten hockey fans will have several ways to follow their favorite teams, players and coaches as they participate in Big Ten Hockey Media Day on Thursday, Sept. 19 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
All six coaches' press conferences will be streamed live on BTN.com. Live streaming begins at 10 a.m. ET/9 a.m. CT and is available for free through the Big Ten Digital Network.
Visit http://www.GopherSports.com/AllAccess for more information.
Fans can also follow @B1GHockey on Twitter throughout the day for highlights of the event and are encouraged to use the hash tag #B1GMediaDay to join the conversation.
Transcripts of each coach's press conference will be posted on www.bigten.org later that day.
Pitino said the Gophers must "stay the course and be positive every day."
I just finished reading a great article by Joe Posnanski about Pete Carroll and the culture he is building with the Seattle Seahawks. I talk with my staff constantly about how we have to be innovative and forward-thinking with everything that we do. Coach Carroll certainly has gone against the "traditional" way of coaching and it appears to be working. I love how the writer describes Pete Carroll as "relentlessly, even absurdly, positive. He's constant energy. He never stops being cheerful and enthusiastic and encouraging." He has built a culture of positive thinking regardless of what people around him may say.
As we embark on our season it is so important for our players and staff not to succumb to any negativity. People are constantly reminding me that some magazine or media member is picking us to finish at the bottom of the league. It's crucial for me and my staff to remind these guys every day that this will be a process. This will not happen overnight. Embrace the challenge, stay the course and be positive every day. There will always be critics and naysayers. It is so important for us to block all that out.
Nobody is doing that right now better than Gopher football's own Coach Jerry Kill. Coach Kill loves the game of football, relishes the opportunity to coach and appreciates every day he has with his team. It will take a lot more than a tough disease to keep him from it. He is truly an inspiration and I am proud to be able to work with him. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind he has this program going in the right direction!
Excited to see Coach Kill back on the field on sat. Easy 2 see why his guys play so hard for him. He has us headed in the right direction!
Before our first practice I showed the team some clips from the HBO series "Hard Knocks." I tried to show them how professional they need to be every day in regards to their "job" as student-athletes. I have been fortunate to inherit a team with a bunch of guys who like to work hard in both areas - on the court and in the classroom.
This week, we did two 1-hour team practices for the first time since these guys have returned from summer break. For the first time we put in our "white" press. This full court press consists of our power forward guarding the inbounder, and it's the guard's responsibility to force a speed dribble. Speed and athleticism certainly is crucial to playing this style. We have to be in great shape in order to do this. Last year at FIU, we finished eighth in the country in steals per game (9.8). That was a stat we took pride in. We have a long, long way to go but our guys are embracing the challenge. See everybody on Saturday at the football game!
Minnesota head coach Pam Borton was one of several speakers at an important fund-raising event at Target Center on Saturday evening.
The "Links to the Past, Lynx to the Future" event served to help raise funds for a new basketball court and historical display as part of a new YMCA in the community where the sport of "Basket Ball" was first introduced in the state of Minnesota.
Max J. Exner was a friend and roommate of James Naismith, who is credited for founding the sport of basketball. When Exner moved to Northfield in 1892, he and his brother, Franz, are credited with first introducing the sport to Minnesotans. More importantly, the Exners taught the sport to the women of Carleton College, and women's basketball quickly spread across the state.
For the first time in history, Minnesota girls and women were participating in a team sport during an era that unfortunately lasted only 40 years. In the mid-1920's, state and national groups came to believe that intense competition posed the potential for negative effects on young women, and an entire generation of women were left with virtually no options for competitive sports for several decades until Title IX came into effect in 1972.
Northfield, home of Carleton College, now has the opportunity to build a YMCA community center, and key figures like Coach Borton, Minnesota Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve, Timberwolves and Lynx majority owner Glen Taylor, and University of Minnesota Board of Regents member Peggy Lucas (also the granddaughter of Franz Exner and the grand niece of Max Exner) were on hand to lend their support.
Minnesota women's basketball radio analyst Lynnette Sjoquist, a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, served as the event's emcee.
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- For the first time this season, Minnesota took its show on the road, and the Golden Gophers turned in another solid all-around performance during a 44-21 win at New Mexico State.
For the second week in a row, head coach Jerry Kill's Gophers scored more than 40 points, with touchdowns coming from the offense, defense and special teams. It's the first time since November 2005 that Minnesota has scored 40 or more points in back-to-back victories, and the team is off to a 2-0 start for the second straight season.
Sophomore quarterback Philip Nelson directed a Minnesota offense that racked up 469 total net yards, and the Gophers used their size advantage to rush for 342 yards. Sophomore Rodrick Williams Jr. led Minnesota with 148 yards and a TD, and Nelson added 122 yards and his third rushing TD of the season on a night where the Gophers were without the services of injured junior Donnell Kirkwood.
Minnesota ran 23 fewer plays than the Aggies, but gained 112 more offensive yards, while averaging 8.1 yards per play in the win. The Gophers' passing game netted just 127 yards, but Minnesota was dominant in the running game with an average rushing play of 8.0 yards.
During last week's 51-23 home victory against UNLV, junior defensive back Marcus Jones opened the second half by returning the Rebels' kickoff 98 yards for a TD. This week, Jones once again made his mark on special teams with a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown with 1:22 left in the first half. It was Minnesota's first punt return for a TD since the 2000 season, and it helped send the Gophers into the locker room with a 27-7 lead at the half.
Defensively, the Gophers held the Aggies to just 4.4 yards per play (2.5 per rush), while forcing a fumble that was returned 50 yards for a touchdown by senior linebacker Aaron Hill late in the fourth quarter.
Minnesota (2-0) now returns home for the next three weeks, beginning with next Saturday's matchup with FCS member Western Illinois. The Gophers will attempt to start a season 3-0 for the second year in a row, something that hasn't happened since they opened 5-0 during 2004 and 4-0 during 2005.
Another all-around performance like they've turned in during the first two weeks will go a long ways toward achieving that distinction.
With the first few days of classes now behind them, we figured
it'd be fun to ask Minnesota's two freshmen - Joanna Hedstrom and Stabresa
McDaniel - as well as the Gophers' two seniors - Sari Noga and Micaella Riche -
some questions about the first week of the 2013-14 academic calendar.
Tell us about your first week of classes. Has it been what you
expected? Any funny/interesting stories?
Joanna Hedstrom: "My first week of school has
been exciting! I have some really cool profs, and I'm excited to see how college
compares to high school. A story from my first day is when I was introducing
myself in my athlete class, and I was so nervous that I said, 'I play
blasketball.' It was embarrassing!"
Stabresa McDaniel: "The first
week of school has been pretty good so far. The classes are bigger, and
you meet a lot of new people. The classes I take have been what I
expected. We learn new fun and interesting topics that keep me engaged in
What class are you most looking forward to?
Joanna Hedstrom: "The class that I'm looking
forward to the most is my honors public speaking class, because I want to get
better at giving speeches. I'm also excited to meet some new people in my
management courses through the Carlson school."
Stabresa McDaniel: "The class
I'm looking forward to the most will have to be my lifetime health and wellness
class. I enjoy the discussions that we have in class, and the new things we
Tell us about your "last, first day of school."
Sari Noga: "I don't think it has quite
hit me yet that it was my last first day. It has been about 16 years that I
have gone to school, and I think I will be excited to be done, but know I will
miss it, too."
Micaella Riche: "I was so ready to go! I know
the process. I know the steps, and it's my seventh semester, so bring it on!!"
Is it difficult for you to believe that almost four years has gone
by since you first arrived on campus?
Sari Noga: "No one can really prepare
you for the statement of 'college goes by fast.' I really can't believe that
almost 4 years of college has gone by. It literally feels like it was yesterday
I was going to my first college class."
Micaella Riche: "It's unreal. People have
always told me it goes by fast, but this is a whole new definition of 'fast'!
My experience at Minnesota has been so amazing, and I've grown so much. I'm so
blessed and grateful."
What's been one of your favorite classes?
Sari Noga: "One of my favorite classes
in college was Death and Dying Across Cultures and Religions. I found it really
interesting learning the different funeralization processes there were for each
Micaella Riche: "My favorite classes have all
been with professor (Stacy) Ingraham. Her classes are mainly
discussion-oriented, and that's where I've found myself learning the most."
What are you majoring in, and what do you hope to do after
Sari Noga: "My major is mortuary
science, and I plan to become an intern funeral director at a funeral home in
Micaella Riche: "I'm majoring in kinesiology,
and I'm not sure yet (what I'll do for a career). I would like to play
professionally, possibly overseas. Otherwise, I'd love to get certified as a
personal trainer, or to get certified as a Yoga and Pilates instructor.
Hopefully, one day I'll be able to start my own business to train high-profile
Do you have any other thoughts about your final year as an
Sari Noga: "I am excited for this school
year. Between the practical courses I will be learning in my major, and
starting my senior year of basketball, I am thrilled to see what this year has
Micaella Riche: "It's my last one, the home
stretch, the '4th quarter!' Let's get this done. I'm ready for it!"
With this school year underway, the Gophers are hoping for
continued success in the classroom. Last year, five members of the Golden
Gophers were named to the Winter Academic All-Big Ten Team, including both Noga
and Riché. To be eligible for Academic All-Big Ten honors, student-athletes
must be letterwinners in at least their second academic year and carry a
cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 or better.
During head coach Pam Borton's 11 seasons at Minnesota, her Golden
Gopher players have recorded Academic All-Big Ten recognition 74 times, which
is the most among all Big Ten Conference women's basketball programs.
Additionally, Minnesota has earned a team GPA of at least 3.0 during every year
of Borton's coaching tenure.
Good afternoon Gopher fans! I hope everyone had a great summer!
Check out Coach Pitino's blog periodically this year on GopherSports.com.
I am currently en route to Springfield, Mass. for my father's induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. It has been an amazing ride and I am sure we will reminisce this weekend about so many great memories. My favorite memory has got to be cutting the nets down in Phoenix to go to the Final Four in 2012. Being able to sit one seat from my father and a Hall of Famer for three years is something I will always cherish. His ability to focus under pressure is something I marveled at. He taught me to block out all distractions and focus on what it is important.
It our first team meeting this week, I spoke about a couple of simple rules along with giving them their schedule for the week. I spent roughly 20 minutes about learning to deal with all of the distractions that come with being a Division I student-athlete. On a daily basis, these guys have a lot thrown at them. The most important thing for them is to be able to focus on their academics along with getting stronger in the weight room and better on the court.
The number one distraction in all their lives is their CELL PHONE. Being a student-athlete is a full time job and they need to treat it as such. I read them several studies about how much time the average person spends on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media outlets. All too often, I walk into our locker room and see our players staring at their cell phones. Reading social media or texting on a consistent basis isn't going to help them get their degree or help us win a Big Ten Championship. Our staff will continue to do our best to get the most out these guys each day. There is too much at stake for them. We will be innovative with ways to sharpen their focus in the classroom as well as on the court. I will also do several things to put myself in a bubble and only focus on what's important.
I learned so much from Billy Donovan when it came to this topic. He would rarely turn on a computer, watch TV or be on his phone when school started. Certainly, he would handle his recruiting duties with his phone but other than that it was all business. I thought it was odd at first but quickly realized he was focusing on only what is important in his world, his family, friends and his basketball program. Nothing else.
Coach Pitino and current Minnesota Timberwolves player (and former Louisville Cardinal) Gorgui Dieng.
Workouts in the first week were up and down. The first workout is always a great indicator of who takes this game seriously. If you come in out of shape it shows that you went home and did nothing for three weeks. It was very obvious who went home and didn't take time off. Some disappointed us but we still have plenty of time to get them in the shape we need. DeAndre Mathieu made his Gopher debut and I came away very impressed by his speed and attitude. He will be a valuable addition for our basketball team.
September is a very busy month for all coaches. We normally recruit during the week and work with our team on the weekend. Home football games are always a great opportunity to bring recruits on campus and show them a great environment on campus. Congrats to Coach Kill and his staff on a great first victory of the season! We will certainly be pulling for him this Saturday vs. New Mexico State.
Thanks to Gorgui Dieng for stopping by our office and tour campus! He agreed with me that the University of Minnesota is a sleeping giant!
The Minnesota Lynx today announced the team has signed point guard and former Minnesota Gophers star Lindsay Whalen to a multi-year contract extension. Per team policy, terms of the deals were not released.
"We are extremely excited to have extended the contract of a franchise cornerstone and one of the best players in the WNBA," said Lynx Executive Vice President Roger Griffith. "Lindsay has become the top point guard in the league over the past several seasons and we are glad to have her playing in her home state of Minnesota. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to watch an outstanding individual like herself night in and out and we are thrilled that she's decided to continue her career with the Lynx."
In her 10th WNBA season and fourth in a Lynx uniform, Whalen is having perhaps the best season of her career, averaging career-highs in both points (14.7 ppg) and assists (6.0 apg, 3rd in the league). Already the franchise leader in assists (740), Whalen has posted the four best single-season assist totals in franchise history in her four years with the Lynx. Entering Saturday's game against Seattle, she needs just nine more points to reach the 4,000-point plateau and become just the second player in league history with 4,000 points, 1,500 assists and 1,000 rebounds in a career (Becky Hammon).
Thanks largely to Whalen's play, Minnesota has been one of the most dominant teams in the WNBA dating back to the start of the 2011 season, holding a league-best 77-21 record during that span, four wins shy of matching the three-year record held by Los Angeles (81, 2000-02). Minnesota (23-7) enters Saturday's game against Seattle with the best record in the WNBA, seeking to become just the third team in WNBA history to reach the Finals in three consecutive seasons.
Single game tickets for the 2013 Lynx Playoffs presented by Medica Individual and Family Plans went on sale to the general public this morning. Ranging from $16 ($11 for season ticket members and $13 for groups of 10 or more) to $195 ($170 for season ticket members), tickets are available by calling the Lynx at 612-673-8400 or by visiting lynxbasketball.com/lynxtix. Playoff strips, which include tickets to all potential postseason home games, are also available for purchase for as low as $131, a discount of as much as 25% from the single-game price. Single-game prices are subject to change per market demand.
While at the University of Minnesota, Whalen was a two-time Wade Trophy and Naismith Award finalist. As a senior, she was named to the Kodak All-America First Team, the USBWA All-America Second Team and the AP All-America Second Team. Whalen led Minnesota to its first Final Four Appearance in 2004, one of three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances for the Golden Gophers, before being selected fourth overall in the 2004 WNBA Draft.
She holds Minnesota career records for points scored, scoring average, games in double figures, free throws made and free throw percentage.
The University of Minnesota men's hockey team will host Ohio State as part of Hockey Day Minnesota 2014 on Sat., Jan. 18, the Minnesota Wild, FOX Sports North and Minnesota Hockey announced today. The Gophers and Buckeyes will face off at Mariucci Arena at 5 p.m. CT with FOX Sports North broadcasting the action along with 1500 ESPN.
The Gophers are 4-2-1 all-time in Hockey Day Minnesota action and have not lost in their last three appearances.
Hockey Day Minnesota 2014 falls one day after the 2014 Hockey City Classic at TCF Bank Stadium, providing a full weekend of action for hockey fans across the state of Minnesota.
The Hockey Day Minnesota 2014 schedule is as follows:
High School Games (at Handke Pit, Elk River)
10:15 a.m. Rochester Lourdes vs. Cloquet/Esko/Carlton (boys)
1 p.m. Elk River vs. Stillwater (boys)
4 p.m. Elk River vs. Anoka girls (*tape delay on FS North)
College Game (at Mariucci Arena)
5 p.m. Minnesota Golden Gophers men's hockey vs. Ohio State
As the minor league season comes to an end and MLB is in its last month, now would be a good time to catch up with some former Gophers who have continued their baseball careers.
*Glen Perkins has been the Twins' closer all season, and he made his first trip to the All-Star Game in July. He has converted 32 of his 36 save opportunities with a 2.63 ERA and 68 K in 54 2/3 innings.
*Jack Hannahan has played in 76 games for the Cincinnati Reds this season, primarily at third base. He is batting .224 and has five doubles
*The Rochester Red Wings made the International League playoffs for the first time since 2006. Cole De Vries will start Rochester's series opener against Pawtucket on Wednesday. De Vries pitched seven shutout innings (allowing just two hits) in his last start for Rochester. On the season, he is 4-6 with a 4.96 ERA in 16 starts.
*Nate Hanson hit a combined .241 with 9 HR and 56 RBI in 121 games split between Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Rochester.
*Kyle Knudson hit a combined .287 with 2 HR and 21 RBI in 57 games split between Class A Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain
*Michael Kvasnicka hit .282 with 9 HR and 40 RBI in 69 games with Class A Fort Myers.
*AJ Pettersen hit .201 with 1 HR and 15 RBI in 86 games split between Fort Myers and New Britain.
*The Colorado Rockies promoted TJ Oakes to Modesto of the Advanced Class A California League from Asheville of the Class A South Atlantic League. Oakes was 9-8 with a 4.22 ERA in 25 games with Asheville. He is 0-0 with a 5.40 ERA in 1 game with Modesto, which qualified for the California League playoffs.
*Seth Rosin was 9-6 with a 4.33 ERA in 26 games with the Phillies' Reading farm team in the Double-A Eastern League.
*DJ Snelten was 3-1 with a 1.57 ERA in 14 games with the Giants' farm team in the rookie Arizona League, which made the Arizona League playoffs.
*Tom Windle was 5-1 with a 2.68 ERA in 13 games with the Dodgers' Great Lakes farm team in the Midwest League. He struck out 51 in 53 2/3 innings. Great Lakes made the Midwest League playoffs.