University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler has named Norwood Teague as the next director of athletics at the University of Minnesota, pending approval by the university's Board of Regents. Teague joins Gopher Athletics after overseeing an unprecedented run of success during his six years as the director of athletics at Virginia Commonwealth University. He replaces the retiring Joel Maturi, who has held the position for the past 10 years.
"We are thrilled to welcome Norwood to the University of Minnesota and Gopher Athletics," Kaler said. "Norwood is the real deal - a visionary leader who is fully committed to winning, our student athletes and their education; someone who has achieved great athletic success in a challenging environment; a relationship-builder and experienced fundraiser; and a great manager.
"For many Minnesotans and our half million alumni, Gopher Athletics and our facilities serve as a front door to the U," Kaler continued. "Norwood clearly understands that, and is prepared to take Gopher Athletics to greater success."
Kaler welcomed Teague during a press conference at TCF Bank Stadium this afternoon. "I'm honored to be a Gopher and can't wait to be part of the Big Ten Conference," Teague said. "Joel Maturi and the partnerships he has forged with student athletes, coaches, faculty, staff, donors and the broader community have built a strong Gopher Athletics program. I'm ready to lead the Gophers to the next level and I hope existing and new stakeholders will join me in that endeavor. Together, I know we will accomplish great things."
If approved, Teague will begin work at the university on July 1. He was on campus Monday to interview with President Kaler and the search advisory committee, as well as meet coaches, faculty and other senior university leaders.
Teague, 46, has more than 20 years of experience working in intercollegiate athletics. During his tenure at VCU, he has overseen continued success in the classroom and on the playing field, as well as stunning growth in gifts to VCU's annual and capital funds. VCU has also achieved unprecedented athletic success under Teague's guidance. The Rams' men's basketball team reached its first ever Final Four in 2011; women's basketball earned the first NCAA Tournament bid in program history; the baseball, golf and tennis programs all made multiple postseason appearances; and the track program had several student athletes qualify for NCAA regional appearances. Teague holds a master's degree in sports administration from Ohio University and a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of North Carolina.
"Minnesota should celebrate the hire of Teague," said Jim Phillips, athletics director at Northwestern University and a former colleague of Teague's. "He's got exceptional experience in supporting student athletes and managing coaches. All that he's done means he is prepared to win at high levels. He's done so at Arizona State University, North Carolina and VCU."
Phillips, who also earlier in his career hired Gophers Football Coach Jerry Kill, said he expects Teague and Kill to make a great team. "They are cut from the same cloth," Phillips said. "They have similar values and are grounded in the belief of developing young people into leaders through athletics. Teague is a terrific relationship builder with coaches, staff, donors, the NCAA and the community. He's also a visionary who works hard, plans well and will build a strong relationship with Coach Kill and others to reap benefits for the football program."
Kill said he is looking forward to making that happen.
"Jim Phillips has assured me about Norwood and that's good enough for me. I look forward to working with him and know it will be a great working relationship," Kill said.
After meeting with Teague and other Gophers coaches Monday morning, Kill said, "I know Norwood gets it. That's the best compliment you can give anyone at this level. He understands college athletics and what it's going to take to be successful."
Shaka Smart, VCU's head men's basketball coach, knows Teague's management style first hand. Smart took the 11th-seeded Rams to the Final Four in 2011 for the first time in school history.
"Norwood Teague had a profound effect on my life and career. He took an interest in me as a young assistant coach, gave me a phenomenal opportunity at VCU and wholeheartedly supported us every step of the way over the past three years," Smart said. "He demonstrated an uncommon loyalty and genuine care for me as a coach and as a person. Norwood is a terrific communicator who has a fantastic way with people. He will find great success at Minnesota."
Teague's visit on the Twin Cities campus on Monday was the final step in a two-month national search co-chaired by R. Timothy Mulcahy, vice president for research at the university, and Mary Jo Kane, director of the university's Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport. A 23-member search advisory committee and a four-person search committee worked with the leading national executive search firm in collegiate athletics - Parker Executive Search - to engage a variety of stakeholders and diverse viewpoints in the process. The process included faculty, staff, student athletes, community members and others whose input was sought at public listening sessions and interviews.
"I want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who participated in this search, especially the members of our search advisory committee and the four-person search committee, which included search co-chairs Vice President Mulcahy and Professor Kane, alumnus John Lindahl, a close friend of athletics, and Chief of Staff Amy Phenix," Kaler said. "The timeline was aggressive and my charge to find a strong candidate with a host of impeccable attributes was no small task. But everyone rose to the challenge and forwarded a finalist in whom I have great confidence."