June 18, 2012
Monday marked Norwood Teague's first day as the new director of athletics at the University of Minnesota. He sat down with Gophers football and basketball play-by-play announcer Mike Grimm just minutes after settling into his new office to discuss priorities for his first 100 days, the state of Tubby Smith's contract extension and all that he's learned about the U of M even before starting his new job.
Mike Grimm: What have the last two months been like for you once the announcement was made, and finishing up your duties at Virginia Commonwealth and also looking ahead to the Twin Cities?
Norwood Teague: When I was at Virginia Commonwealth my mind immediately turns here… You realize it’s time to go and luckily some things have been tied up (at VCU) on a number of different fronts. The conference affiliation thing was something that I needed to move forward and then I was able to bow out. Then after that, I had a little time off, but it was spent on the phone with many of the people here and I was really eager to get the ball rolling here. There’s a lot to do; summer is very short and football will be here in almost six weeks so I’m thrilled to be here.
What did you learn about the University of Minnesota in those two months?
Teague: It’s probably a little bit of what my father learned, my father knows the whole history of the University of Minnesota and my step mother is from the state and her father played here and her uncle played football here. But along there you learn that, and I knew this, that (the University) has a very deep history that goes back many years, as you know, and there just a lot of passion with tentacles that reach everywhere. Whether I’m wearing a Minnesota hat in New York a few weeks ago to where I’m wearing a Minnesota shirt in LA, so the tentacles go everywhere. I’ve had alums come and say hi to me wherever I’ve been, not because I’m the new Athletic Director but just because I have a Minnesota shirt on. So it’s really been neat for me to see the really deep, rich passion and history here the last couple of months.
It’s day one, what do you foresee here on day 100?
Teague: I hope for me personally, we have a crystal clear understanding of where we are. I have a good idea now but I know you can make a lot of mistakes if you make decisions too early in your first 100 days you really have to evaluate and that’s what I have to do. Hopefully after that 100 days, I’ll have developed a lot of relationships I’ll spend a lot of time with people, that’s very important and that means (working with) the internal to external departments. So I hope I’ll evaluate very well and spend a lot of time with people and develop relationships, because in what we do, relationships are so important…
Can you give a status update on the head basketball coach’s possible extension?
Teague: I think we’re down to the very end on that, our legal counsel has been working with his agent and his representation… so we’re down to the very end and have an announcement very soon.
When you step away from your busy, busy schedule, what do you like to do in your free time?
Teague: I love to play golf, I read a lot, I like to travel some but travel for what we do is a part of what I do so I love that part… I like to exercise when I can, and I like to keep in touch with people and that takes time but it’s fun.
You mentioned a couple of things in your introductory conference that relate to each other and one is fundraising and how that goes with facilities. What’s your plan -- having been on campus a few times -- what do you foresee?
Teague: The two things are essentially one. I’ve told Dr. Kaler that I’d like to get a master facility plan up and running. It doesn’t happen overnight and we’ve got to get a lot of evaluating done, but I’d like to get that going in the first 100 days and hopefully have that soon.
What are you taking into consideration for filling coaching vacancies going forward?
Teague: Hiring coaches is very important… If you have great coaches, that solves a lot of problems. I love hiring coaches, it’s such a challenge and it’s something that could really make a difference.
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