Known as the father of Golden Gopher basketball, Dr. Cooke was hired in 1897 to manage the physical education department and direct the new gymnasium. He is the winningest coach in school history.
Cooke was the physical director at the Minneapolis YMCA before coming to Minnesota. In his 28-year tenure, the longest for any U of M basketball coach, Cooke led the Golden Gophers to three Big Ten titles (1911, 1917, 1919) and two national crowns (1902, 1919). He coached nine All-Americans, including Minnesota’s first, center George Tuck (1902). Cooke stayed on at the U as a professor and assistant athletic director until his retirement in 1936. In 1938, the university honored him, naming the new athletics administration building Cooke Hall.
Known as the “Canny Scot,” McMillan came to the University of Minnesota in 1927. He played basketball at Oberlin College for two years before turning pro with the New York Celtics.
After his playing career ended, McMillan spent seven years as head coach at the University of Idaho before coming to Minnesota. Known for their tight ball control, strong defense and passing, McMillan’s Gopher teams earned a share of the Big Ten title in 1937 and second-place finishes three other years. McMillan ended his first stint at the helm in the spring of 1942.
McMillan was reappointed Minnesota’s head coach in the summer of 1945. He benefited from several promising newcomers and returning war veterans and led the Golden Gophers to two 14-7 seasons. The 1947-48 season was less successful (10-10), and McMillan asked athletics director Frank McCormick to assign him different duties. One of the most popular coaches in school history, more than 300 people attended McMillan’s retirement party in 1948.
A professor of physical education at Minnesota since 1935, Dr. Nordly was named head coach in August of 1942. An all-conference athlete at Carleton College, he earned his master’s and Ph.D. from Columbia.
Nordly’s coaching style was much different than McMillan’s as he allowed his players to shoot more. He guided the Gophers for two seasons before resigning in January of 1945 to serve as a civilian consultant on athletics for the U.S. Army in Paris.
A Browns Valley, Minn., native, Cowles was named head coach in the spring of 1948. A star athlete at Carleton College, Cowles began his coaching career at Dartmouth where he led the Big Green to seven league titles. He then coached Michigan to the 1948 Big Ten title before returning to his home state.
While at Minnesota, Cowles guided the Gophers to two second-place Big Ten finishes and coached two-time All-Americans Jim McIntyre and Whitey Skoog.
A former Golden Gopher basketball star, Kundla returned to his alma mater as head coach in 1959 after 11 years as the head coach of the NBA’s Minneapolis Lakers. In 1995, Kundla was named to the NBA Hall of Fame.
While at Minnesota, Kundla became the first coach to open up recruiting to a national scope. He guided the Golden Gophers to six upper-division finishes and coached three All-Americans, including Lou Hudson, in nine seasons before he retired in 1968.
In only his first season, Musselman led the Golden Gophers to their first Big Ten title in 35 years. He also led that 1971-72 team to the school’s first appearance in the NCAA tournament.
A virtual unknown who had coached for six seasons at Ashland College in Ohio, Musselman became known for his intense, energetic style of play and the flashy pregame show his teams put on. The coach with the best all-time winning percentage (.683) in school history, Musselman left Minnesota in July of 1975 to coach the San Diego Sails of the ABA.
Dutcher came to Minnesota in 1975, leaving Michigan where he had been an assistant for three seasons.
A two-sport athlete at Michigan before a knee injury ended his career, Dutcher got into coaching his senior year. He then spent six seasons as the head coach at Eastern Michigan before returning to Michigan as an assistant coach.
While at Minnesota, Dutcher guided the Gophers to the 1981-82 Big Ten title. Third on the school’s all-time career wins, he resigned midway through the 1986 season.
A longtime Minnesota assistant, Williams was named interim coach for the final 11 games of the 1986 season after Dutcher resigned.
An all-league performer at Ashland College, he followed Musselman to Minnesota in 1971. Known as a tremendous recruiter, Williams left Minnesota after the 1986 season and spent several years as an assistant coach under former pupil Flip Saunders with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Minnesota’s third-longest tenured coach in school history, Clem Haskins was the head coach at Minnesota for 13 years.
A standout player at Western Kentucky and later in the NBA, Haskins began his coaching career at his alma mater in 1980. In 1986, he left the Hilltoppers to become the Golden Gophers’ head coach.
Gophers, Friars To Battle In Gavitt Tipoff Games
Minnesota will take part in the Gavitt Tipoff Games for the second straight year, as the matchups between the Big Ten and BIG EAST Conferences were announced.
Fitzgerald Granted a Sixth-Year of Eligibility
University of Minnesota forward Davonte Fitzgerald was granted a sixth-year of eligibility today from the NCAA.
Season Ticket Holder Stories: Harold Goldfine
Get to know longtime Golden Gopher men's basketball season ticket holder Harold Goldfine.