Coach Claeys answers fan questions from Facebook Live show
Head coach Tracy Claeys answers fan questions
Gopher Football Weekly With Tracy Claeys starts Aug. 30 at the Minnesota State Fair
Weekly show with Coach Cleys will be streamed live on Facebook
Minnesota represented by Tracy Claeys, Mitch Leidner, Jack Lynn and Damarius Travis
Tracy Claeys was named Minnesota's Head Coach on Nov. 11, 2015. He succeeded his good friend Jerry Kill, who resigned his position on Oct. 28, 2015, due to health reasons. Claeys, who initially joined the Minnesota staff on Dec. 10, 2010, as Kill’s defensive coordinator, has a career 11-8 record.
In 2016, his first full season as head coach, Claeys guided the Gophers to a 9-4 record and a 5-4 mark in Big ten play. Minnesota’s nine wins were the most it had earned since it won 10 games in 2003 and were the second most since 1905 when the Gophers also won 10 games. Minnesota has now won nine games in a season (2016 and 2003) only two times since 1906.
Claeys and the Gophers beat Washington State in the Holiday Bowl to claim their ninth win of 2016. The postseason win follows a victory in the Quick Lane Bowl last season and Claeys is now the first Minnesota coach to win his first two bowl games.
Minnesota won five Big Ten games this year and also had a winning conference record in 2014, but prior to that its last winning record in conference play came in 2003. The last time Minnesota had a winning Big Ten record in two out of three years was 1968 (5-2) and 1969 (4-3).
Minnesota won four consecutive Big Ten games in 2016 and also accomplished that feat in 2013 when Claeys served as Acting Head Coach as Kill was dealing with some health issues. Prior to 2013, the last time Minnesota won four straight Big Ten games was 1973.
Claeys guided Minnesota to nine wins this season and the Gophers have now won eight or more games three times in the last four seasons, all with Claeys on staff. The last time Minnesota won eight games three times in a four-year span was 1903-05. The Gophers have now won at least eight games in a season 20 times in school history, nine times since 1942 and six times since 1968.
The Gophers played in their fifth straight bowl game and 19th overall when they upset Washington State in the Holiday Bowl. The streak of five consecutive bowls is tied for the longest streak in program history. Claeys and the Gophers snapped a seven-game bowl losing streak last year with a win in the Quick Lane Bowl.
This year, Minnesota’s offense averaged 29.3 points, which was the Maroon and Gold’s most productive offense since they averaged 35.8 points in 2005. The 29.3 average was Minnesota’s sixth highest since 1955. Minnesota’s 45 touchdowns were tied for the sixth most scored since 1955 and its 381 points were the third most in the same timeframe.
On defense, Minnesota allowed an average of 22.1 points in 2016, which was the lowest since it allowed 21.9 in 2003. In 2011, when Claeys was in his first year as defensive coordinator, Minnesota allowed 31.7 points, but since then the most it has allowed in a season is 24.2 points. The Gophers have held 36 of their last 48 opponents below their scoring average. In 23 of those games, Minnesota held its opposition to eight or more points below their season average and in nine games the Gophers held their opponents to 14 or more points below their season average.
Claeys has coached four First Team All-Big Ten defensive selections - Briean Boddy-Calhoun (2014), Damien Wilson (2014), Ra'Shede Hageman (2013) and Brock Vereen (2013) - at Minnesota in five years. In contrast, Minnesota had five First Team All-Big Ten defensive selections from 2000-10.
Claeys-coached players are also catching the attention of NFL teams at an increasing rate. Minnesota has had six defensive players taken in the NFL Draft in the last three years in Eric Murray (2016, Kansas City Chiefs), De'Vondre Campbell (2016, Atlanta Falcons), Damien Wilson (2015, Dallas Cowboys), Cedric Thompson (2015, Miami Dolphins), Ra'Shede Hageman (2014, Atlanta Falcons) and Brock Vereen (2014, Chicago Bears). Minnesota had six total defensive players drafted from 2000-13.
Claeys started his coaching career at Santa Fe Trail High School in 1994. He joined Kill in 1995 at Saginaw Valley State, where he coached the defensive line. Claeys became Kill's defensive coordinator at Emporia State in 1999. He remained in that capacity when Kill took over at Southern Illinois in 2001 and Northern Illinois in 2008.
In 2008, his first season at Northern Illinois, Claeys and the defensive staff engineered one of the biggest turnarounds in the country, as the Huskies led the MAC in pass defense, scoring defense and total defense. The Huskies finished in the top 20 nationally in three categories – fifth in pass defense, 14th in scoring defense and 17th in total defense.
Claeys' defense topped the MAC and ranked 30th in the country in total defense the following year. The Huskies were also among the top 30 FBS teams in the country in scoring defense that season.
In 2010, Claeys led a Northern Illinois defensive unit that was ranked No. 14 in the nation and No. 1 in the Mid-American Conference in scoring defense, allowing an average of just 19 points per game. The Huskies were also No. 32 in the nation in pass efficiency defense, No. 27 in total defense and No. 27 in rushing defense in Claeys' final season.
In his last five years at Southern Illinois, Claeys’ defenses allowed an average of 18.5 points while holding opponents to 14 points or less 21 times, which included five shutouts. In 2007, Southern Illinois reached the FCS national semifinal and its defense ranked as the 10th-best FCS scoring defense in the country and the second-best scoring defense at SIU since 1983. They also intercepted 21 passes to rank fourth in the nation.
In 2004, Southern Illinois led the country in scoring defense, allowing just 13.2 points per game. The Salukis gave up only 101.7 yards per game on the ground while snagging 17 interceptions.
Claeys' pre-Minnesota resume also includes coaching several standout defensive players, most notably Northern Illinois’ Larry English, the first-round draft choice of the NFL's San Diego Chargers in 2009. Claeys also coached Seattle Seahawks' 1999 first-round draft choice Lamar King at Saginaw Valley State and tutored linebacker Bart Scott at Southern Illinois and defensive end Paul Spicer at Saginaw Valley St.
Claeys, who attended both Kansas and Kansas State, graduated with a degree in Mathematics Education in 1994 from Kansas State. He is one of a handful of current Division I FBS head coaches who did not play collegiate football.
|Year By Year|
|1995||Saginaw Valley St.||7-3-0||-||Defensive Line|
|1996||Saginaw Valley St.||7-3-0||-||Defensive Line|
|1997||Saginaw Valley St.||9-2-0||Nationally Ranked||Defensive Line|
|1998||Saginaw Valley St.||9-2-0||Nationally Ranked||Defensive Line|
|1999||Emporia State||5-6-0||-||Defensive Coordinator|
|2000||Emporia State||6-5-0||-||Defensive Coordinator|
|2001||Southern Illinois||1-10-0||-||Defensive Coordinator|
|2002||Southern Illinois||4-8-0||-||Defensive Coordinator|
|2003||Southern Illinois||10-2-0||FCS Playoffs - 1st Round||Defensive Coordinator|
|2004||Southern Illinois||10-2-0||FCS Playoffs - 1st Round||Defensive Coordinator|
|2005||Southern Illinois||9-4-0||FCS Playoffs - 2nd Round||Defensive Coordinator|
|2006||Southern Illinois||9-4-0||FCS Playoffs - 2nd Round||Defensive Coordinator|
|2007||Southern Illinois||12-2-0||FCS Playoffs - Semifinals||Defensive Coordinator|
|2008||Northern Illinois||6-7-0||Independence Bowl||Defensive Coordinator|
|2009||Northern Illinois||7-6-0||International Bowl||Defensive Coordinator|
|2010||Northern Illinois||10-3-0||Humanitarian Bowl||Defensive Coordinator|
|2012||Minnesota||6-7||Meineke Car Care Bowl||Defensive Coordinator|
|2013||Minnesota||8-5||Texas Bowl||Defensive Coordinator|
|2014||Minnesota||8-5||Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl||Defensive Coordinator|
|2015||Minnesota||2-4||Quick Lane Bowl||Head Coach|
|2016||Minnesota||9-4||Holiday Bowl||Head Coach|
THE CLAEYS FILE
Nov. 11, 2015-present: Minnesota - Head Coach
Oct. 28, 2015-Nov. 11, 2015: Minnesota - Interim Head Coach
2014-15: Minnesota - Associate Head Coach
2011-15: Minnesota - Defensive Coordinator
2008-10: Northern Illinois - Defensive Coordinator
2001-07: Southern Illinois - Defensive Coordinator
1999-2000: Emporia State - Defensive Coordinator
1995-98: Saginaw Valley State - Defensive Line
1994: Santa Fe Trail HS - Co-Defensive Coordinator
College B.A., Kansas State, 1994
High School Clay Center (Kan.) Community, 1987
Birthplace Clay Center, Kan.
Birthdate December 25, 1968
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