Minnesota hires new coach

Geoff Young played tennis at Northwestern from 1991-1994

by C.J. Spang

It won’t be easy replacing the Minnesota men’s tennis team’s all-time winningest coach, but someone has to do it.

That someone is Geoff Young, former men’s tennis coach at the University of Denver, who was hired as the Gophers’ new head coach Tuesday.

In six years with the Pioneers, Young compiled a 71-68 record and led the team to a school-best fourth place finish in the Sun Belt conference last season.

Young will replace David Geatz, who coached the team for 18 years, winning five Big Ten Championships – including one in his first season – and finishing second or third another 10 times.

“We’ll certainly try to win a championship,” Young said. “I definitely think it’s within reach after looking at the results of this past year’s team, but we’ll have to wait and see how things come together.”

But Geatz’s winning ways aren’t the only thing that could make Young’s transition a difficult one; add in the tumultuous circumstances under which Geatz resigned to the equation.

Two seasons ago, Geatz was suspended for one month after an NCAA investigation found that Geatz and assistant coach Adam Cohen committed six minor violations.

Two players – Geatz’s son D.J. and Andres Osorio – received improper benefits the previous summer at an internship at North Oaks Country Club in North Oaks.

Geatz announced his resignation in April without giving specific reasons but did say the previous season’s events had a hand in his decision.

Even with the distractions, said captain Mikey Kantar, the team had a favorable relationship with Geatz, and adjusting to a new coach won’t be easy.

“I think definitely coach Geatz was very well liked by the whole team,” he said. “So definitely there’s going to be a feeling of I think, ‘Why do we have to change?’ “

Minnesota Athletics Director Joel Maturi compared Young’s situation to his own when he was hired as athletics director four years ago.

“In essence, I replaced two people, and in many ways, though they retired, it was a situation not dissimilarÖ to what Geoff is extending into,” he said. “I think over time you build your own foundation, and you build your own support.”

Young may have an easy time building support if Kantar’s comments are any indication of the team’s thoughts – a team that has seven seniors, including Geatz’s son D.J.

“I would hope we’re mature enough at this point and grown enough at this point that we can help the new coach transition into his position,” Kantar said of himself and his senior teammates, “and not try and make his life difficult for being someone who’s new and who we haven’t had contact with before.”