Maturi stands by his coach

Athletics Director Joel Maturi said he is very pleased with Laura Halldorson.

by Aaron Blake

Minnesota Athletics Director Joel Maturi stood by women’s hockey coach Laura Halldorson on Thursday amid reports her future with the program is uncertain.

Former player Jerilyn Glenn, who graduated last season, confirmed tensions have existed between coaches and other coaches as well as players and coaches. She said Halldorson and former assistant coach Joel Johnson often disagreed, and it made things difficult for the players.

But Maturi said that Halldorson is likely to receive a contract extension after the one-year deal she has this year expires.

Halldorson and the Gophers begin play in the NCAA Frozen Four today against Dartmouth, and they are the favorites to win their second-consecutive national championship.

“I’m very pleased with Laura,” Maturi said. “I’m very pleased with how she’s responded to issues that we’ve expressed. I’m delighted that they’re having an outstanding year, and I would hope that they win another national championship.”

Maturi said no players have come to him this year with concerns about Halldorson’s coaching, but he added that it is not an uncommon happening on any team.

Glenn said there has been dissension on the team in the past, with some players feeling strongly that Halldorson should not be the coach, others feeling strongly she should be the coach and some not feeling strongly either way.

“Obviously, people had their differences with her,” Glenn said. “But as far as being upset, I don’t know if that was really it – maybe just looking for new opportunities with a different coach.”

She said the disagreements between Johnson and Halldorson made things harder, and numerous meetings were held to discuss these issues with Maturi there.

Johnson has since moved on to become the men’s and women’s soccer coach and an assistant men’s hockey coach at Bethel University.

Neither Halldorson nor Johnson could be reached for comment.

Glenn said she thinks most of the players who felt strongly against Halldorson being coach are no longer on the team or are in their last years.

Maturi said that after this weekend is over, the process of extending Halldorson’s contract will be addressed.

“Obviously, she will be evaluated,” Maturi said, “and she’ll be evaluated on the same criteria this year as she was last year, and those are the same as the other 24 coaches.”