Maturi needs more input

He shouldn’t go it alone in choosing the next football coach.

Editorial board

By design, the selection of a head football coach is not a democratic one. If it were, every armchair quarterback would control a Division I football team.

That being said, alumni and former players are rightfully concerned over the unfettered power of University of Minnesota athletics director Joel Maturi in deciding who the new coach is.

In sports, strategies are formed based on the past performances of players. MaturiâÄôs record is mixed, at best. Since he took over the athletics department in 2002, Minnesota has won only two high-profile national championships (the menâÄôs hockey team, in 2002 and 2003). He extended unpopular head football coach Glen MasonâÄôs contract and fired him a year later. Of course, Maturi also hired Tim Brewster, an unmitigated disaster that greatly set back the program and gave fans four years of completely disrespectable football.

But we cannot overlook what Maturi has done right. He hired basketball coach Tubby Smith. The athletics department maintains a balanced budget, with some help from the central administration. Under his leadership, Minnesota has consistently ranked in the top 20 in the DirectorâÄôs Cup, a composite look at the success of sports at Division I schools.

Maturi can manage this department and should be vested with the power to make this football coaching decision. But he canâÄôt be shocked by the hesitancy shown by boosters and former players in accepting that authority, and he shouldnâÄôt lock them out of the process, either. Be it arrogance, unwillingness or simple legacy-chasing, Maturi wants full control over the process. He needs to realize his past failings, call an audible and organize a committee to assist him in this search.