Here were a few of the highlights from today’s press conference announcing the termination of coach Tim Brewster’s contract. A full transcript of Joel Maturi’s press conference is available here, and interim head coach Jeff Horton and quarterback Adam Weber here.
Maturi’s opening statement: “Good afternoon. This morning, I met and informed Coach Brewster that the University of Minnesota was terminating his contract as the head football coach, and that we would immediately begin a national search for his replacement. I also told him how much I appreciated his passion, his commitment, and the hard work that he has put in during his three and a half years.
There are a lot of good things about our football program because of Coach Brewster. Not the least of which are the improvements academically, the improvements of our student athletes in the community, the tremendous passion and energy and visibility that I think that he has brought. We’re thankful for all of those things.
But we’re also aware in this business today of big time college football. It’s about wins and losses. I also apologized for the unfortunate leak of this decision. I don’t think it was fair to coach, don’t think it was fair to his staff, certainly not fair to his athletes, and I sincerely apologize.”
“You know, Minnesota can and should be competitive in the Big Ten. We have a great facility here at TCF Bank Stadium. We are a world class academic institution. One of America’s finest cities. And contrary to published reports, the resources are available. They are in place. There is a commitment to having a winning football program at the University of Minnesota. The fact of the matter is President Bruininks knows, Joel Maturi knows, others know that football is the engine to every athletic program. And our engine is sputtering, and we need to find a way to fix it and we’re committed to doing so.”
“We’re also at a significant time in the history of the Big Ten Conference. There are many exciting changes taking place, expansion, divisional play, a conference championship football game, and I believe it’s critical that the University of Minnesota be in position to take advantage of those opportunities of those changes. I believe that making the decision to go in a different direction now is important for many reasons. Not the least of which is to be out front in our search, so that we can look at candidates on our timetable.”
The possibility of Tony Dungy: “To all, I have already contacted Tony Dungy. Tony Dungy shared with me that he is not interested in getting back into coaching. But the good news is Tony Dungy is willing to do everything that he can to help us find the right leader for this program.”
“Obviously, I hired a football coach that didn’t win enough games, and I’ll take responsibility for that. I think that we have some things in place, and we have some commitments in place that hopefully will make this an attractive position for a coach who can come in here and win more football games.”
“We’re coming into two home football games, and I don’t think it’s fair for the kids to be booed. Quite frankly, it’s why I have my plea out to our fans, don’t boo our kids.”
“Well, we didn’t win enough. It’s that simple. I think an awful lot of things, as I mentioned, are improved, and I’m thankful to Coach Brewster for that. Many people say that he overpromised and underdelivered. The reality, I loved his passion, I loved his optimism, but in reality you have to win football games. We’re a 1-6 football team, and quite frankly, nobody expected us to be a 1-6 football team. You know, we’ve got some tough games ahead of ourselves, and I just felt the decision now was the appropriate thing.”
Interim head coach Jeff Horton: “I think the biggest thing for me is instilling confidence in the players that our big motto, we wear it on wrist bands, is finish. There are still five games out there out of 12. There is a lot of football still to be played with some exciting challenges.My job is to instill confidence in them. Get them to go out and play as hard as they can for as long as they can, and help them try to achieve victory. It’s not like you’re going to change the offense or the defense here with five weeks left in the season. I think we have to play better. We haven’t played, obviously, well enough. That’s a known fact. We’ve got to find a way to give more. We talked to the team about that. But our job, our motto is to finish, and we’re not finishing. We punch in every day. That’s what we talk about. We’re certainly going to continue to punch in and represent this university the right way. Coach Brewster, we’re going to meet later today with the team and with the players. We met with him as a staff earlier this morning but it was tough on him. He’s a good man, and he’s a damn good coach. Sometimes things don’t work, and that’s unfortunate.”
Senior quarterback Adam Weber: “I haven’t had a chance to speak privately with Coach Brewster, but I will. Unfortunately, this is my second time going through something like this. But the relationship you create with your head coach is life long. And he’ll always be my head coach. You know, it’s just too bad that as Joel Maturi said and Coach Horton, we haven’t won enough games. But, ultimately, the relationships you create are life long, and he’ll always be a special person to me.”